Job Search Checklist #16: Lose Your Job Responsibilities

Dec 18 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

best career advice, best job search information, career advice, job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career information, career help, career tips, career info, job search info

Does your resume focus on your responsibilities or on the value you’ve provided to past employers?

Which do you think presents you in a stronger light?

Can you even tell if your resume is focused on responsibilities or if it directs your reader to the value you’ve delivered?

Here’s 3 ways to tell if your resume is focused on responsibilities:

Right after listing employer and title, you:

  • Describe your job (or company) in a paragraph
  • List bullets starting with the words:
    • Responsible for
    • Led
    • Managed
    • Supported
    • Liased
  • You fail to describe how successful you were – not just accomplishments, but the value those created for your employer.

So let’s assume that your resume is like 99% of resumes that focus on responsibilities. Why should you change your focus? After all, if it’s good enough for all those other people, why isn’t it good enough for you?

Here’s 4 reasons to lose your job responsibilities:

  1. Your resume isn’t a time sheet nor a diary: Your resume is a marketing document. Your readers expect that you’re using it to describe yourself at your best. Hiring managers compare your resume to your competitors, assuming both describe candidates at their best. When you describe yourself on an average day, you describe yourself at your average but are being compared to others at their best. How are you going to win a job this way?
  2. Responsibilities paint you as a commodity candidate:Your job responsibilities describe your work on a day-to-day basis, on an average day. When your reader’s attention is focused on an average day, how will she be able to tell you’re a superior candidate … when you’re selling yourself at your average. When you sell yourself at your average you look just like all the other average candidates who focus on responsibilities … a commodity.
  3. Your resume has already been pre-screened 2-5 times before the hiring manager sees it: The reason you were taught to write a responsibilities based resume was because there were shortages of skilled candidates. Post-2007, we’ve got the opposite job market … a market of job shortages, not candidate shortages. Now that most all employers have the ability to pre-screen for skills through applicant tracking systems and between 2-5 pre-screening steps total, hiring managers can be confident that the resumes they receive meet all or most of the minimum criteria set. So why would a hiring manager focus on basic skills, when he knows the resumes he gets have already been pre-screened for basic skills? They don’t – instead, hiring managers focus on finding a superior candidate.
  4. During job shortages, hiring managers look for superior candidates: … Because they can and because they have to find superior candidates to meet their goals. During job shortages, hiring managers are being asked to “do more with less”, to achieve high results with fewer resources. The only way a hiring manger can meet aggressive goals with fewer people is to hire superior candidates … candidates who have already solved similar problems to the hiring manager’s priority issues. This is why career changers have a tough time in today’s job market – because you’re competing with others who have already solved the problems a hiring manager faces today. Hiring managers aren’t focused on your basic skills or responsibilities. Instead, hiring managers are focused on finding the applicants who can hit the ground running, with little or no training/ramp-up time, who have already solved similar problems to the priorities of today, because those applicants have the greatest chance of success … to help the hiring manager meet her goals.

So now that you can see how hiring managers view responsibilities, what will you do?

Leave your resume as is, because it’s good enough as is?

Or refuse to be viewed as a commodity and realize that it’s time to differentiate yourself from the other 99% of your competition?


Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at .

Available Now On Amazon: Job Search Secrets - Rethink Your Job Search Now, By Phil Rosenberg

Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

Download Job Search Secrets on Amazon

Join our mailing list for newsletters, announcements of complimentary upcoming webinars and other job search resources. Sign up at

For access to more information:
Connect to Phil Rosenberg on Linkedin:
Follow reCareered on Linkedin:
Like reCareered on Facebook:
Follow Phil Rosenberg on Google+:
Follow reCareered on Twitter:
Join Career Change Central on Linkedin:

Author: Phil Rosenberg

You might also like

Don’t Focus Your Resume On Your Responsibilities We were taught how to write a resume that focused on our responsibilities. This is traditional...
What Your Next Employer Is Looking For – Part 2 This is part 2 of a series covering basic things employers look for in applicants. While every job,...
Branding Value vs Skills I'm proud to have been named a weekly columnist of Personal Branding Blog. I will be republishing...
Job Search Checklist #17: Employer Value Statements It's critical to understand and include employer value statements in your resume today. Employer...