The impacts you make in your career should be summarized into concise bullet points on your resume.
If your bullet points aren’t telling the story you want, ask yourself why.
Gaps are typically either a lack of personal leadership/initiative or a lack of opportunity.
What is My Professional Value?
Your professional value is communicated through your conversations, word-of-mouth, the quality of your work, and what you write on your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and other personal marketing materials.
For your written materials, bullet points are the sound bites, encapsulating what you’ve done. In one to three lines per bullet, your professional contributions and impact are described.
The intent of each bullet point on a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile is to communicate your capabilities and potential through what you’ve experienced and accomplished. Examples include:
The impact of projects and initiatives
Meeting or exceeding KPIs and standards
Creating and improving processes
Developing new solutions
Responding to a crisis
Your impact on your team and individual team members
How you’ve exhibited and leveraged key competencies
If you are a leader, the role you’ve played in leading growth
The bullet points describe and sell your accomplishments, impacts and how you generated positive results. Each boils down to:
What difference are you making?
What positive results have you generated?
Reflecting on these questions can offer valuable insight into two key areas of your professional journey; your level of personal leadership and the quality of your current job.
Personal Leadership: Do I Step Up?
To what extent are you acting, behaving, leading and getting in the mix so that you are making your mark to make a difference?
How well are you performing? Are you a source of solutions or problems? Are you taking advantage of the opportunities to lead, to shake things up, to step up? To what extent are you positively impacting people, processes, products, customers and financial and organizational health?
Don’t be a bystander. The starting point for a strong career is the inner fire you bring to your assignments. Make sure that you are making things happen.
Your work should leave positive tracks.
Current Job: How Much Opportunity is There?
To what extent is your current job/role allowing you to create these accomplishments and generate compelling bullet points?
Do you have the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways and generate positive results for your department, organization, and customers?
If your immediate response is “no”, ask yourself, “why not?” Is it just the job, or have you possibly stepped back, given in, or resigned yourself to playing it safe in response to constraints?
Constraints can involve how your role is defined, the leadership style of your manager, the organization’s culture, the state of the department, business, and industry, as well as the confidence and trust people have in you.
If, after self-examination, you determine that you are blocked, then it might be time to consider a career move.
Generate Bullet Points
Developing your market power and a healthy career involves building blocks of increasing accomplishment, learning, and contribution. In the big scheme of things, you don’t have that many roles to play with–you have to make each count!
The quality of your experience determines your degree of choice for your next job.
If you don’t have the bullet points you want, is it a matter of personal leadership or is it a lack of opportunity available in your current role?
Reflection Questions for You
Let’s put this into action. In your current and/or most recent role, reflect on the following:
What difference are you making? How?
What positive results have you generated?
To what extent do you have the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways and generate positive results for your department, organization, and customers?
If not, why not?
This is a core exercise that professionals should go through at regular intervals. If you haven’t thought about this in a while, consider doing so.
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