Go to Menu How To Build Value
On Your Resume

By Nick Corcodilos

Sales managers, more than managers in other corporate functions, are always reaching for the stars and asking one question: what are the early signs of a star performer? The closest I've seen anyone come to defining a "star" employee was when Dave Csira, VP of sales for a computer distributor, told me the three attributes he always looks for are enthusiasm, persistence and intelligence. I keep testing this combination and I find that this set of attributes seems to represent value better than any other, and not just in sales.

You can build value on your resume by focusing on developing these three attributes in yourself.

To me, your resume isn't on a piece of paper. It's in your actual work and in the outcome of that work. So, you build value on your resume by building value into the work you choose to do and in the ways you do it.

The first way to add value to your resume is to do work that you want to do. The consequences will show. Choices made with enthusiasm produce value because they draw out the best you have to offer. And that's what any employer is looking for.

Never take a job because it's there, or because the employer "bought" you with loads of money. Sure, you may do a good job, but unless your enthusiasm for the work, for your products, for your peers and for your customers "runneth over", you've left value on the table. You could have been doing something that revealed 110% of your talents, not just 100%. When you describe a past job to a prospective employer, your eyes should light up with passion. You should be able to describe it as an exploit and an adventure, not as just a job.

Persistence is the tool that turns a job into productive work. That's what you get paid for, and it's what a new employer buys when he hires you. It's what he looks for on your resume.

The only jobs that don't get done right are the ones people give up on. "It's too hard. No one can do it. It's never been done before. It won't work. No one will buy it." You build value on your resume by finding a way to do the job.

Being persistent often means transcending the job description and re-designing the work so you can achieve the goal. You see, jobs themselves don't matter. (That's why more of them are eliminated every day.) What matters is work that achieves a company's goals. Your first job is to re-design your work so that it will pay off. Make that achievement part of your resume.

The trouble with enthusiasm and persistence is, they're dumb attributes. You can jump up and down with glee and never stop, but you'll never produce anything worthwhile unless you are smart. You have to know which end is up, and you have to know s*** from shinola.

If your resume reveals one thing about you, it's the choices you've made. Choices about which companies to work for, which products to get behind, which solutions to champion, and which failures to learn from. These choices may seem minor when you're making each of them, but on your resume the picture of your intelligence crystallizes when your choices are suddenly summarized.

Your ability to build these kinds of "smarts" is largely a function of who you live and work with. Even the dumbest among us learn by rubbing elbows with the smartest. Does your resume show you've rubbed elbows with the best?

Add up enthusiasm, persistence and intelligence and you come up with accomplishments. But remember: accomplishments don't tell a story to an employer, they tell only the ending. The proof of your value lies in showing how you got there. When a prospective employer can see these three critical attributes, that's when he knows you can help him get there, too.

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