Challenge, Action, Results
One of the coolest things about overseeing our writing staff here at CareerPro Global is getting to listen and learn vicariously from their clients, even if I don’t work the individual directly.
For example, every writer on the staff sends me case studies on a periodic basis, telling me about a specific challenge they tackled with a recent client, and the actions they took, and the results or outcomes they achieved.
I then use the case studies to drive discussions and training during staff meetings, and to constantly revisit, refine, and tailor our resume writing and coaching strategies to meet each client’s unique career needs.
It’s a rewarding exercise, we learn from each other, while celebrating our client’s successes.
Here is one recent example from a Veteran we supported:
Challenge: As he finished his nearly 24-year career as a Senior Logistics Manager and Advisor in the U.S. Air Force in Germany and other international locations, my client sought a stateside position in the federal government where he could use his experience safely and efficiently moving materiel and personnel.
Action: I worked closely with the client to identify how core duties and accomplishments from his experience could transfer to several positions in the federal government, then developed a resume that highlighted both his logistics acumen and his leadership skills in various working environments. I also helped him gain a firm understanding of how to navigate the USAJobs website and application process.
Results: With this resume, in the first 45 days, the client received multiple job offers in the federal government. He was so happy to accept a GS-12 Logistics Management position and is already thinking about how to seek out career-broadening experience to update his resume and shoot for a GS-13 job next year.
I think this kind of individual support and our commitment to customer service are why CareerPro Global has become the trusted authority for federal resume, military transition resumes, senior executive and Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) writing and training services.
If you’d like to learn about us, or get a free consult about your next career move, visit www.careerproplus.com or call us at 800-471-9201.
Five Tips for Measuring and Recording Your SES Resume Achievements
If you’re reading this column, then you’ve probably already realized that federal/Senior Executive Service (SES) resumes are not known for their colorful format or visual appeal. Although this may be a general statement, it is clear from past successes that the federal government appreciates “no-fluff” resumes with very little formatting and a sharp focus on accomplishments.
Further, while it is nice in the corporate sector to use a resume that perhaps integrates a little bit of color or some graphs, those things should never be more important than your career accomplishments.
After all, what better way to market yourself than by focusing on the results you’ve been able to achieve? By doing so, you clearly demonstrate to potential employers that you’ve done this in the past, and have the skills to do it even better in the future.
Many people struggle with measuring and recording their achievements. Maybe they’re too humble, and more focused on the team than on themselves. Maybe they’re just too busy, and don’t want to take the time to develop an accomplishment-based resume. Whatever the case, many SES applicants simply use basic job descriptions on their resumes. Anyone can look up a basic position description and paste it into a resume, but this is not an effective approach—you can do better.
Resumes are often weakened by a lack of key achievements. Duties are your functions, and they can probably apply to anyone holding the same job title. It is certainly appropriate to include your duties in the resume, but you need to focus equally on your personal achievements for each position. The best way to do that is by using the Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) format. You may have already used this format for writing ECQ or TQ narratives, but it is also very effective when writing bullets or sentences for your SES resume.
When writing accomplishments in the CCAR format, follow these five tips to help ensure your accomplishments are clear, concise, and compelling:
- Balance humility and boldness. We’ve all seen those over-the-top resumes in which the applicant claims to be the “Best in the Universe.” Don’t be that person, but don’t be overly humble, either. An SES resume calls for bold (and true) claims about your visionary, results-driven, and relevant accomplishments, but you don’t want to go too far. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance.
- Quantify whenever possible. Sometimes an initiative is ongoing, or you may have improved the overall morale of a dysfunctional team through open communications and team building. But whenever possible, use dollar amounts, figures, and percentages to demonstrate the scope of your responsibilities. For example, you might write, “Planned, managed, and justified a $4M annual budget while supervising a multifunctional staff of 24 personnel.” Or, “Found inefficiencies in acquisition process, revamped process, and saved the organization $600K annually.”
- Use the last few rating cycles. To ensure you cite current accomplishments, you may want to review every achievement from your last couple of rating cycles. Next, you can pick and choose which ones to showcase in your resume.
- Draw parallels. Don’t make the reviewer feel like a puzzle master. Instead, make it easy for him/her to see the value you bring by creating parallels between the major duties in the vacancy announcement, and the things you’ve been doing in the last few years.
- Focus on challenges you’ve overcome. Too often, people overlook the challenges they’ve overcome in the workplace, but this is great content for your SES resume. In these unpredictable economic times, many of us have to perform our missions at work with limited resources, with budgetary or personnel constraints, and amid ongoing change(s). When you can still thrive and create results amid the chaos, you set yourself apart as a strong leader who can overcome and adapt.
Remember that an SES resume will contain a lot of personal information, such as job announcement number, email address, and education. Just as you try to align your team’s efforts with strategic objectives at work, in order to create a stellar SES resume, you should include specific and relevant accomplishments that are aligned with the duties and qualifications in the job announcement.