I think we agree that your name and contact information are the most important pieces of resume content you have.
So let’s talk this week about the next most – the stuff employers really want to know. I call this information your EARS, which stands for Experiences, Accomplishments, Results, and Solutions
Too many people focus their content on a different kind of content that is a close cousin, called “duties.” Don’t get me wrong, duties and responsibilities are the necessary part of what you do. The problem is they are not usually all that unique and don’t provide the employer with an expectation of how great you are.
If you are simply listing tasks and duties, how are you distinguishing yourself? The goal with your resume is to share with employers ways in which you are different or unique. Instead of explaining what you do, explain how well you did it.
Creating EARS Resume Content
I know it’s easy to wrap yourself up in the day-to-day routine of your job and not even think about how well you are actually doing it. But you really owe it to your career to track your EARS. They are the lifeblood of great resume content and a bridge to your next job.
So, as I have said in previous articles, keep an accomplishments journal where you can document your experiences, accomplishments, results and solutions. Make it a priority and goal to record things on a regular basis. I will let you determine what regular means, but I think if you are doing it once a month you may be forgetting some things and/or some rich detail.
EARS not only make for great resume content, they also prep you for job interviews. In job interviews you have a better opportunity to provide the depth and breadth of your EARS, demonstrating once again how great you are.
Breaking Down the EARS
Every day at work you are having experiences. Often, we discount them as incidental occurrences that don’t mean much. And, yes, some are routine and pretty unspectacular. But watch for experiences that are unique. Maybe it’s an overly-anxious patient or an angry patient, or a mother who insists on holding her baby during an exam. How did you handle the situation?
How you handled it helps shape your personal brand and gives you some great interview and resume content. For example, include a line in your resume about your “uniquely skilled at educating patients about good at-home oral health care.” Then, in your job interview, give the employer specifics of your “unique” approach and how it’s worked.
I have noticed over the years that lots of people have great resume content that falls under the category of acknowledgments or accomplishments. But they are often earned and given while you are in college. This includes scholarships, academic success (such as earning a spot on the Dean’s list), or perhaps awards like Hue-Friedy’s “Golden Scaler Award.”
Those are great and deserve a spot on your resume, at least for the first several years you are out of sch00l (if not longer). But I hope your desire for achievement extends to your professional life. College awards and honors are more frequent, but there are other ways to be accomplished.
Many of you get extra training above and beyond what is required. That’s a noteworthy accomplishment and shows that you constantly strive to improve (a skill employers want). I have a few clients who are writing articles for trade publications about subjects they are passionate about. That, too, is great resume content.
Others get involved in their local association on a leadership level or by performing all kinds of great community service. These have merit and value, so find opportunities to do things outside your day-to-day job and add them to your list of accomplishments.
Still others take on special projects or initiatives to recruit new business or perform community outreach.
Results and Solutions
I know some of you detest the thoughts of numbers, such as production figures. However, it is a fact that employers need sufficient production numbers to keep their doors open (and you employed). I believe strongly that taking care of the patients first will naturally result in great revenues and production.
Money can become the focus for some employers, and so you want to watch for that as a red flag. Whenever that happens, I would contend that the business will never reach it’s potential because the patient has to come first. Consider finding a practice more aligned with your professional values.
With that in mind, however, production goals and numbers do serve a useful purpose in helping patients achieve the best oral health. You aren’t selling snake oil, you are selling them on habits and products that will quite literally save their life.
Results and solutions you get are highly-influential resume content. Most offices have goals. Did you reach your personal goals (or even team goals)? Was it your idea to save a few thousand dollars on supply management? Did you introduce a recall program that improved retention rates? This is all great content to share.
Some results and solutions are more patient specific, but just as powerful so tell those stories, also. A couple of common examples might be the detection of cancerous growth or perhaps helping a patient with tobacco cessation.
Don’t feel bad if you have yet to launch into the tracking of your EARS, but start soon. EARS resume content is a lot of what employers are looking for and you probably have a lot of it. Certainly enough to land a great job.
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.