Describing the things that you've done on your resume

The Resume: Duties

by Stephen Baker

The dreaded duties section on the resume is here. Accomplishments and deriving a work history is easy. We can easily speak to those topics, but how does one describe what we had to do every day in a manner that someone will want to read? And "start with action verbs" does not necessary help. Here is where we take a different road, namely the road to success.

The Format:


  • Currently providing technology oversight of all IT stand up activities, including overseeing the development…
  • Provide leadership and development for the…
  • Own cost management including annual negotiations. Identify and manage cross P&L efforts to…
  • Engage sales, risk, and operations leadership to ensure cross-functional focus…
  • Act as a Change Agent within the IT New Business Program Division, systematically driving continuous improvement/change through out the business that enable the IT enterprise to respond to cost benefit opportunities. I set the pace of the change to drive business results.

The Basics (Shamelessly Borrowing):

  • Resume: Go to an Internet browser and search for "resume." You are going to look at the resume of people looking for the same kind of job you are and you will copy and paste sections of their duties into a word document. Industry executives are also a good place to look for ideas. From the executive resumes, you will know what that industry considers quality.
  • Job descriptions from the jobs you are seeking: As crazy as this may seem, the job descriptions of the jobs you are applying to offer perfect examples that can be adopted for your duties section. They have been lovingly crafted by HR professionals, which are the same people who decide if you get an interview. Copy and paste them into a word document for later viewing.
  • Industry associations: These groups talk incessantly about the direction of their industry, latest trends, current challenges, and training opportunities. This data provides excellent feedback on how your resume, specifically your work duties, line up with what is being sought in this industry. This is a judgment call. In some cases, I have seen that this research has added value to my resume, and in other cases, I was able to answer some otherwise killer interview questions with confidence.

Stephen Baker is a Program Director with 15 years of experience in the Fortune500. Over the years, he has been on both sides of the job hunt and offers straight advice on improving one's chances with getting that first interview. You can find more of Stephen's work at The Topeka Examiner.

Take the Next Step:

  • For more on finding a job and writing a winning resume, please click here.

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