How to Compose And Summarize Your Résumé
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the work of truth.” – II Timothy 2:13
In my previous blog post, I talked about How And Why To Add Your Accomplishments To Your Résumé. In this article I’ll discuss developing, writing and summarizing your résumé.
Composing your accomplishment stories:
Developing and writing your accomplishment stories takes the uncovered bones from the previous exercise (the previous blog post) and puts flesh on them, bringing the body to life.
The power of a story is tremendous. As Lawrence Sterne, seventeenth century novelist and Anglican clergyman, describes:
Lessons of wisdom have the most power over us when they capture the heart through the groundwork of a story, which engages the passions.”
In your accomplishment stories, you’re reaching out to capture the reader’s heart and imagination.
On a separate sheet of paper, write all the details you can remember for each item you listed in the Discovering Accomplishments exercise. Include a description of the situation, your employer, the objectives, how long you were involved, other people involved, the budget committed to the project, regular meetings, your role and what you actually did, the results, tools or software you used, the routine tasks you had to complete, and how the situation developed. Include everything!
Don’t worry about how long your description is; just include everything you can think of, the more detailed the better. You’ll summarize this lengthy narrative for your résumé, while you’ll use the longer version to answer questions that come up in an interview. By thinking through these situations now, as you write your résumé, you won’t have to try to remember the details on the spot in an interview.
Time to Summarize:
Once you’ve captured the details of your accomplishment stories, it’s time to boil them down to the few lines you’ll actually use in your résumé.
Your first task is to identify the accomplishments you want to use. Previously, we discussed having a job target and keeping everything on your résumé focused on your job target. This is where you apply that concept.
With the job target for one résumé in mind, look through your accomplishment stories and identify which ones actually speak to some aspect of this particular job target.
Summarize each accomplishment story you select in a brief accomplishment statement using the acronym STAR as an outline. You are the STAR of your stories.
S = Situation
T = Tools or Techniques
A = Action
R = Results
Situation: The “situation” is a brief statement (five to seven words) to describe the project, problem, question, emergency, etc.
Tools/Techniques: This is where you highlight specialized equipment, software, processes, etc. that are common in your field or unique to your type of work. All you need to do is identify what you used, but do not elaborate on how you used it or what it’s typically used for.
Action Verbs: These terms describe precisely what you did in each situation. It’s understood that you do very few things completely on your own. Usually you work as part of a group, but you can still use what you did as a group as one of your accomplishments by describing the particular actions you took.
In these stories you are focusing on what you did and not how you did it. The action verbs you choose identify what you did. The how can be left for the interview.
Results: This describes what happened because of your actions, or your group’s actions. Often these are spelled out ahead of time in the form of objectives, but the actual results may differ from what you were shooting for.
The STAR acronym is a great tool to use as an outline for thinking through all the details in the paragraph above that begins with “On a separate sheet of paper….”
Results are what occur when you use the gifts and talents God has given you. As A.B. Simpson, the well-known Canadian preacher and founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church,
Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict.”
Your results say, ‘This is what God has worked through me.’
All results are important and must be considered as you think through the results that came about in the process of you doing your work. Don’t minimize what you’ve done by saying, “Anyone could have done the same thing.” The fact is that you did it and you should take credit
My book, “The Christian Job Search Manual” offers worksheets and examples to help you create your best résumé.
This is an excerpt from my book “The Christian Job Search Manual,” click on this link to purchase the book.
If you would like to explore working with a Christian centered Career Coach, Contact me for a no-obligation 60-90 minute job search consultation with America’s Job Searching Coach, or text me at 425-220-0707 and we can discuss your situation, your résumé, what you would like to achieve, and structure your job search to fit your uniqueness.
I am also available to speak to groups.