Resume Writing Tips for Service and Support Personnel

Although low-level workers and support personnel will never be able to claim that they "increased revenue 500 percent", there is much they can do to make their resume more powerful.  Since these workers are the ones who enable upper and mid-management to do what they do, their resumes should demonstrate that they are highly effective in their support roles.

Low-level workers and support personnel should avoid offering a boring list of job duties that are common to the particular field in which they work.  Instead, they should focus more on listing work experience and skills that are most beneficial to the employer, or that are not commonly performed by someone working in that position.  For example, everyone knows that a secretary types letters, answers the telephone, makes copies and files documents, therefore, she doesn't need to list this on her resume.  Instead, she should focus on what particular skills she has that another secretary might not have.  For example, an employer would want to know about the following skills and experience:

  • Has 15 years experience working in the construction industry
  • Can type 90 wpm without errors and do the work of two typists
  • Is an expert user of the entire suite of Microsoft Office applications
  • Has three years of experience supervising and training three junior clerks
  • Helped write the new employee personnel manual
  • Routinely composes correspondence for three managers
  • Makes travel arrangements for 10 sales people
  • Is in charge of arranging company meetings and the annual employee picnic
  • Does the payroll for a 20 person office
  • Completed workshops on payroll processing, employment law and office management
  • Selected the new office computer equipment
  • Is a notary public
  • Has always received an outstanding job performance
  • Is a graduate of the Acme Secretarial College

When writing your resume ask yourself, "How do your skills and experience help an employer in terms of profit?"

If you can, tell the reader how your particular skills and experience benefit an employer in terms of improving efficiency, saving time, reducing expenses, reducing turnover, increasing profit, streamlining operations, etc.,  and you will produce a much more powerful resume.  Use quantitative data (numbers) whenever possible to jazz up your resume.  Below are ways one can write job duties more powerfully.

Example 1 --
Before:  Maintain A/R and A/P
After:  Manage over 2000 A/R and A/P accounts; used Acme X software to design and implement new recordkeeping system that improved average accounts receivable collections cycle from 30 to 25 days

Example 2 --
Before:  Responsible for filing
After:  Manage and maintain files and filing system; designed and reorganized filing system allowing sales reps to locate files without assistance and significantly reduced number of lost and misplaced files

Example 3 --
Before:  Answer the telephone
After:  Answer more than 300 telephone calls per day for eight pharmaceutical sales reps using the Acme 5000 Deluxe Telephone System

Example 4 --
Before:  Type 90 wpm
After:  Type 90 wpm without errors; routinely do the work of two secretaries, help others complete typing assignments, and substitute for office staff on vacation or maternity leave

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