« February 2008 | Main | April 2008 »

March 19, 2008

Are Achievements All That Matter on a Resume?

This morning I came across this nugget from Penelope Trunk in a blog post about writing your resume:

"Don’t focus on your responsibilities, focus on what you achieved. A resume is not your life story. No one cares. If your life story were so interesting, you’d have a book deal. The only things that should be on your resume are achievements."

I don’t agree.

As important as achievements are -- and you can read our articles from Joe Turner and Monster Resume Expert Kim Isaacs on the value of selling your top accomplishments on your resume -- including some of your specific duties from former jobs is helpful for a recruiter, too.

"Achievements are great, but I like to get into the nitty-gritty of what [candidates] are doing daily," says Melissa Shaw, an HR manager for Perkett PR.

Monster senior recruiter Dianne Iannelli offers similar sentiments. Iannelli, who reviews some 150 resumes every week, says that understanding some of a candidate’s previous day-to-day responsibilities gives her a good initial sense of whether that person’s experience would be a good match for the position she’s trying to fill. If she were to only see achievements on a resume, Iannelli says, making the links between the roles would be more difficult.

The How Matters

In other words, including bullet points on your resume about what you actually did to win that award -- managed the project with the help of 10 direct reports, wrote the concept plan and then coordinated the execution with a team developers and designers, etc. -- can provide a recruiter with more meaningful information about you than simply trying to make the honor stand on its own.  You need to provide context.

Here’s how one corporate recruiter friend, who asked not to be named, put it to me: "If I just see achievements, I don’t [really] know what you did."

What do you think?

So, what’s your take on the extent to which you should highlight achievements on your resume?

Posted by Bryan on March 19, 2008 at 05:23 PM in Resume | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)

March 17, 2008

Building Business Relationships Outside the Office -- with or Without the Drinking

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would revisit one of the most popular -- and contentious -- posts from our Monster Blog archives: Alcohol: Income Booster?

In that post, my former Monster colleague Maya pointed to a research study that linked drinking with increased earning power. According to the report, "drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and…men who drink socially bring home an additional 7 percent in pay."

Does that mean you should start drinking to begin making your way up the corporate ladder? Hardly. But the article is a good reminder of the importance of spending time with coworkers, clients and other business colleagues outside of the board room, cubicle farm and company cafeteria. Whether that involves meeting for evening cocktails, chit-chatting in the hallways at a conference, or going out for a round of golf, strengthening existing relationships away from the office -- as well as starting new ones -- is the essence of networking. In fact, it could make the difference in landing you a new job or getting you that promotion you’ve been waiting for.

So if you’re not hitting up the local pub to toast the luck of the Irish with your workmates tonight, what are you doing this week to build better business relationships?

Posted by Bryan on March 17, 2008 at 03:37 PM in Networking , The Daily Grind | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2008

Workdays Should Be Based on Results -- Not Input

What if you told your boss that you planned to enjoy a three-hour lunch break on Monday, take in a matinee on Tuesday, go to an extended appointment at the hair salon on Wednesday, shop for a new car on Thursday morning and hit the local pub at 2:00 on Friday, but you also assured her that all of your work would absolutely, positively get done -- and with the same exceptional quality as ever.

Think she'd say, "Sure thing -- go for it!"?

Probably not -- but then, your company probably isn't following ROWE, the "Results-Only Work Environment" program devised by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, coauthors of the forthcoming book Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It.

"Cali & Jody," as they call themselves on their blog, contend that the workday shouldn't consist of the trappings of the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. In fact, they argue that employees shouldn't have schedules at all. Instead, they should be empowered to work whenever, wherever and however they want, "as long as business objectives are achieved."

Cali and Jody have already helped the retailer Best Buy implement ROWE, and they're on a mission to convert more organizations.

Valuing Output Over Input

I'm quickly becoming a fan of ROWE, which emphasizes output over input. As I see it, too many organizations are still stuck in the opposite model. They like to remind their employees that "results are the bottom line," all the while insisting those workers submit time cards each week (input) or burn part of a vacation day, because they visit the doctor during regular business hours. The result? Employees have to concern themselves just as much with being present and making sure they look busy as they do tending to their actual work responsibilities.

This isn't to suggest that ROWE would work in every industry. If you're an air traffic control officer or surgeon, being available and accountable at a precise hour (or minute or second, in many cases) is pretty damn important, and could mean the difference between life or death.

But in many professions (advertising? video game design? magazine editing?) does it really matter whether you complete your project at company headquarters at 3:00 on a Thursday afternoon or while sitting in your pajamas in your living room on a Wednesday morning? Should anyone care if you pop over to your kid's school in the middle of a weekday in between sessions of cranking out a design or proposal that helps your company land a big client?

It's time to throw out the Industrial Age model of tracking input and replace it with a system in which organizations trust employees to manage and devise their own workday -- as long as the work gets done.

Posted by Bryan on March 3, 2008 at 10:38 AM in The Daily Grind | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)