Too many of us have never been taught how to write interview generating resumes. Until reality shows us otherwise, we tend to think that all we need is our contact information, the title of the job we are applying for, a list of previous jobs and an outline of the responsibilities that we carried out at each one.

And this is what 95% of resumes written look like.

But Human Resource professionals have been telling us for years that they reject 95% of all resumes they receive. The reason is simple. Nothing in this kind of resume tells a hiring manager why we should be hired over somebody else who has done the same kind of job with approximately the same responsibilities. So if we have to look for a job, our first challenge is this: How do we make sure our resume stands out from the crowd? How can we give a manager a reason to hire us instead of somebody else with a similar background?

Two simple changes, one small and one big, can make all the difference.

The small change is all about appearance. And I’ll talk about resume appearance in another article. But even if our resume has no formatting or spelling errors that’s not enough: it only means that we won’t be screened out because of those errors. But it’s not good enough to avoid being screened out for mistakes. We need to be screened in, selected, and most important, we need to get interviewed. To make that happen is where the big change comes in.

We need to add a CAR collection to our resume.

No, I’m not taking about Hondas, Toyotas or Fords. I’m talking about telling prospective managers about some of the things we did that helped our employers accomplish key business goals. If we describe these achievements in terms of the Challenges we faced, the Actions we took to meet those challenges and the Results that followed our Actions, we are providing prospective managers with pictures of us at work. If they see us meeting challenges at a former or current company that they know we will face at their own company, they will know that we are people they need to talk to – right now!

So how do we do this?

First, we need to articulate our organization’s key goals. If we are sales staff at a shoe store, selling shoes is what it’s all about, if we are project managers at an engineering firm, delivering projects that do what the client specified, at the agreed on time, for the agreed is the goal of all our efforts. Our first priority is to create accomplishment statements showing that we provide major assistance to reaching those key goals.

So the shoe salesman should include a couple of bullets stating that he:
• Won employer’s 2006 Top Sales award.
• Met or beat quota consistently and was Top 5 salesman over five years.

A project manager can say something like:
– Managed on-time and under-budget delivery of $26M Signal Control Centre and Simulation System project for London Underground (LUL) Jubilee Line. Personally devised successful substitute control centre solution saving delivery date when subcontractor failed to provide on-time delivery. Innovation crucial for winning further multi-M LUL contracts.

Let’s take a look at how this statement is put together. It begins with a pair of verbal statements showing that this engineer managed a major project to an on-time and under-budget conclusion and he also provided the solution to a major crisis. Finally it mentions the successful results of his actions. Another big plus is that this writer provides the context of his achievement when he mentions the value of the project and the multi million dollar results that flowed from his intervention.

We need to write accomplishment statements similar to the above for every qualification or desirable attribute mentioned by the job ads we apply to. If we don’t have every skill or attribute mentioned, often mentioning equivalent or similar skills will do. A computer software engineer might mention his experience with MicrosoftSQL as it is similar to the MySQL knowledge the ad asks for. If we make a habit of providing a CAR statement for every skill and attribute the job ads ask for, soon our phones will start ringing off the hook.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Cunningham, CPRW ( is the Vancouver, BC based Founder and Principal Writer of Fast & Focused Resume Service.