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Make Your Résumé Sizzle with Success Stories

In today's competitive job market you can't afford a résumé that fizzles. Power up your résumé with solid success stories. Include simple, clear accomplishment statements to get and keep the attention of hiring managers.

Appreciate the value you bring to your employer! You haven't just been "doing your job." Recognize that the way you work-your dedication, creative suggestions, and ability to implement new ideas-sets you apart from your colleagues.

Where to Start?

1. Review old performance appraisals with a highlighter in hand. Mark the successes you've forgotten about and jot down additional details about those projects.

2. Review a list of action verbs and check those that describe tasks you most enjoy performing. Jot down specific examples of when you have successfully performed those tasks.

3. Think about specific problems you've solved or tough performance objectives you've met. Describe them.

4. Jog memories of your accomplishments by answering these questions:

* What has your manager complimented you on or recognized you for in your work?

* Give examples of a problem you solved or an emergency you handled.

* Give an example of something you built, made, or created.

* When did your idea or suggestion result in an award?

* How have you streamlined operations, increased productivity, or cut costs?

* How have you influenced individual or team productivity?

* What do you do better than your colleagues and why is this helpful to the organization?

Writing About Your Successes

Once you have a list of ten accomplishments (the more the better), write about each one using this formula:

PROBLEM. What was the problem or performance objective? This is the reason why you did what you did.

ACTION. What did you do to solve the problem or meet the performance objective? Begin this sentence with an action verb.

RESULT. Explain why what you did matters. The result should answer the question. "So what, who cares?"

Now you have ten or more success stories. These can play a valuable role during interviews, where there's time to present the story's beginning, middle and end. But for your résumé, you must edit each story down to an accomplishment statement: two sentences that describe the action you took and the results of that action.

Results are what employers are looking for! Other features contribute to a successful résumé, but solid accomplishment statements are the most important because they demonstrate what you can do for a potential employer.

Always, always, always write more success stories than you think you need. Then you can pick and choose the best for a particular situation and hold the rest in your "back pocket," ready to be pulled out at a moment's notice during an interview. Not only will your résumé sizzle, but you will too, as you enthusiastically convey your accomplishments in person.

Mary Jeanne Vincent is the author of Acing the Interview tip cards featuring answers to the top 20 "killer" interview questions. Also included are tips for interviewing in the new economy, ideas for responding to illegal and trick questions, and suggestions for avoiding 10 deadly interview mistakes.

Go to http://www.2bworkwise.com for free job search articles and to sign up for the free WorkWise e-zine. For information on individual job and career coaching or to find out about other practical, easy-to-use career tools call Mary Jeanne at 831.657.9151.

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