In Resume, Describe How You've Added Value


This post is reprinted from our sister blog, A Storied Career. In writing about performing beyond one’s job description, Patty Azzarello is making a point about job growth:
As soon as you start doing the job, what the job needs to be evolves as the business grows and as the world changes. If you do your job as written for too long a period of time, you will become out of date. You will begin to lose relevance to the business. You will not be adding enough value.
valueadded.jpg You will also not have any accomplishment stories to tell your next employer if all you do is what’s in the job description. Job descriptions contain only qualifications, duties, and responsibilities. Stunningly, many job-seekers use their job description as a starting point for their resumes (and it’s always completely obvious when an applicant has done so). Thus, their resumes are filled with duties and responsibilities, which are of minimal interest to employers compared with accomplishments and results. Azzarello packs her post with lists of questions an employee could ask himself or herself to see if he or she is adding value. Most of those same questions could be used as prompts for developing accomplishment stories for resumes, cover letters, and interviews. A sampling:

What business outcomes does my work drive?

  • What is the business outcome that happens as a result of my producing this work?
  • How does my work impact profit?
  • Does my work impact quality, innovation, efficiency, competitiveness, cost reduction, process improvement, sales effectiveness…
  • Can I tune my work to create a better or different business outcome?

What has changed?

  • What has changed in the market since I started this job?
  • What has changed in our customers’ business since I started this job?
  • What has changed in our competitors’ business since I started this job?
  • What has changed inside our company since I started this job?
  • Do these changes require a change in the way my job is done?
Most of the bullet points in Azzerello’s post could serve as a superb template for developing accomplishment stories. I highly recommend it. Azzerello concludes “It’s dangerous to rely on your job description to tell you want to do or to wait for your management to tune your job along the way.” It’s not only dangerous in your current job but dangerous for future opportunities.