What to Include in Your Résumé

In my previous post, I wrote about how your résumé should look, and this post I will share what you should include in your résumé to increase your odds of getting an interview.

I mentioned in my previous post that I had the most duties for positions that didn’t require my education, except when I was a student teacher.  For instance, when I briefly worked at a flower shop, these 28 duties are what I remember:

  • Customer service/sales
    1. Took phone, in-person, and online orders
    2. Input in-person orders into computer program 
    3. Printed orders for floral designers (so they know which arrangement to make)
    4. Recommended arrangements
    5. Got flowers and wrapped them for customers
    6. Complimentary cards and paid-for cards
    7. Notified customers of the Buy-5-get-the-6th-free card
    8. Transactions for purchase
    9. Blew Mylar balloons with helium tank and tied them
  • Flower/plant care
    1. Stripped flowers (removed thorns and leaves from flowers)
    2. Restocked flowers in their buckets for purchase
    3. Checked flowers for slimy feeling at the bottom of the stem and trimmed them
    4. Changed the water in the vases and buckets where like-flowers were stored for purchase
    5. Removed dying petals and leaves
    6. Cut dying tips of plant leaves (ex. calla lily)
    7. Watered plants
    8. Made plants (mainly orchids)
  • Vases
    1. Tied ribbons (and hot glued some) and raffia to vases in preparation for Valentine’s Day
    2. Inserted green ribbon and wet green foam thing into short square and round vases
    3. Brought shipments of vases into the store and inspected them for defects (chipped vases were sent back)
    4. Whenever one of the owners was moving the vases to a different part of the store (for display), I helped moved them (she would be spontaneous about moving them)
  • Maintenance
    1. Took the trash out of the bathroom
    2. Dumped trash (from bathroom, flower/stem discards, food, etc.) into the dumpster; dumped recycleables into recycleables dumpster
    3. Swept and mopped the store
    4. Cleaned mats behind the counters/work tables (counters are tall, the mats help with height)
    5. Cleaned buckets
  • Miscellaneous
    1. Counted money in the register and locked the doors (I closed)
    2. Sprayed certain flowers with spray paint for flowers so they’re the “right” color (if the arrangement sold had red flowers and the store only had white, I’d spray some of the white to red, so customers are getting what they saw)

Tailor your résumé for the position.  For whatever position you’re applying for, you want to put the duties/experience that are relevant to the position, and skills that are transferrable.

I’ve chosen my career as a teacher.  I’m still looking for teacher positions, but in the meantime, I’m applying to tutoring positions (more and easier to get since I have a teaching credential).  In either position, I include my time working at the flower shop, and I only put 4 things:

  1. Provided great customer service – I’ll speak nicely to people (boss, staff, students, parents, guest speakers, etc.)
  2. Handled orders – I’m organized, I’m familiar with paperwork, details, and data entry
  3. Cared for flowers – I’m nurturing, I’ll care about my students, and I did more than the title of sales/customer service associate I gave myself
  4. Miscellaneous duties – My boss doesn’t need to know that I took out the trash because schools have custodians; my boss doesn’t need to know I planted orchids because I won’t be planting orchids; etc.

Lift words and phrases mentioned in the job post and paste them into your résumé, but DON’T LIE.  Hiring managers/employers who post job ads include ideal worker traits and responsibilities, so they’re scanning for people with all of their requirements.  For instance, if a job post for a sales position said,

Looking for a charismatic and loyal team member who provides excellent customer service.  Duties include returning clothes on the rack, being a personalized shopper, changing price signs on sale and non-sale racks, styling outfits for mannequins, operating cash register and credit card transactions, maintaining the store once a week (store and restroom), and duties assigned by manager.

You can put the traits into your mission or goal statement – I’m a charismatic and loyal team member who strives to provide excellent customer service.  (Mission/goal statement is placed under your contact info. and above your first header.)  See how I almost quoted the first sentence of the job post?

Under your Work Experience header, list duties/skills/experience that the ad specifically wanted the applicant to possess –

  • Returning clothes on the rack → Returned vases to their shelves
  • Being a personalized shopper → Personalized bouquets
  • Being a personalized shopper → Recommended arrangements for each customer
  • Changing price signs on sale and non-sale racks → Changed price signs for flowers as big holidays approached and passed
  • Operating cash register and credit card transactions → Operated the cash register and credit card transactions
  • Maintaining the store once a week (store and restroom) → Maintained the store by sweeping, mopping, and taking out the trash
  • Duties assigned by manager → Performed miscellaneous duties assigned by owners

There’s another formula on what to include = at _business/place_, I did _x_ which accomplished _y_ or resulted in _y_.  I see this is effective if you’re applying for a sales or marketing position, a position high up in the business, or a position where the bottom line really matters, or requesting a promotion.

Let’s say I’m a waitress and requesting a promotion to be an Assistant Manager.  This is a small business and I will be assistant manager, which means I get more money for more responsibilities.

Waitress at A Quirky Diner, January 2012 – Present

  • Provided excellent customer service to retain regulars and gain new regulars
  • Created Friday on Us, which increased sales by 15% and increased profits by 20% in the last quarter
  • Covered everyone’s shift at least 3 times in the last 5 years, which resulted in knowing everyone and their responsibilities
  • Built a rapport with all employees which will increase efficiency
  • Took classes on being the best manager at the Local Community College, which will be put into use

I started with the most important thing first for the boss – money.  You can’t make money without customers.  Also by introducing a marketing strategy, the business is making more money from selling coffee.  By having a decent work history with the Diner, it shows I’m loyal to the Diner, I’m a team player to get the Diner through days when it’s short-staffed, and I know how to run the Diner.  By building a rapport with all employees and taking classes at the local community college, I’ll treat the employees well which will result in more employee satisfaction, which will result greater efficiency at work.  To sum up, I’m doing all the groundwork to prove that I can be a manager.

People who are doing the hiring are scanning your résumé for the words and phrases they’re looking for.  If you make it easy for them and paste those in, you have a greater chance at getting an interview, so you want to tailor your résumé so it’s the applicant they’re looking for.  Good luck out there!


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