If you rely solely on job duties, as is the case with most resumes, a recruiter will have no way of knowing if you were the best (insert job title here) or the worst. To stand out from hundreds of other candidates with similar backgrounds, your resume has to have texture.
Move beyond generic job duties
Ideally, every job-related bullet on your resume should address what was involved (your task), what you did (your role), and the impact that had on the organization or purpose behind what you were doing (your result).
Before you roll your eyes and say you didn’t make a big enough splash to qualify as “impact” on the organization, understand that impact could be something as simple as making a recommendation to management to try to make something better. For example, if you worked as a cashier and noticed the ChapStick hidden away in the far corner of the store wasn’t selling, and suggested they try moving it near the cash register, and the store ended up selling more ChapStick—that’s impact.
Show scale and scope
Unless you tell them, recruiters really have no way of knowing if you worked on something really small or really large. So if you say you worked with a client, they could be a small “mom & pop” shop or a huge multinational corporation or any and all points in between. When possible, mention the names of notable corporate clients. Or, if you can’t for confidentiality reasons, describe their size “a $300 million health care company.”
If you managed a huge project, look for opportunities to articulate how huge—How big was the budget? How many people were on your team? What was the ultimate deliverable? Was it widely adopted and/or successful?
Each bullet should be a self-contained, stand-alone short story. Include enough detail to give the recruiter a grasp of what you did while also remembering to cite specific examples or points of distinction that will help differentiate you from someone with a similar background. In almost every case, you should be able to tell each “story” in one or two well written and concise sentences.
Eliminate run-of-the-mill job duties
Read over every bullet of your resume and ask yourself “If I was the greatest candidate in the world and I was competing against someone with a similar background who was the worst, how might each bullet look different?” Bullets that focus solely on your run-of-the-mill job duties aren’t going to cut it.
So, how will you add texture to your resume?