Highlighting Accomplishments in Past Jobs Are a Key Element of Your Resume

If you have had five or more years’ experience in the security industry and are vying for an opening that has greater responsibilities and opportunities, you might be tempted to load your up with detailed descriptions of your professional experience. After all, don’t job responsibilities in your career progression so far reflect how qualified and eligible you are for higher responsibilities?

Résumé guru and career management consultant says, “No!” In her guide Happy About My Résumé Safani says this about talking about past job tasks:

While it’s important to convey a brief overview of job tasks, this information does little to differentiate candidates…What makes (candidates) unique and memorable is the accomplishment within the tasks.

Safani recommends spending no more than three to six lines talking about the job tasks associated with each of your past positions. Save the space for “more valuable accomplishment-focused information.” The idea is to present an overview of your past roles and write a very concise description that differentiates the job description from the accomplishments that you will follow.

Here’s an example of a concise job description:

Act as security director and security specialist to develop leading-edge efficiencies into existing corporate policies and security enforcement. Support department managers and lead security staff in a fast-paced environment requiring quick reaction and effective problem solving.

Accomplishments are more important than vague job descriptions.

Follow up each short job description by maximizing a list of your accomplishments in bullet point format. Since you will probably be competing with others who have similar experience and background, the prospective employers are definitely more interested in reading about what you actually accomplished. Past accomplishments, according to Safani, “are a better predictor of success than a discussion of job tasks.”

Accomplishment statements should include:

  • A clear description of how you helped past employers protect assets, make money, save money, save time, grow the business, and maintain the business.
  • A discussion of the impact of your contributions by telling the “before and after” picture within the organization and demonstrating how you improved a process or introduced a new strategy.

Here are some examples of accomplishments:

  • Drafted and published the company’s first security practices and policies manual, which improved efficency and helped reduce losses by $250,000 for the corporation. (Protect assets and save money.)
  • Cut expenses incurred by upgrading existing security monitoring to cloud-supported network. (Saved money.)
  • Eliminated over 20 administrative hours weekly by… (Saved time.)
  • Streamlined security monitoring and entry system by… (Improved a process.)

Note that each of the example accomplishment statements begin with an action verb. Avoid weak statements and phrases like “responsible for” or “duties included.”

Review your resume today and make these improvements before you begin your career search.

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