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Using P-A-R Statements: Not Just a Better Resume Writing Tool

We all want to make the most of the tools we have available to us in life, and using P-A-R statements is a handy simple one to have in your career tool box. Most of you are probably already familiar with using P-A-R statements on your resume, but just in case you haven’t heard of them or need a quick refresher let's start with an overview of what they are and how to write them.  Then we'll talk about other ways this tool can help you.

P-A-R statements are Problem-Action-Result, or sometimes called accomplishment, statements.  They reflect a situation or problem, your action and the result of those actions.  They show your qualifications and validate your experience.  By writing these types of statements in your resume, you are giving your potential employer a glimpse of the future contributions and benefits they will gain by hiring you.  It is best, if possible, to write the statement in quantifiable terms, using numbers, percentages, etc.  Here is a quick example of this from my resume when I was managing the team responsible for designing, building and delivering this project:

Delivered Small Business Internet Banking Application move from Vendor to In-House hosted solution on time and within budget. 

  • Company savings of $700,00 in first year, projected savings of $1MM in second year.
  • 100% availability with no Severity 1 incidents during the first 30 days in production.
  • Our in-house implementation reduced application downtime by 80% in the first 6 months.

  Now, to get you started on the path of using P-A-R statements, think about these questions:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • Were you requested to work on any special projects or take on additional responsibilities?
  • Did you improve any internal processes or procedures?
  • Did you design, create or implement any new programs?
  • Did you save the company money?
  • Did you win any awards or recognition?
  • Were you relied upon as an expert in any area(s) of expertise?
  • Did you exceed expectations?

 You can use this as a template for formulating your P-A-R statements:

Problem:

Your Action:

Results:

What obstacles did you overcome?

What skills and personality traits did you use?

So back to the very beginning, why did I say that this isn’t just a resume writing tool?  Because by doing this on a consistent basis you get very clear on the contributions you are making and the value you are adding.  Having this information in your “back pocket” better prepares you to ask for that promotion, negotiate the raise, get a new job, and/or request a spot on that important project.  Also, I can’t begin to tell you how much easier review time was when I had done a good job of keeping track of this type of information throughout the year.

One final thought on how to use this tool…if you are struggling with answering the questions above, it may be time to really assess your skills, career, network and professional development plan.  By doing this on a consistent basis you will gain insights into where to focus your efforts, as well as see where there are some possible gaps that need to be addressed.

What other ways can you think of that using this can help you?