You’re updating your resume and . . . what about your accomplishments?
My favorite, yet, obnoxious question is, “So What?” When you have identified accomplishments, I encourage you to probe deeper; “So What”. . . was the P&L impact of your (your team’s) actions?
Your results-driven resume is the most powerful and important credential you will ever have. It is vital that you capture the essence of what you have done, using language that highlights your personality and values, and reflects what you will most likely achieve in the future.
Unfortunately, it’s not very common to think through the nuances of how you have contributed to your colleagues and organization. Everyone takes for granted the results they’ve achieved throughout their career, which is one of the reasons why drafting a killer resume is so difficult.
Once you are finished with a draft of your resume, it is time to dig deeper and mine the depth and breadth of your capabilities and achievements. The following exercise with our Group President’s resume illustrates my point.
“SO WHAT?” . . . IN REAL LIFE
The following is an example of a first attempt at capturing “So What’s?” from an actual R|L client. Follow along with our 5 questions (in all CAPS) as a means of sharpening your skill in asking “So What?” questions for your own accomplishment statements.
GROUP PRESIDENT RESUME
BEFORE “SO WHAT?” QUESTIONS
Hired assertive new management to oversee manufacturing and materials functions resulting in 15% increased productivity and improved shipping performance.
- HOW DID THE ASSERTIVENESS MANIFEST ITSELF AND WHAT WAS ITS UNINTENDED IMPACT? Employee turnover? Harassment charges? Disciplinary actions? Scrap or rework?
- WHAT WAS $ IMPACT OF IMPROVED: Shipping Performance? Inventory? Production?
- WHAT WAS THE $ AMOUNT OF NEW BUSINESS?
- $ AMOUNT OF LOST BUSINESS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE RECAPTURED?
- THE $ AMOUNT OF THREATENED BUSINESS THAT YOU PROTECTED?
AFTER “SO WHAT?” QUESTIONS
Generated $4 million in operating improvements and competitive procurement gains by significantly upgrading manufacturing and supply chain leadership. Realized 15% plant-wide productivity enhancements through Lean processes.
How much more powerful would this President’s resume be if she asked these kinds of questions for every statement? Probably a lot – and it would also significantly differentiate herself from other candidates.
“SO WHAT?” GROUND RULES:
No puffery, no exaggeration, don’t over-claim results, validate all $ / % with your boss or others who know the situation well. Remember – retained search firms will verify everything in your resume, especially quantified results.
Anticipate, Prepare, and Practice. What “So What” modifications do you need to make on your resume to have the impact you want?
To demonstrate your capability of generating a positive P&L impact, I encourage you to go line-by-line in your resume and ask a series of “So What’s?”
- “What’s been the positive impact throughout the organization, based on this activity?”
- “How have I enabled others to realize significant gains through this initiative?”
- “What have I done that has benefited our customers, securing even greater brand loyalty?”
GIVE AWAY: Because I am so passionate about being a resource to help you achieve even greater personal and professional success, I will give away my book, In Search of the Perfect Job, to the first 15 people that post a solid Before / After “So What?” results statement on this blog. If you want to be considered, post your statement and then email us at [email protected] to keep your contact info confidential. I hope that my book will be as transformational for you as it has been for thousands of our clients before you. It’s my gift to you – enjoy it and put it to good use.