How to Add Power to Your Resume

by Beverly Harvey

There are many components to writing a powerful resume. I’m sure most of you have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” This applies to writing a resume as well. You must consider the tone of your resume. It’s a difficult subtlety to pinpoint, especially in your own written materials, but the reader picks up on it immediately.

Confused Resume Reviewer

Consider a memo from a staff member you’ve received that really annoyed you. When you approached the writer, s/he may be totally unaware that you could have possibly misinterpreted the content in such a way. “It was just a memo stating the facts, it wasn’t intended to upset anyone,” is the reply you get. You go away thinking to yourself, there was just something about that memo that really ticked me off. It was probably the tone of the memo.

Likewise, the tone of your resume is extremely important. As a professional resume writer, I’ve provided resume critiques for thousands of clients who think their resumes are well-written. One of the major problems I find, is a negative or flat tone – no life at all – just, this is where I’ve worked, these are the dates, this is what my title was, and this is what my responsibilities were (copied right from their job description).

Writing a powerful resume requires you to step outside of your daily tasks and activities and take a look at your overall role in a company. Most of us get so caught up in the minute details of our daily activities, our relationships with peers, competitive struggles, and the demands of the management team, that we lose site of the overall contribution we’re making to a team, department, division and ultimately the company. By providing the reader with an understanding of the environments you’ve operated within, you can add a lot of power and integrity to each position on your resume.

Symbol of Power

Whether you’ve already put your resume together, or you’re just planning to put one together, consider the answers to the following questions:

  • Are any of the companies you have worked for Fortune 100, 500, or 1000 companies?
  • Are they national, international, or multinational corporations?
  • Do they have more than one division?
  • How many and where (nationwide, worldwide)?
  • Are they pioneers in their industry, industry leaders or world leaders?
  • Are they technologically-advanced, best-in-class, or world-class organizations?
  • Are they publicly traded, privately held, or funded by venture capital?
  • Are they a multi-million or multi-billion dollar company?
  • Are they a start up company, in a high-growth mode, or in a transition? Have they acquired other companies or been acquired?
  • How many employees are in the company, your division, your team?
  • How many of these employees does your work impact?

If any of the companies you have worked for has a website, go to the site and see how they position themselves within their industry and market themselves to the world. If they don’t have a website, read their annual report to their stockholders, marketing materials, press releases, even your employee manual should include the company’s mission statement and goals.

Now, what do you do with all this information?
Weave it into your responsibility section, contributions section and accomplishments section. How? Check out these samples:

Branch Manager

Before: Responsible for all branch functions including managing, hiring, and training fifty staff members. Manage a five-person sales force. Accountable for growing business, marketing/pricing strategy, P &L responsibility, market analysis, purchasing, fleet and warehouse management, and new product promotion.

After: Promoted to manage the 2nd largest branch in the US for a $700 million rental company ranked 3rd largest in the world. Full P &L responsibility plus forecasting of yearly budgets in excess of $7 million annually. Managed all branch and sales operations through a staff of 55. Oversaw fleet and warehouse management, purchasing, staff/workforce development and training, market analysis, new business development, marketing, pricing, and new product introductions.

Southeastern Regional Sales Representative

Before: Developed several new accounts and exceeded all sales quotas.

After: As Sales Representative for an independent sales organization representing 8 industry leading manufacturers of sportswear and fashion accessories, developed 148 new accounts, drove sales volume by 112%, and generated annual sales of $600,000.

Director of Sales

Before: Managed a sales team selling wedding packages at WDW.

After: Lead a team of six sales managers and eight coordinators marketing Walt Disney World’s wedding packages directly to consumers and a worldwide wholesale network. Full P&L responsibility for a $10 million operating budget.

Territory Manager

Before: Responsible for Central Florida territory. Marketed products to independent retailers and introduced new product lines. Managed new and existing accounts.

After: Recruited to expand market share throughout all of Central Florida to support company’s high growth initiatives. Promoted over 3000 industry leading products to independent retailers and introduced more than 14 new product lines. Secured over 20 new accounts in less than one year. Expanded product lines of existing accounts to include niche market product lines developed specifically for independent retailers. Increased monthly revenues from $70,000 to $120,000.

Quality Manager

Before: Managed customer contracts from start to finish.

After: Senior quality manager overseeing all Fortune 100 customer contracts from initial proposal through project completion for an $826 million diversified manufacturer of hundreds of products for the automotive, defense, aerospace and construction markets worldwide.

Purchasing Commodity Manager

Before: Manage all purchasing functions, transportation logistics and 18 buyers.

After: Manage purchasing functions for the third largest 9002/TUV-Certified contract manufacturer of printed circuit board assemblies. Lead a team of 18 buyers responsible for procurement of $12-15 million per month for two US plants and one Mexico plant producing more than one million completed assemblies monthly. Oversee a 35-person international logistics and transportation management team coordinating product movement between Mexico, US, and Taiwan plants.

President – Sales & Marketing

Before: In charge of all sales and marketing after a down turn in the market. Assisted in all phases of company operations as requested. Develop new financial procedures as requested by upper management.

After: Recruited by the Board of Directors of this Fortune 500 company to manage sales and marketing initiatives throughout Russia and the CIS subsequent to the country’s financial crisis resulting in a 40% loss in market share. Requested, after only three weeks, to assist the CEO in restructuring the entire company with particular emphasis on the financial infrastructure. Managed a $6.5 million annual operating budget.

By leveraging company facts, you can add strength to your qualifications and contributions while positioning yourself as an achiever with drive and determination. And what my clients love most about this writing style, is that it is all true – every word of it – not boastful or overbearing – just factual, straightforward and full of pizzazz.

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