Trophy Wall

Do you have a trophy wall? Many people do. If you don’t know what a trophy wall is, it’s a wall in your home or office where you hang all those plaques, award certificates, and pictures of yourself shaking hands with someone important. I have also heard it referred to as an “I-Love-Me-Wall” or an “Ego Wall”. There’s nothing wrong with a trophy wall; after all, it gives you something to do with all those plaques. But what do they mean to your career advancement?


I see many, many resumes that have “trophy walls” built into them as a section called Awards and Honors. Sometimes, the trophy wall is actually wallpapered into the content of the resume. Awards and honors are good but are you squeezing as much mileage from them as possible? Probably not.


Here’s a typical “accomplishment” statement from a resume I was sent today for a review:


“Regional Sales Manager of the Year – 2004”


Can’t you just see that engraved on a nice little gold plaque with a gold star or something on it? What does it really tell us though? Not much. It tells us the resume’s owner is in sales management and that he won a management award two years ago. Let’s rewrite it to get more mileage out of it:


“Regional Sales Manager of the Year – 2004 – Western US Division. Led six sales teams to across-the-board revenue generation records and 36% in expanded market share. Exploded sales goals by 24% for entire year.”


Now THAT gets some mileage. Not only does it tell the award, but it gives a great deal more information and shows the reader why the resume owner won the award. It tells how big the operation he managed was and gives a mental picture of his leadership abilities. It quantifies the achievement using the numbers that were generated.


Here’s another accomplishment statement that needs help:


“Ranked either 2nd or 3rd out of 11 reps each year.”


Ranked in what? Number of games of solitaire won? It’s too vague to have much impact. Here it is rewritten to have some traction:


“Ranked in Top 3 in entire sales force for six consecutive years, generating over $4M in new revenues annually.”


Do you see the difference? You know what the real difference is? The difference is having a writer who does this professionally and can see what to bring to the forefront in the content and what should be reworded for the best spin while still maintaining accuracy.



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