Drive Your Resume to the Top of the Pile Using the CCAR Model

joblessThere is still stiff competition for many job openings, so you need a way to make your resume stand out in a crowded field of candidates. The CCAR model is one proven technique that can help you get noticed by employers and show off your accomplishments to your best advantage.
This guide is an explanation of the four elements of CCAR and how to use this format to create a dazzling resume.
The Four Elements of CCAR

  1. Context. Describe the context. Begin by setting the stage for your story. Set out what organization you worked for and any relevant details, like its mission and size. Provide your official job title and the role you played.
  2. Challenges. State the challenges. Explain the obstacles you worked to overcome. Maybe your company faced rising costs due to postage increases or your customers were asking to see evidence of sustainable environmental practices.
  3. Actions. Chronicle your actions. Spell out precisely what you did to respond to the challenge. You could recount how you reorganized mailings to qualify for postal discounts or installed more efficient lighting in your facilities.
  4. Results. Report the results. Talk about the final outcome and its impact on your company. Specify what you achieved in terms of cost savings, increased customer satisfaction, lower employee turnover or similar measurements.

Additional Suggestions for Using CCAR

  1. Tell a compelling story. Try reading your stories out loud to test how interesting they might sound to a recruiter. Make your language concise and vivid.
  2. Develop multiple examples. If possible, include more than one CCAR story for each position on your resume. Recruiters will usually read a resume slightly longer than one page if they see the qualifications they’re looking for.
  3. Draw on all your experiences. Sometimes other areas of your life can provide useful stories. In addition to your past jobs, think about what you’ve done through volunteer services, self employment, or other activities.
  4. Use numbers. Quantifying your contributions strengthens your credibility. Calculate how much money you helped to save or the percentage increase in sales you brought about.
  5. Be specific. Paint a clear picture throughout your story. Details and particulars are more convincing than generalities.
  6. Remain relevant. Read vacancy announcements carefully so you can tailor the stories you use to each opening. You may wish to emphasize different aspects of your background depending on the circumstances.
  7. Start with the recent past. Stick to the last 10 years of your work history for the most part. If you have something from farther back that you want to cite, mention it in your cover letter.
  8. Focus your job search. If you get stumped when you try to come up with relevant CCAR stories for a particular job, it could be a warning sign. When your qualifications are a good match for the opening, the process is usually easier.
  9. Highlight awards and recognition. Recognition by others is another strong selling point. List any awards you receive or cite positive media references to your work.
  10. Include your education and training. You can also integrate your education and training into your CCAR stories. Show how your degree in economics or fluency in Russian enabled you to get the desired results. 

CCAR is recommended by the Office of Personnel Management, so you want to master the format if you plan to fill out a job application for the federal government. Whatever your career goals, the model can also be adapted to improve your performance in any behavioral based interview or employee evaluation.
Put CCAR to work to drive your career to the next level!

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