"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
You will hear those words quite frequently if you watch The Dr. Phil Show, but they're just as true for resume writing as they are for marital counseling. When he or she is reading your resume, a recruiter or potential employer is searching for the way you behaved at your previous job. That reader wants your resume to answer the key questions: Why did you get hired? Why did the company keep you? What impact did you have on your previous position?
It's important to realize just how important impact is to your job search. You could have rebuilt the Space Shuttle, or taken apart and reassembled a Sikorsky helicopter blindfolded, yet if your resume is full of duties alone, it will never make it onto the hiring manager's desk.
To get noticed, your resume must show the kind of accomplishments that had impact on your prior employers. As author, speaker, and executive coach Jay Block puts it: "A resume without accomplishments is like a report card without marks."
Consider the following:
Janet Jobhunter has been pursuing a career in the aerospace industry as a mechanic. She has 20 years' experience assembling and disassembling helicopters and airplanes. Who wouldn't want someone with that kind of experience, right? She even tells the reader on her resume:
* Assembled and disassembled helicopters and diagnosed and repaired jet engines for airplanes. Tightened bolts to exact tolerances.
To her surprise, however, Janet gets no responses from her resume. Nothing at all. Not even so much as a letter acknowledging receipt.
On the other hand, we have Patricia Professional. She's also done the same things Janet has, and for exactly the same length of time. But Patricia's resume says the following:
* Troubleshot consistently recurring failures occurring in twin helicopter motors. Traced problem to inadequate wiring between pilot's controls and engine. Facilitated all corrections, and established permanent fixes for the manufacturing stage, which reduced the failure rate to 0.
Based on their resumes, which of these two would you hire?
Give this some thought and think about this example when you're writing your resume. Because a resume is not a simple, dry listing of your daily job duties; a resume is a commercial for you. And just like any other commercial, whether for soap, gasoline, toothpaste, or shampoo, you need to show the employer the ways in which you have had an impact.