Steve Marks is University Recruiter at Indeed. Steve has spent nearly a decade in the entertainment industry, where he helped students get jobs and reach their potential in Art, Technology, and Business. With a passion for making the early career search a little less scary, Steve has traveled to colleges and universities across the country to provide guidance and assistants to students and faculty. Here, he shares the WHO Method to help new jobseekers struggling with building a resume. When creating resume bullets, most jobseekers are putting only a brief summary of the job requirements and duties under their experience. While this is helpful, as a jobseeker you are likely to be applying alongside others with similar job experience and skill sets. So how do you differentiate yourself and your amazing abilities from everyone else?

One easy way to approach bullet building is by using the WHO Method. WHO is a simple acronym to think about when you are building, adding or removing resume bullets. To use WHO, just ask yourself if the bullet you’ve created contains the following:

W – WHAT did you do (this is the specific task or job you completed)

H – HOW did you do it (this can either be a technical skill, like software or machinery…but it can also be SOFT skills, which will go far to tell us how you specifically approached your job)

O – OUTCOME — What was the positive outcome that resulted from you doing the job the way you did? This can be a quantifiable outcome, such as increasing revenue or decreasing time in a process, but it can also be Environmental, or just how you contributed positively to the team.

Once you evaluate your bullets from a WHO perspective, you’ll find that you can say a lot more about yourself and your eligibility for a role than you can with just a simple description.

So, let’s use the WHO method!

W – What did you do?  

Okay, so you’ve told me about the job requirements/day-to-day activities already, that’s great!  In these instances, volume and other contextual information can be helpful. Telling me how many people your project affected or the size of the team you worked on tells me what type of professional environment you’re used to.

If you find that adding context makes things too long, see if there are specific things you’re listing about the job that are unnecessary. You can always condense!

H – How did you do it?

Well, in some instances there may be industry standard software that will help in a job. This won’t always be the case, or in some cases maybe you’ve already displayed your proficiency with those skills. When that happens, you can also talk about Soft Skills that you use for this task. Many job descriptions will list desired soft skills specifically, but for most jobs, things like “organization”, “time management”, “attention to detail” and “communication” are important to any role. This is great! Identifying 1-2 hard or soft skills per bullett and adding them to our WHAT statement, we’re now two-thirds of the way done, with you telling me What you did and How you did it.

That’s awesome! Now I see what you’ve done, but I also see the skills you are identifying in action rather than sitting in a list somewhere. Now, even if I don’t need someone to do exactly what you did in your previous role, I know what types of skills you’d apply to other projects as well. This may not guarantee you move forward, but it’s going to give your recruiter more to work with.

But remember, we want to know why you are the BEST person for this job, so don’t be afraid to pepper in some strong positive words! Tell me you have “great organization” or how you accomplished something “using clear communication”.

Now we’re getting somewhere!

O – What was the outcome?

Maybe in a job like this you have done something that improved a process directly. This is a quantifiable outcome. Do you know how much time you saved? If the job you did saved money or made money for the company? If the answer is yes, these are great things to tell us!

But if you don’t know the numbers? You can still tell me about it environmentally. How did the way you did your job affect those around you? Did things get done on time? Without error? These are environmental outcomes! And ones to be proud of!

Look at that! You now have a bullet that tells me WHAT you specifically did in your job (with context and scope), HOW you specifically did that job and what resources you used to accomplish it, and finally what the OUTCOME was, demonstrating how you used those skills effectively and the positive impact they had on those around you.

Make sure you’re looking at job descriptions that you’re interested in as well. Let companies tell you what they want! And as long as you’re being truthful, plug it in to demonstrate that you are who they’re looking for!

To close, here’s an example of a non-WHO bullet that recruiters will often come across:

  • Took orders from customers.

And here’s an example of that same bullet with context provided by the WHO method:

  • Took upwards of 100 orders daily using clear communication and excellent time management, resulting in a 30% increase in customer satisfaction survey results.

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