The True Story of a Resume Transformation

TransformFor every position they post, recruiters are faced with an onslaught of hundreds (if not more) resumes. Your resume has just a few seconds to stand out, and to sell you as better than your competition.

The following is a case study, a true story of working with a student one-on-one, that demonstrates how to transform your resume from “plain vanilla” to a compelling marketing document.


College junior (“Joe”) currently working in a supervisory role in a sandwich shop.

Original Resume:

Described role with one bullet point:

  • Supervisor: Make customized sandwich orders and handle cash sales

Feedback Session:

It is important to highlight accomplishments on a resume, and not just list your job duties. If you work in a sandwich shop, hiring managers will know you “made sandwiches” and that you kept the counters clean and provided superior customer service. What they really want to know is how you added value to the business.

To determine what Joe is achieving as a supervisor, and what value he is bringing to the business, I asked several questions such as:

  • Tell me more about being a supervisor
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What results do you think you’ve had an impact on?
  • What has the owner/manager complimented you on?
  • Tell me about the suggestions for improvement you’ve made to the owner.
  • What contributions did you make to sales, cost reduction, process improvement or customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction?


Upon reflecting, Joe realized that he had made several suggestions to the owner about carrying broader assortments of accessory products, and placing products in certain locations to stimulate impulse purchases. Also, the owner always complimented him on his ability to sell additional items.

Updated Resume:

With the “accomplishment” perspective in mind, Joe revised the description of the supervisory role in the sandwich shop in this way:

  • Expanded product offerings resulting in increased sales
  • Reorganized product displays to increase impulse purchases of desserts
  • Recognized by owner for being a top up-seller, resulting in increased revenues for accessory items
  • Manage store operations; resolve employee questions and concerns which has improved employee morale.

Note the use of action verbs: expand, reorganize, increase, manage, and resolve. In addition to highlighting accomplishments, it’s important to use the strongest possible action verbs.

Next Steps:

I suggested to Joe that he ask the sandwich shop owner if she could provide some sales data to him, so he could specifically document the increases in sales from expanding the product line and re-merchandising the desserts. As it is, his resume is much stronger with the four new bullet points, but it will be even stronger if he can cite specific sales increase percentages.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Rich Careers!



Rich Grant AuthorAbout the Author: Rich Grant has a background in higher education and most recently was the director of career services at a four-year college in Maine. Currently, Rich is filling a temporary role as a career advisor and internship coordinator and serves as the president of two professional associations. Find Rich on LinkedIn and Twitter, and check out his blog where he frequently imparts words of wisdom. Comments, complaints, jokes and legal notices can be sent to


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