When you write your resume, your objective is to stand out among the competition and demonstrate your ability to meet the needs of employers. The TASK factor is an acronym that outlines practical techniques for you to use to achieve this goal.
What is the TASK factor? In short, it stands for tailored content, accomplishments, specific details and keywords. Read on to learn more about how you can utilize this strategy in your own resume-writing.
Before: Generic headings and useless skills
After: Attention-grabbing headings and skills
When it comes to describing your experience, you might be tempted to cut and paste your current job description into your resume. If you do so, however, you may be including skills that hold no value you to your readers. An obvious example will illustrate this. Let’s say you worked at Subway as a Sandwich artist. You might state on your resume that you made sandwiches. If I had to guess, however, you probably will not be performing this task in your next position. Therefore, you should not include it in your resume.
Emphasize transferrable skills instead. Perhaps you mention that you worked in a fast-paced environment that required you to multi-task or that you built rapport quickly to generate sales. Only include the tasks that relate to the position you are seeking.
Align your headers with the job description. For example, everyone has a work history. Define your brand and grab the attention of your readers by qualifying your experience. Maybe you use “Marketing Experience” if you are seeking a position with an advertising firm. If you have recently entered a field and have not yet acquired enough experience for a standalone section, break your experience into two sections: one that is branded according to the job description and a second “related experience” section.
Before: Activities, Attributes and Features
After: Accomplishments, Evidence and Benefits
Focus on accomplishments instead of activities. If you want to grab the attention of your readers and separate yourself from you peers, demonstrate that you not only completed the tasks on your resume, but that you also excelled at them. Describe an award that you won, a challenge you overcame or a new initiative that you launched.
Provide evidence instead of attributes. Many people use words such as “hard working” and “effective communicator” to describe themselves. These are empty statements. Anyone can say that they work hard. Earn credibility by showing instead of telling. For example, if you suspect that they desire a strong work ethic, you could provide evidence by stating, “During my annual appraisal, my supervisor described me as. . ..” Perhaps you demonstrated your work ethic by juggling a part-time job and a leadership position on campus in addition to pursuing a rigorous course load. Maybe you point to a perfect attendance award or the fact that you were asked by your supervisor to train others as the result of your leadership. Framing your experience in this context will prove your qualifications for the position.
Emphasize benefits instead of features. If you do not emphasize results, your accomplishments and evidence may become empty features. Captivate your readers by demonstrating the value you will bring to their organization. For example, if you are pursuing a human resources career, you could state the following: “Contributed to a 15 percent increase in employee retention by launching a new orientation program.” Your readers also want to increase their retention, so this will captivate them.
You can identify your accomplishments by asking yourself the following questions:
- How have you improved the organizations with which you have been involved?
- How is success defined and measured in your field? Is it patient satisfaction, employee retention, or annual sales? Become familiar with the performance metrics for your field, organization and department.
- Why did you perform a specific activity? What were you hoping to achieve? For example, if you developed a database for an organization, how did the company benefit from it? Did it increase efficiency, save revenue or improve customer satisfaction?
Before: Weak Words and Vague Statements
After: Strong Action Verbs and Concrete Details
Include specific details to convey the relevance and extent of your achievements. Numbers are often helpful. For example, if you administered medication, say how often and to whom. A powerful picture immediately comes to mind if you say you administered medication to 60+ children four times a day.
Convey action with strong verbs. Eliminate vague words such as helped, assisted, and responsible for. Replace these weak words with action verbs. View a list of muscle resume words.
Keywords often reflect trends or best practices in the field. They are especially important if you are seeking a federal government position or applying at a large organization that may scan your resume due to the large volume of applications that they received. Learn more about scanning resumes.
You can locate keywords in the job description or company website. If you are still struggling, search for similar vacancies and review their position descriptions. OOH and O*Net will also give you a sense of the knowledge, skills and abilities that are needed. If you still feel stuck, review the publications or professional associations for your field.
Pam Dixon in Job Searching Online for Dummies suggest including keywords in your professional summary, skills section or experience. Here are two examples.
|Award-winning corporate controller with more than ten years of experience in two $500 million corporations. Impressive record in implementing financial record database architecture that saved over $2 million annually. Proficient in Oracle, Prism, Red Brick, and SAP systems, as well as MS Project, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and FrontPage.|
|SKILLS:||Languages: C, SQL, C++, Assembler, Pascal
Software: Oracle Developer 2000, Informix NewEra, FoxPro
OS: UNIX, Windows NT/95/3.11, MS-DOS
RDBMS: Oracle7, Informix 7
Image Source: stock.xchnge