Show your results: How to get your resume noticed
It is not enough to transcribe your duties from a job description onto your resume and think that is enough to get an interview with a company. For a modern job search, you need to demonstrate that you know what to do and can back it up with significant and relevant results. Recruiters and hiring managers still see many resumes that are just a list of job responsibilities. That only tells what the company required from you. It gives no indication of how well you did those duties and the impact of what you were able to do on the business.
Imagine you were a hiring manager for an inbound call center. You are hiring for a customer service representative. One resume had the following information:
Responsible for answering customer questions and resolved customer issues
That tells the hiring team almost nothing except that this individual dealt with customer questions and concerns. Was this person great at her job, okay or even terrible? There is not enough information to make any kind of assessment.
Instead, the hiring team reads a resume that has this information:
Rated in the top 5% of all customer service representatives (out of 150) for the volume of calls taken and customer satisfaction.
The second bullet point tells the hiring team so much more. Now they know that this person was very efficient in the role, as they were able to address customer questions and concerns in a timely manner (call quantity) and in a satisfactory way (call quality). Which one would you be interested in bringing in for an interview?
Why people don’t have their accomplishments on their resume
Many people struggle with what accomplishments they should put on their resume. Reasons for this can include:
Not keeping track of accomplishments
The job may not lend itself readily to metrics
Not sure which ones are important
Not comfortable being boastful about all that you have done
Not Keeping Track Of Accomplishments
If you haven’t been keeping track of your accomplishments, start today. Your accomplishments are important currency in a job search. It is how you tell a potential employer that you have proof that what you say you can do is true. If you do not remember the specifics of your accomplishments, ask a colleague, boss or review what was written on a performance review. If you really do not know specifics, write what you do know is true. If you don’t know exactly how much money you saved your company by switching suppliers, use a descriptive term such as “significantly” or “overwhelmingly” or provide a range. In a switching of suppliers example, you could say something like this:
Saved the company between 10-20% of the cost of office supplies by switching suppliers.
Significant cost savings were achieved by investigating alternate suppliers and advocating for a switch.
The Job May Not Lend Itself Readily To Metrics
Almost all jobs will lend themselves to some metrics. You might need to be creative, though. If you are working in administration and are supporting one or more other individuals, you might think that what you do is not metrics oriented. There are ways to provide context to the job---what was required of you and how you did it. As an example, let’s say that you are responsible for making travel arrangements. You may think, “How can I make it metrics oriented?” Think about your end results. How many did you do in a week, month or year? How often did they need to be revised? How complicated were these arrangements as compared to what others may have done or the norm? What was your success? Make sure you highlight these on your resume.
Completed 20 requests for flight/hotel/rental car bookings per week with 50% for international travel that often included obtaining travel visas. Was the only person that the President would let do his travel reservations.
Not Sure Which Ones Are Important
Maybe you have a job that is multi-faceted, such as an HR Generalist. You are involved in a lot of aspects of Human Resources. You may have many metrics for which your performance is measured, but you are not sure what to put on your resume, as you could have pages of bullet points. They key here is to target your accomplishments to the job that you want. Read through the job description or use your networking to discover what is important to the company. Then add only those metrics that are relevant to that job. If this HR Generalist is applying for a job that is going to be recruitment focused, then he should emphasize those accomplishments in the recruitment part of the job. If the new position will have nothing to do with benefits administration, then do not put your benefits administration metrics on your resume...it will not make you a more attractive candidate for this particular job. If you have metrics that may be tangentially related to the job responsibilities of the new position, these may be included if you need to bolster your resume. So in our above example, if the HR Generalist also does employee relations and has a record of positively influencing the outcome of conflicts, this may be something that would be of interest to the hiring manager. It could be used to bolster your assertion that you meet the job requirement of being able to successfully work in a team environment.
Not Comfortable Being Boastful About All That You Have Done
There are some people that are humble and just don’t see that what they did is any big deal. They are uncomfortable as they say “tooting their own horn.” I am here to say that this is not the time to be bashful. The job marketplace is where buyers and sellers come together. Someone wants to buy the service you sell. Just as if you were looking for a new refrigerator, you would want to know the features that are offered; the hiring manager wants to know what you can offer. Selling your knowledge, skills, and accomplishments are a key to a successful job search. This is not the time to be shy...or you will find your job search a lengthy one.
What Accomplishments Should You Put On Your Resume?
There are so many ways to showcase what you have accomplished in a job. One of the best ways is to be able to quantify what you have achieved. Hiring managers can understand numbers. So the three categories of metrics that are very impactful are the following:
How have you been able to make more money for the company with the metric
How have you been able to save the company money with the metric
How have you been able to make the company operate more efficiently with the metric
The metric you use can be an absolute number (such as US dollars) or a percentage. An important point is to put the metric in context when the context makes your accomplishments even more significant. In the call center example above, I wrote it so that the hiring manager knew that being in the top 5% was a significant accomplishment when there were 150 representatives at the company. If you were in a smaller call center, you might say you were rated the top customer service representative out of 20. That would be in the top 5%, but in that example, being the top customer service representative on a smaller team would be a more powerful statement.
So where should you look for accomplishments. There are several places to review.
Performance Reviews. If your performance reviews were well written, there should be many instances cited of your accomplishments. If your company no longer conducts performance reviews, any mechanism in place to document your performance may have relevant accomplishments noted.
Company financial results. Maybe you contributed to securing a new client or you were the point person in retaining a significant piece of business. You can showcase the company’s financial results to highlight your impact. Don’t forget that if appropriate, you can break this down to the line of business, department and team or even your individual goals and results.
Metrics about areas where your efforts made an impact. Especially on projects where it was a team effort, you may have been responsible for one portion of the successful project. You would want to highlight what you did and how the project impacted the company. Maybe your job was to do the business requirements for the implementation of a new software program. You can highlight what you did on the project and show how the project as a whole saved money, cut expenses or increased efficiencies with the appropriate metric.
Process improvements/problems that you have solved. Sometimes your impact is in solving operational problems. If you have figured out a new way to do a process that results in less time (giving more time for more value-add activities), highlight it on your resume. Hiring managers love problem solvers. It makes their job much easier.
New skills you have developed or experiences that you have been a part of (ex. acquisitions, overseas assignments). If you have a unique experience that sets you apart from others in your field, say so. Perhaps you have to do public speaking and are the go-to person in your company to speak to others as a subject matter expert. Highlight this on your resume.
Training/classes taken or certifications achieved. If relevant, this is a great way to highlight that you are a constant learner and are up-to-date in your skills, be it technical or soft skills. It is helpful to show how this learning led you to excel in your role.
Awards or recognition you have received. Were you recognized for outstanding work? Put it on your resume. Hiring managers are interested when an organization makes a point to recognize an individual for their contributions.
Want to know a secret? When you have a list of accomplishments on your resume, you also have your talking points in an interview! You can weave stories about how you achieved your results into your interview answers. You also may be asked more about your accomplishments by the hiring team which is great, since you have a good story to tell. Having the content of the interview center on what you have achieved puts you in a great light and helps show what you can do for this new employer.
Now that you know what you should be putting on your resume, make those changes!