If you're like most people, you have a resume that includes something like this:
Your details may be grander, or your career may be at an earlier stage, but lots and lots of people have this style of information presentation on their resume.
Can you spot the error?
These resume bullet points simply describe what you did. They don't tell your future boss how good you are at doing the job.
It's obvious... If you've got a job, where you work in an office, in 2014, three things happened:
Seriously, you haven't told the employer or your future boss anything they didn't already know with those three bullet points.
So here are two simple tips.
First, read your resume out loud, putting the phrase "You should give me a bonus this year because..." in front of each line.
If it doesn't make sense that somebody would give you a bonus, or increase your bonus, because of that line... delete it.
And write a different sentence that makes sense.
For example, going into your boss' office and telling her "You should give me a bonus this year because you hired me to be Director, Tri-State Area" wouldn't get you very far. You don't really deserve a year-end bonus just for getting hired. (Does not apply if you're a Japanese star being signed to play for the Yankees).
Rather, the things you do that deserve a bonus describe your accomplishments, not your position.
You increased sales. You decreased expenses. You improved the time it takes to do the tasks. You increased the efficacy of the process or product.
You made your company better somehow. You didn't just show up... you did something well.
Which brings us to the second tip.
Count the number of $ signs and % signs on your resume. Now double them.
That is, rewrite your resume and include twice as many $ and % as were on your original resume. (And the minimum you should have, if you've been in the workforce for over a decade, is twenty.)
Dollar signs and percentage signs are indicators of achievements that you can quantify. Quantifiable achievements are more persuasive than qualitative achievements for most resumes.
So rather than just increasing sales, decreasing expenses, or improving task times, you…
When you read these bullet points with "You should give me a bonus this year because...", they all make sense. And that's because they provide a quantifiable achievement that made the company better because you were there.
And demonstrating to your future boss the types of achievements that he can expect from you, in numbers that he can understand, is the best way for him to come to the conclusion that you're the right person for the job.
And that's how you make your resume so much more effective in about two minutes on a cold Monday morning in January. And that is quite an achievement!
Have a 55% more fantastic week in the job search this week, Readers!
Marc Cenedella is the Chairman of TheLadders, the premier online job-matching service for career-driven professionals, which has transformed the way job candidates and employers connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter here @cenedella.