Resumes: Tell Your Story

Writing is an important career skill, especially in the digital age. It was especially critical while I was at Amazon. Business proposals, operating plans, career promotions and business reviews were all packed into dense but concise narratives.

At Amazon, a clear narrative helped leaders quickly understand a business, digest problems, and ultimately make decisions (here’s an interesting take from one of Amazon’s VP’s on the magic of their 6-pagers.)

Similarly, resumes are a form of business writing where what’s being presented is you and your narrative. Making a positive impression matters.

While there are more obvious do’s and don’ts like typos, great resumes waste little space in each bullet point when communicating a candidate’s impact. Like writing an Amazon-style business review, writing great bullet points leverages these fundamentals:

  • Speak to what was accomplished
  • Quantify the impact with metrics
  • Contextualize how something was accomplished

Consider the following examples:

  1. Revenue responsibility for an ecommerce business
  2. Grew revenue 80% YoY to $25M by expanding assortment and optimizing marketing campaigns

Which example makes a more meaningful impression on a resume?  

The focus on the accomplishing “80% YoY” growth makes the second example a more powerful statement. The additional detail of “$25M” helps the reader understand scale and significance. Finally, including the actions taken adds credibility by giving some insights on your strengths.

As you’re thinking about updating your resume, consider how you are telling your story and communicating your impact. If you need some ideas, see below for some real-life examples: 

Analysis Examples:

Before: Analyze data from sales portals to make better decisions

Suggested: Captured $25M in lost sales opportunity by analyzing data from sales portals

Commentary: Presenting that your analysis resulted in capturing lost sales demonstrate the effectiveness of your analysis.

 Before: Made recommendations to the sales and operations team regarding the improvement of customer service including process improvement                          

Suggested: Improved customer satisfaction 20% by recommending process improvements that were adopted by the sales and operations team                                   

Commentary:  Communicating the improvement in customer satisfaction demonstrates your ability to put forth meaningful recommendations and can build trust across an organization.

Customer Service Examples:

Before: Answered high-volume of calls on multi-line phones, handled customer issues, and gave great customer service with integrity and professionalism

Suggested: Achieved a 97% customer satisfaction rating by providing superior customer service in a high-volume call environment

Commentary: Adding your ability to maintain a high level of customer service communicates your ability to juggle multiple tasks without sacrificing quality.

Operations Examples:

Before: Created a database designed to track compliance

Suggested: Increased compliance rates 60% by creating a database that identified compliance opportunities

Commentary: Communicating that compliance rates increased demonstrates the impact of tools you implement.

Project Management Examples:

Before: Deployed 7 end-to-end releases.

Suggested: Delivered 7 releases to 15,000+ sellers and 5,000+ partners with requirements, usability studies, & testing

Commentary: Adding details of how many sellers and partners your releases demonstrates the scale and the complexity of the projects you were involved with.

 Before: Implemented an innovative discussion board

Suggested: Implemented an innovative discussion board to enable 10,000+ users to adopt an application in 3 months

Commentary: Communicating how quickly you were able to get users to adopt demonstrates your effectiveness to launch a new product.

Training Examples:

Before: Assisted with creating onboarding manuals for new hires

Suggested: Reduced new hire onboarding time 80% by creating onboarding manuals

Commentary: Presenting that you help save your organization time demonstrates your effectiveness in creating onboarding materials .

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