Many people run into trouble when writing the details of the work experience section on a resume. Commonly, the work experience section is made up of a bullet point list of duties and responsibilities relating to each work position. However, in order for your resume to stand out, the details of your work experience section should ideally start with a powerful action verb, as well as using numbers to quantify your accomplishments.
1. Use Action Verbs
When writing the work experience, always begin your bullet point details with an action verb. A powerful action verb places you as an initiator of action, which leaves a positive impression on the reader. Rather than beginning a description with a passive-sounding description such as “Worked on creative projects to teach children,” it is better to start off using an action verb such as “Designed and implemented a creative arts curriculum for elementary school children.”
Try to avoid starting off descriptions with “Responsible for” and instead, use action verbs such as “managed,” “implemented,” or “developed.”
For a complete list of action verbs (as in over 1,000 words) view the “Longest Action Verb List In The Universe” or get your action verbs by skill:
2. The PAR Method
There’s a simple formula that any job seeker can follow to construct accomplishment-oriented bullet points. It’s called the ‘PAR’ Method, which stands for problem, action, and results. When applied to your resume, the ‘Par Method’ encourages you to:
- Problem: Identify a responsibility or issue at work
- Action: Discuss how you addressed the problem
- Results: What was the outcome of that action
While that may sound like a lot to fit into one bullet point, you’ll be surprised out how easy ‘PAR’ can be implemented into your bullet points. Check out the examples below:
Developed new filing and organizational practices, saving the company $3,000 per year in contracted labor expenses
Suggested a new tactic to persuade canceling customers to stay with the company, resulting in a 5% decrease in cancellations
Notice that the problem, action, and result does not always need to be placed in the same order. Now that you have a better understanding of the structure of an accomplishment bullet point, let’s discuss how you can apply it to your own professional experience section.
3. Quantify Your Accomplishments
Employers want to see workers who can achieve solid results, and results are best stated in terms of reportable numbers. How many employees did you work with or oversee? By what percentage did you increase sales or efficiency? How much of a budget did you work with, with what type of results? Putting a number on your accomplishments is a sure way of conveying results and impressing the hiring manager.
By using numbers in detailing your work experience, you are demonstrating your focus as being results-oriented rather than task-oriented. For example, compare “Responsible for selling products to customers at XYZ Store” to “Increased sales revenue by 30% in three months.” Which one sounds better? By including a percentage as well as time spent, the potential employer has a measurable, defined idea of what you have accomplished, rather than just a general job responsibility that can already be assumed with the job title.
In order to measure your accomplishments, try to obtain as much data as you can in regard to your previous work experience. It is never recommended to make up numbers, as hiring managers are experienced when it comes to scanning resumes and it could hurt you later on. You also do not need to quantify every single line in your work experience, but at least have a few per position on the work experience section.
Below are some questions that may help to think of how to quantify achievements (broken down in terms of percentages, numbers, dollar amounts, and time)
Questions to ask yourself:
- Did you increase sales, market share, or customer satisfaction by a certain percentage? How?
- Did you increase efficiency or productivity by a certain percentage?
- Did you recruit, work with, or manage a certain number of employees or teams?
- How many customers did you serve on average? Did you increase the number of customers served? By how much?
- Did you implement new ideas, systems, or processes to the company? What was the impact?
- Did you propose or work with a budget of a certain dollar amount?
- Did you increase sales or profitability by a certain dollar amount? How?
- Did you decrease delivery or turnaround time on a project? How?
- Was one of your achievements completed within a tight deadline?
- Did you resolve any particular issues? How soon?
All of these are examples where you can specifically quantify an achievement and translate your work experience into a results-oriented approach. In order to provide even more detail, consider also answering “How?” in regard to how you achieved the accomplishment.
4. Resume achievement examples by industry
Food Service Worker
- Memorized restaurant’s wine stock and the meals they should accompany, leading to daily wine sales averaging $150, fully 20% higher than company average
- Write patrons’ food orders on slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff in a 110+ seat restaurant
Administrative Assistant/Office Worker
- Developed new filing and organizational practices, saving the company $3,000 per year in contracted labor expenses
- Answered incoming calls (avg. 40/day) resolving issues with both customers and billing department
- Provide direct quality care to patients including daily monitoring, recording, and evaluating of medical conditions of up to 20 patients per day
- Led and mentored 10 newly licensed nurses in developing and achieving professional expertise
- Increased students’ scores in standardized tests by 24% in literacy and 35% in math
- Educated an average of 18 students in grades 2 and 3, and received four “Best Teacher Award”
- Manage a $350,000 budget, with a reduction of costs totaling 15% over two years
- Trained and supervised 2 new employees, ensuring they maintain fastidious attention to detail
- Consolidated multiple ticketing systems, improving communication and ticket turnover rate by 7%
- Refined and improved existing documentation system, resulting in reduced labor costs totaling $15,000 annually via increased workplace efficiency
- Operate POS cash register, handling 92 transactions on average daily, and count money in cash drawers to ensure the amount is correct
- Assist an average of 40 customers per day in finding or selecting items, and provided recommendations that generated $8K in additional revenue
Resume Genius’ Resume Builder
Writing an achievement oriented resume is easy with our powerful and simple to use Resume Genius’ resume building software. Our bullet points are well-written and can be easily modified to reflect your achievements. Just add numbers, and you’re all done!
Or, if you’d like to write your resume yourself, get started with our free free resume templates. Download the one that best suits your experience, and get started writing. Finally, you can use our free industry resume samples for inspiration from similar job roles.