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Why Your Resume Needs to Focus on Results, Not Tasks


7/12/2012 4:20:30 PM

Why Your Resume Needs to Focus on Results, not Tasks By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

Much like a complex recipe, a resume contains many different ingredients. Within most, you’ll find several cups of previous responsibilities, a tablespoon of personal attributes, and a dash of future desires. Mix well, bake in a 350-degree oven until done, and garnish with contact information. The results are a document that satisfies the rudimentary requirements but is wholly lacking in flavor. Hiring managers are hungry – but not for a stale rehash of past duties. Satisfy their cravings and land your next job with a resume seasoned liberally with success.

Utilize the AARQ method. In resume writing circles, AARQ stands for Action, Accomplishment/Result, and Quantify. Learning to use this time-tested method is invaluable for creating a resume that will capture and hold any hiring manager’s attention. Fortunately, the steps are quite simple.

1. Create a list of your previous tasks. If you already have a typical resume, the list is there in front of you.
2. Brainstorm for a bit. In particular, think about numbers related to each task. You can use approximate figures if necessary. These “taste” just as good. Note them next to each task.
3. Use the details you’ve noted to write out your AARQ statements.

For example, let’s say that you worked in the mailroom at your last job. One of the things you were responsible for each day was sorting the mail. As such, your “action” was sorting mail. Your “accomplishment/result” was doing it efficiently. Now let’s think about numbers you need to “quantify” this result. How many pieces of mail did the building receive each day? How many offices did you distribute that mail to? How long did it take you to sort and deliver the mail?

Once you have numbers, even approximate ones, it’s time to write the AARQ. In this case, “Efficiently sorted and delivered approximately 500 pieces of mail to 30 offices/individuals in less than three hours per day.”

Results lend credence to your claims. This is one reason the AARQ method is so effective. If they’ve been in business for any amount of time, hiring managers and human resource professionals have learned that past success is a reliable indicator of future success. Your resume may claim that you’re the best darn filer in the entire city of Des Moines, but only results can prove it.

Results contain attractive numbers. Businesses run on numbers: sales, revenue, efficiency, costs, and the list goes on. Hiring managers are attracted to numbers – and AARQ statements include pertinent facts, figures, dollars and percentages to pique their interest.

Results are interesting. Your resume is not the only one on the hiring manger’s desk. It’s there with dozens of its closest friends – and her eyes are slowly glazing over as she claws her way out of the quicksand of tasks listed on each one. If you’re applying for a job within the same industry, chances are good that the person doing the hiring is already familiar with the basic tasks involved in your former position. And if you’re changing careers, success is success regardless of industry – so, again, AARQ statements let you highlight it with results.

Writing a resume using the AARQ method takes time – but it is always time well spent. List your tasks, brainstorm around the numbers and craft them into action-oriented statements. When you’re done, you’ll have a rich, delicious resume worthy of your next job.

Read more biotech career tips. Find more biotech and pharma jobs by visiting the career center.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - July 12, 2012.

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