Tag Archives: accomplishments

Résumé Disconnects: Watch Out For These!


I continue to see client résumés that have several important disconnects on them that will stop a hiring manager from considering the candidate further. Here are three that get little press but can have a significant influence on the Continuum of Belief I recently wrote about here.

Disconnect Between Functional Expertise and Employment History

Whether you list your functional skills/expertise in a table or bulleted list, be sure that the expertise you claim comes from actual work experience, degrees, licenses, or certifications that you already possess and not seminars, webinars, blogs, college coursework, or books. You can’t claim to have expertise in “Ammonia Refrigeration” or “Forensics and Valuation” in your areas of expertise, but then state “currently preparing for Mechanical Contractor License” or “CPA certification (or “Accounting degree”)  in progress” elsewhere–especially if none of your work experience explicitly mentions “ammonia refrigeration” or “forensics and valuation.”  You must connect the dots because the hiring manager will try to as well.

Do not confuse limited knowledge or experience with expertise. This is seen by many hiring managers as a tactic to disguise or minimize insufficient minimal education or experience. Such disconnects are a red flag to anyone responsible for hiring people.

Disconnect Between Functional Expertise and Accomplishment

If you claim some specific expertise in that “functional skills/expertise” table but there’s no mention of an accomplishment or achievement that incorporated that expertise, there could very well be a disconnect in the mind of the hiring manager scanning your résumé. Be sure some of those keywords used in your “Areas of Expertise” table correlate to some work-related accomplishment. Make the connection!

Disconnect Between Accomplishment/Achievement and Duties/Responsibilities

All too often I see client résumés that list ordinary duties and responsibilities as “accomplishments.” Either candidates are trying to pass themselves off as achievers or they don’t understand the differences that separate duties/responsibilities and task completions from valued accomplishments. If generating management reports is part of your duties and responsibilities, don’t list “management report generation” as an accomplishment! It is a task you completed as part of your duties. Hiring managers are wise to this disconnect and it will disqualify you from further consideration.

Getting hired has been, is, and will always be about what the hiring manager needs. Address those needs rather than your own and you’ll continue moving forward in the hiring process.

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Tips for Creating an Achievement-Focused Résumé

One of the topics that generates the most interest at my seminar and workshops is how to create a résumé that emphasizes key accomplishments and achievements instead of one that reads like a career obituary. When a résumé overflows with duties and responsibilities, it’s a snoozer for hiring managers because EVERY candidate has duties and responsibilities. Make a hiring manager go on a fishing expedition for information he or she needs, and your chances for further consideration are greatly reduced.

I suggest creating a small table with 5 rows and 2 columns like the example below.

Situation What were the circumstances leading up to the accomplishment?
Task What task were you assigned for this situation?
Action What action(s) did you take to fulfill the task assigned?
Results Where were the results of the actions you took to fulfill the assigned task?
Restated for résumé How would you state this accomplishment in one short sentence for your résumé?

Here’s an example that I worked up an accomplishment from my last résumé:

Situation Technical publications function considering going from print to digital.
Task Create task force to evaluate costs, organizational impact, timetable, cost-savings
Action Obtain buy-in from all functional groups affected by shift to digital.
Results Reduced company printing costs by $2.3 million in two years.
Restated for résumé Reduced documentation printing/distribution costs by $2.3M in two years with minimal impact to participating organizations.

Breaking down your involvement with various company initiatives and projects using this table format helps you extract an accomplishment that contributes to the strategic objectives of the organization.




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Align Your Expertise with What Hiring Managers are Looking For

As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, hiring managers are more interested in what you accomplished than what your duties and responsibilities were in your career. Too many folks still confuse task completion with accomplishments; a task completion is part of your duties and responsibilities. An accomplishment yields results that impact the higher strategic vision or objective of the organization beyond the normal day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

The graphic below summarizes how hiring managers view expertise in a job candidate, and how candidates can express that expertise to better align with what hiring managers are looking for. Such methods help promote your professional brand in the job marketplace.

Common ground graphic

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