Article, The Magic Formula for the Professional Experience Section :

Resume Writing: The Magic Formula for the Professional Experience Section
Ian Christie

Okay, maybe it isn’t really magic. But it does make an unfocused resume really impressive.

The Problem

The average resume’s professional experience section isn’t very focused. Certainly, you want to write about the organization you worked for, what your role was and what you accomplished. The question is, when you do this, does the result really demonstrate what you can do? If you answered “no,” read on.

The Solution:

It is actually very simple in concept. Where possible, describe the jobs you have held as well as the significant and specific accomplishments while in that job with the following formula:

Challenge: What was the situation? It may have been assigned to you (the mandate of the job, a project), or it may have arisen naturally (an opportunity, a crisis).

Action: What did you do to address the challenge? Specific tasks, or more conceptually, a strategy or course of action.

Result: What positive outcome did you create as a result of your actions? The more tangible the better.

The trick is to do this usually in 1-3 well-crafted sentences. Of course, this looks like a behavioural interview question response, and that’s the point. PROOF.

If you want your resume to stand out and get noticed, then show them the proof. If you are a top-notch sales person, give them proof. A great leader? Show them how your leadership has generated winning results.

The problem with listing job responsibilities and accomplishments is that you are missing the vital connection. Tying what you achieved to specific challenges generates a compelling picture of you as someone who gets results. And, hiring executives and headhunters like interviewing people that generate the right results. There is the magic.


Ian Christie is president of, a Vancouver-based career services firm focused on assisting managers, executives and other professionals with career coaching, job search and career marketing, resume writing, interview prep and career change.


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