Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » So … What Did You Actually Do?

When I tell people that I’m a resume writer, some assume that I work with a lot of candidates who need assistance embellishing their resumes.  In actuality, this is almost never the case.  Many of our clients are highly educated professionals who have so much work experience that they can’t figure out where to start when it comes to writing their resumes.  While this is definitely a good problem to have, I see experienced candidates make the same mistake again and again on their resumes.  They get so caught up in describing all the facets of their jobs that they forget to explain one very important thing: What do they actually do?

No matter how far your career has progressed, you should be able to succinctly sum up what you do every day for anyone who asks.  Furthermore, you should be able to summarize in a sentence or two every position you’ve ever held; and that information should be spelled out on your resume.  The bullet points showing your achievements won’t impress anyone until they fundamentally understand the nature of the job you held.

For example, a CFO wouldn’t meet someone at a cocktail party and say, “I structure the overall budget for my company, oversee our compliance with SEC filings, manage the entire internal audit process, and ensure our stock continues to produce a profitable dividend for our shareholders.”  He would simply say, “I manage all the financial operations for XYZ company.”  Then, if it made sense in the context of the conversation, they would provide more details.

When writing your resume, diving right into the details without offering a summary is equally illogical.  Therefore, as you’re outlining your previous history, make sure that you’re offering the reader a very broad summary of the nature and purpose of your position—before you start bombarding them with all your impressive accomplishments!


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Mark Dyson on January 22, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Succinct post. I agree without providing context diminishes the appreciation the reader has for a candidate’s ability to communicate problem solving and establish credible accomplishments. A great summary unleashes the candidate’s superpowers.

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