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Key pieces every work history description must have

Jul 06, 2018

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There are certain expectations attached to a resume. Because a recruiter will only spend up to seven seconds scanning one for the qualifications they're looking for before it's dismissed. And they expect to not have to inspect yours any longer than that to connect your candidacy with their client.

When you want your resume to stand out in a recruiter’s inbox, a well-written one will get the job done, but only if you put in the work—especially in your work history section.  This is where the descriptions of your previous achievements demonstrate why you're the best fit for the role.

Here are the four key pieces to include in yours to turn those seven seconds into an interview.

Project overview

A project overview isn't a repetition of your job description. Instead, it should provide an indication of your job performance. You want to outline the scope of your project and the goals of the organization. Your project summary should include team size, budget size, project name/code name, and one or two lines about the purpose of the project. Your project summary should entice its reader to get deeper into the goods of the gig.

Quantifiable achievements

Your resume needs to measure the value you've brought to previous organizations. To demonstrate yours, you need to provide quantifiable measurements in the form of numbers. Numbers/Math is the universal language. Everyone speaks it. There is no way to be more clear than to use a specific number on your resume. Metrics can show the improvements you've made in your roles, so you'll want to highlight the increases and decreases you've achieved. Use numbers and percentages to highlight things like:

Targets - Did you increase traffic or decrease escalations?
Costs saved - Did you reduce department spending?
Budget responsibility - Did you deliver a project under budget? 
Completion dates - Did you deliver a competition date ahead of schedule?
Time saving processes - Did you implement a new process that saved staff an hour a day?
Portfolio size - How large was your customer base?
Team - What size of a team did you lead?
Project price - Did you manage a high ticket expansion project? 
Location - Did you train or manage employees in multiple locations?

Remember, these are only examples! 

Keywords

Keywords are critical to your candidacy; because without them in your resume, the Applicant Tracking Systems recruiters use won't find your skills or experience. 

Resume keywords are the skills and qualifications used in the original job description that need to be mirrored in your resume. 

However, simply using any form of these keywords will not win the robot war. They must be formatted to echo the original job description exactly— to an ATS, there’s a difference between “Microsoft Word,” “MS Word” and “Word.”  When it comes to your job description, a “marketing coordinator” will find his or her way into an interview room before a “branding ninja” will even be noticed by the resume robots.

Program Languages

Program languages actually belong in two sections of your resume: Within your work history descriptions and within the bullet point list of your technical skills. Technical Summaries are great as an overview - but including in each assignment gives recruiters and hiring managers an idea of scope and depth of experience with each technology. 

Remember, your resume will only work for you when you put in the work.

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