The Secret “So What?” Method To Resume Writing Success

Your resume is the key to a great career, so put in the appropriate effort to get it right. Asking yourself the right questions can make all the difference.

Asking Resume Writing Questions

This is a guest post by Andrew Rondeau. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

What is the aim of the resume?

To get an invite for an interview. That’s it. Simple.

So how do you get that invite?

By ensuring that your resume sells you. It should be a sales advert for you and the easiest way to do that is via your skills and your achievements. The vast majority of individuals regularly undersell their achievements.

Research shows that if you get your resume right, you could actually boost your starting salary by 15%. So isn’t that reason enough to invest some time and get it right?

Avoid being in the majority

I get to see hundreds of resumes every week and the vast majority of them are just a list of educational courses, exam results and jobs. That’s it. No selling of themselves.

If you do not shout about your skills and achievements, how will employees know about them?

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Here’s a sure-fire way to get your resume right

  1. Make a list of courses and jobs you’ve taken or done, including any voluntary work
  2. List the skills that each course and job gave you
  3. Add your achievements using each skill
  4. Include specific facts and figures
  5. Then flesh out this information to create your resume.

Focus on where you have had success

For example, let’s say you worked in a call centre of some-sort. Instead of just writing:

“IT Helpdesk Advisor, February to May 2008”,

Add the skills as well:

“Knowledge of numerous IT packages including…”

“Calm collective approach to customers when dealing with a crisis”

Add the achievements as well:

“Gained teamwork skills as part of the team of five, led the team as stand-in for Team Leader in their absence”

“Increased first-time customer complaint resolution rate”

Adding facts: a unique approach

In my experience, by far the biggest gap in resumes is the inclusion of facts. Individuals just do not include them. An easy way to approach this is to say “So what?” after each statement and see what facts you can add.

Let’s use this achievement statement as an example:

“Increased first-time customer complaint resolution rate”

Ask “So what?”

A better statement would be:

“Increased first-time resolution rate for all customer calls from 65% to 82%”

Let’s ask again – “So what?”

An even better statement would be:

“Increased first-time resolution rate for all customer calls from 65% to 82% saving support team members 1 hour per day”

“So what?”

How does this grab you:

“Increased first-time resolution rate for all customer calls from 65% to 82% saving support team members 1 hour per day and enabling costs to be reduced by $10k per month”

If you were the hiring employer, which version of the above would you rather be reading?

We could wordsmith the last statement to improve it even further but you get my point. As the employer, this statement gives me much more information about the individual.

One point about resume facts that you shouldn’t overlook- ensure that your resume is accurate and not exaggerated. Overselling or lying will only backfire on you in the future.

Keep It Simple

So you have the content, now how do you want your resume to look?

Simple and legible is the answer:

  • Use a 12-point Arial font.
  • Make it short, no more than 2 pages.
  • Check for spelling mistakes. A spelling or grammatical error can land your resume at the bottom of the pile or even the bin. I always get other people to read my resume before I send it out. I find it hard to see my own mistakes.

It can be even better

Change your resume depending upon the role you are applying for. Your resume should cover the skills and behaviours required in the job description. Link your experience / skills / achievements / facts with the job description and show the employer that you have the skills they are looking for.

For example, if the job description is asking for a dedicated individual who is reliable and could work in a team, make sure your resume cover these points.

A final word

If you are looking for a new job, and you are not too sure what to include in your resume, think about the skills and behaviours you have portrayed in your successes.

Remember- do not just fill up your resume, fill it up with relevant examples that show off your skills, achievements and successes.

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About the Author

Andrew RondeauAndrew Rondeau transformed himself from a $4 an-hour petrol-pump attendant to a highly successful Senior Manager earning $500k every year.

If you liked this article, you’ll enjoy 60 Resume Achievement Writing Ideas and Expressions.

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25 Comments

  1. Gamy Rachel August 18, 2008
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  6. GreatManagement August 21, 2008
  7. Robert Long August 23, 2008
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