You can see this clearly in the resume achievement makeovers below. I’ve pulled resume bullets and paragraphs from random resumes and revamped each one in turn.
In this first example the bullet is too long and too vague to impress recruiters and hiring executives. It lacks specific quantified results.
Example 1 Before
This wordy bullet takes up 4 lines of space and contains vague achievements and a weak starter verb:
- Provided business ownership/project management for all tools/technologies used by, and all process improvements for, Support and Sales (including customer service, technical support, installation support, sales, saves and outbound). Led substantial improvements to the tools and process environments, driving reduced handle times, increased sales close rate and upsales, and improved first call resolution.
Example 1 After
Cut bullet line length from 4 to 2 and reduced total words from 53 to 29. Improved action focus, eliminated unnecessary detail, and shifted focus from support/sales functions to quantifiable business impacts.
- Delivered process improvement solutions impacting end-to-end customer support/sales touchpoints via project management. Cut handle times 47%, trimmed first-call resolution 23%, and boosted sales close 39% and upsales $22M.
Sometimes the right data is already present in the achievement yet isn’t fully leveraged, as is the case with this bullet.
Example 2 Before
Long bullet that doesn’t deliver strong impact and underemphasizes key achievements.
- Strengthened company’s BD effort; developed robust pipeline of ~ £ 150 million for 12-24 months horizon and positioned company for £50 million order acquisition in 2013. Delivered 40% of plan in Q1 & Q2 of 2013. Also positioned acquisition targets to the company board.
Example 2 After
Reduced bullet line length from 3 to 2 and reduced total words from 45 to 34. Eliminated distractions and extraneous details to avoid overwhelming the reader.
- Propelled new business pipeline from £110M to £150M over 2 years and positioned £50M in 2013 order acquisition. Delivered acquisition targets to corporate board while outpacing plan by 40% for 2 straight quarters.
At other times the problem is that multiple stories are being communicated at once. This tends to overwhelm the reader and confuse the issue. In this example I teased apart multiple achievements and broke them into separate bullets while lowering overall length more than 50%.
Example 3 Before
This paragraph is 9 lines long – 7 lines longer than a single bullet should be. It contains some great achievements, but the use of “I” language and the storytelling approach convolutes the issue rather than making it crystal clear and easy to read in mere seconds.
- By managing key suppliers worldwide and improving communication and planning methods, I contributed to corporate profits over US$350,000 by price and capital optimization. Heading intercompany relationships I managed 7 international in-licensing agreements for pharmaceutical products with companies in different territories like Canada, Argentina, Italy, Germany, India, among others, enabling business opportunities above US$2,5 million. As Manager of New Businesses, I improved consistently our productivity multiplying by 3 our efficacy/efficiency indicators starting on 2005, delivering more new products on time and favorable impacts on sales. By optimizing resources and a US$1 million budget, more than 70 new products were launched each year generating annual sales over US$5 million. With good teamwork and managing personal relationships, I headed a complex system with over 120 people to launch over 200 new products in 3 years.
Example 3 After
Cut bullet line length from 9 to 4 via 2 separate 2-line statements and reduced total words from 133 to 68. Shifted to an achievement approach that emphasizes senior-level strategy design.
- Contributed >$350K in profit via management of key global suppliers. Enhanced communication and strategic planning and oversaw +$2.5M in-licensing agreements for pharma products in Canada, Argentina, Italy, Germany, and India.
- Spearheaded the launch of 200+ products in 3 years, maximizing productivity and efficiency among 120 staff to deliver more new products on time. Generated more than $5M in sales by launching 70+ new products each year.
Try revamping your resume’s achievement statements today. Or, if your resume needs professional help, schedule a complimentary career consult today.