Content-Bolstering Power Factors for Your Resume, Part 1


Dr. John Sullivan, who has “worked with major corporations on the design of their hiring and resume screening processes” observes that “nearly all applicants fail to adequately highlight themselves in a way that increases their chances of being selected for further evaluation. Thus, he came up with “30 ‘Power Factors’ to Bolster the Content of Your Resume.” Here are the first six; the rest will appear in later entries:
  • Result or accomplishment — everyone wants employees who produce results, so you need to find a way to list every significant result, output, or accomplishment. Your resume should include dozens of performance-related references. (Example: Achieved 100% of ___ rollout project milestones while being first to implement ___ within the division.)
  • Quantify results in dollars — the language of businesses is dollars, so characterizing the dollar impact of your accomplishments on the organization can be a key differentiator. It’s OK to use estimates if you can explain your logic. (Example: implemented changes to the ___ process that resulted in a 32% increase output with no noticeable impact on quality).
  • Skills used — listing the work you did but omitting the array of skills that you need to accomplish that work is a major omission in most resumes. You should never mention a task or accomplishment without highlighting both the technical and people skills required to accomplish it. Start with a list of all the skills that you can find in job descriptions of interest and try to mention each one. (Example: Used root cause analysis to track an emerging issue back to a change that had been overlooked many times and used strong Internet research skills to gather supporting information and build a business case to successfully convince a skeptical manager to address the issue.)
  • Demonstrate the quality of the work — you need to clearly demonstrate that you do high-quality work and that you understand and deliver quality consistently. Whenever you mention the volume of your work, also mention indications of its quality. (Example: Consistently ranked top producer within the division while maintaining the lowest error rate and a 98% customer satisfaction rate.)
  • Awards and honors — mention all recognitions received for outstanding work. Don’t forget shared and team awards, or informal awards created by local managers. Include awards received both in school and on the job. (Example: Awarded employee of the month six times.)
  • Leadership — employees who can lead are always in demand. Mention cases where you led a team or project, even if informally. Highlight challenges addressed and leadership methods used. (Example: Assembled and led a team responsible for developing a plan to expand scope of services provided, overcoming resource limitations, personality conflicts, and communication breakdowns to successfully present the case to the executive committee).