Remove Duties From Your Résumé: Replace With Accomplishments

Writing your résumé can be a challenging task. The internet is bouncing with lots of conflicting advice about how to write the perfect résumé. I will be honest – this is not an easy task. There are so many different rules and best practices to follow that sometimes the investment in a qualified résumé writer is the best strategy for your job search.

However, if you can’t find a writer that fits you and your needs, or you are taking on the task of writing your own résumé, there is one piece of advice that must be followed: remove duties from your experience section and replace them with accomplishment statements.

Generally speaking, your position title should be able to provide the hiring manager with enough information to understand what your basic duties would have been in that respective role. There is no point stating that you balanced cash at the end of each shift as a cashier. It is well understood that the majority of cashiers are responsible for balancing their float at the end of the shift. Instead, go beyond this and explain what set you apart from your colleagues.

Questions to Consider

  • How did you perform better at your role than your colleagues?
  • What performance indicator are you most proud of?
  • What did supervisors or performance evaluations compliment you for?
  • What can you do that others in your field cannot do?
  • Did you save the company any money? If so, how?

Using the SAR Approach to Writing Your Accomplishment Statements

By this point, you should be thinking about accomplishments and stories that demonstrate how you are the best candidate for the position you are applying for.

You have to ensure that your statements relate or transfer into your target role.

It isn’t enough to just tell a story under each role. You need to write concise and short sentences that use the SAR (situation, action, result) approach.

My advice is to think of three to four stories or accomplishments that you want to include under each role. Think about each story; write down the situation, the action you took and the result from your action. Now, fine-tune this sentence until it is brief and to the point.

If your original sentence goes something like this:

Through networking and cold-calling prospective clients, I was able to increase my assigned portfolio revenue by 35% in an 8-month period that enhanced overall revenue generation for the financial institution.

Replace it with:

Increased assigned portfolio revenue by 35% in an 8-month period.

Brief and Concise

With the above example in mind, it is easy to see that the same message is being conveyed. The difference is that the short and concise sentence makes it easier for the reader to glance at the sentence and not get bored. They will want to learn more about you, and are therefore more likely to call you in for an interview.

Additionally, this approach will provide you with more opportunity to discuss other great accomplishments while staying within a one to two-page résumé length. In other words, you will have more space to tell the hiring manager even more great stories!

By removing rote duties from each of your job descriptions and replacing these with keyword-rich accomplishment statements, you are more likely to make it past the ATS system and catch the interest of the hiring manager.


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