7 Strategies for a Resume If You’ve Forgotten Your Job Responsibilities

By Joe Flanagan

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You probably already know that one of the greatest tools in finding a new job is an amazing resume. This is becoming even more important as according to Glassdoor, on average each corporate job attracts 250 resumes. You probably have the desire to succeed in this area, but you may not be sure of where to start. Pulling together everything you’ve done into one document can be challenging, though it’s an essential start to get noticed. You want to be sure to put in the necessary time to make this successful, and that starts with including all the relevant sections and making sure all punctuation is correct.


What's the reason?

This happens to more people than you might realize, and therefore it’s an important area to think through. It may be that it’s been a long time since you were in that job. It may be that you weren’t there for very long, and so the actual responsibilities escapes you. It may just be that you can’t possibly remember what your responsibilities were categorized as, and that means that getting it all onto paper is tough. You have a general awareness of what you did while in this job, but you’re having a tough time getting this into bullet point form.

No matter what the reason for your inability to remember your responsibilities or accomplishments, there are some helpful ways to work through this issue before you get tactical. The bottom line is that you want to generate a few major bullet points that show experience, leadership, and aptitude, and then add some substance to it. You are very likely going to have to to jog your memory if you get a few key ideas going. Don’t fret if the responsibilities just aren’t coming to you, but do take the time to look into them.


Get Tactical

If you utilize the right sources, then you can showcase your experience in a really wonderful way—and this will form the basis of a resume that is sure to impress. Here’s how to gather those former job responsibilities if you simply can’t remember them on your own.


Contact a previous co-worker

I once dealt with a candidate whose whole sales and acquisition team were laid off from their jobs at a now bankrupt finance firm. The candidate showed a great deal of determination by organizing a resume brainstorming session over coffee with previous colleagues. Needless to say, with the help of the group they were able to embellish their resumes with impressive yet realistic responsibilities and achievements that they would have forgotten otherwise.

If you're unable to return to your ex company have somebody that you have maintained a good relationship with from your previous job, then reach out to them. Chances are that they may be doing something similar or they at least can help you to remember a bit of what you did.

They can be valuable not only as references, but also as the source of information that you need. They can remind you of what you did each day or how you added to the team, both of which can help you to get you started on some winning bullet points started.


Use a resume builder

There are so many great apps and websites out there for which you can plug in your job or even a job title and start to build your experience from there. This may speak more in generalities, but it’s a great starting point. Put in your experience and background as best as you can remember, and then let the resume builder populate this to pull in the responsibilities that you are reaching to get down on paper.

Usually these types of websites will have a consultant on hand that can help guide you through your responsibilities to draw out key accomplishments that can improve your resume by leaps and bounds.


Look at the job description

There may be a similar job description out there that you can pull from that your old employer is currently utilizing. It may be that your job is still being filled or it could even be in your contract. You may find that you still want to customize this a bit for the purpose of your resume, but it’s an excellent way of pulling in the responsibilities that you are struggling to create.


Look up other related types of jobs to pull key points from

If you can’t find your old job description then you are likely to find something similar or related across other job boards. Try doing a search and see if there are other similar jobs out there for which a description is available. You don’t want to copy it word for word, but it’s an excellent way to get your own ideas going. You can pull from this related job description and fill in the blanks on your own.

You could even go on step further and call up the hiring managers of these job descriptions to inquire more about what the role entails, you never know what you may find out.


Do some research within your industry for some helpful tips

Every field has some sort of organization or industry website or forum available to search. It doesn’t matter if you’re in advertising or engineering, you can likely locate something online that lists out typical responsibilities. You can likely take yours to another level but this gets you started with capturing the tasks that made you good at your job.


Hire a writer to help you to bring your ideas to life

You may have some sort of idea what you did, but you may struggle with actually writing it. This is a great time to hire a resume writer to help you to capture your ideas and turn them into bullet points that speak to your effectiveness and success, just make sure they break down your experience into the correct sections.


It’s much more common than you might think to forget your overall responsibilities in a job. If you are working to create a winning resume, then you can utilize any of these tips to get you headed in the right direction. Your resume is your most important tool in getting you to move forward in the process. Be sure that you spend time in creating bullet points that speak of your previous accomplishments - and use these resources to jog your memory and help you to remember everything that you did in your previous job to make you such a true asset. 


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