When writing a résumé, eliminate the obvious. If you were a server, for example, you had customer interaction, multi-tasked, took orders with accuracy, delivered in a timely manner, blah, blah, blah. That is great, but it is already implied. It does not matter if the description looks short or the job seems insignificant. Better words, not more words, will benefit your credibility.
To describe a job or other experience, include accomplishments, impact, acts of initiative, and leadership roles. Insert quantifiable measures wherever possible, even if they are merely reasonable estimates (e.g. doubled recruits). Depending on the field, specific skills may be appropriate to name, such as using computer applications. Other notable traits may appear in a profile or skills summary. Use action words to depict your assets with authority and richness.
Hold the description to three or four bullets. If you can describe an experience effectively in two bullets, save the reader time and leave it at two. If you absolutely need to make more points, contain yourself to six of them.
Remember that you describe the experience. The “job description” does not illustrate your experience. Define your impact and you define yourself as an employee.
For example, a front desk clerk makes appointments, fields calls, solves problems, and assists customers, but perhaps the way you did it improved the process and, as a result, everything flowed more smoothly. The number off appointments missed dropped. More clients invited friends, family, and coworkers. Your employers were able to focus more on their work than fixing organizational issues.
Front Desk, Mr. Dentist’s Office, City, ST Month YYYY – Month YYYY
• Fine-tuned appointment process to increase productivity, user-friendliness, and follow through, resulting in 40% fewer missed appointments and smoother scheduling
• Invited clients to recommend business; 8 new clients attended first appointments by referral, numerous reporting service and convenience as incentive
• Employed Microsoft Excel and Access to track clients’ insurance and payments
Note the action words craftily peppered in there: fine-tuned, increased and invited–aka accomplishment, impact, initiative, and leadership. If you are having trouble seeing the leadership aspect in there, consider that this clerk Jedi-manned that mothafluffing front desk with efficiency and a commanding presence. Was it like Professor Dumbledore quietly commanding authority at his podium every day? No. Are we putting glitter and mascara on this job description to enhance its features? Yes. Are we lying? Absolutely not.
Note the achievements: increased three functions, fewer missed appointments, smoother scheduling, and new clients came for the service and convenience of which this clerk played a large role. Careful wording described the achievements. Numerical measures demonstrated the degree of impact. Descriptive estimates, such as “smoother” and “numerous,” filled in where measures were not available. It is not as if this clerk stop-watched how closely appointments adhered to the scheduled times; “smoother” will do, especially if his or her reference can attest to it.