How to update your resume for 2012

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Jan 03

It’s 2012 — and time to update your resume with your 2011 business results. Most people won’t, you know. Then, when it comes time to pull out that resume, blow away the dust, and update it, those same people won’t remember what they did in 2011 to put on their resume. Or, what they put on the resume won’t have any proof (read: business results) about what they did. Then they will wonder why they aren’t getting any interview calls.

But you will update your resume, right? Here’s how.

1. Put in your activity goal results

Activity goals, compared to outcome goals, are those where you do a certain amount of repetitive work over the course of time and, in so doing, help you achieve solid quality work for the department.

Say it is part of your job to update a database with information. Maybe it is a people database, reporting database or some other activity where you consistently update information based on input. You might think of that as boring and not worthy of a place on your resume. After all, it only takes you an hour a week to input twenty pieces of information given to you. But that twenty pieces over the course of a 50-week year ends up being 1,000 entries per year. And doing 1,000 entries with 100% accuracy all of a sudden looks like a pretty good accomplishment, wouldn’t you agree?

Don’t overlook what you repetitively do. Those repetitions show potential volume and quality of your work. Certainly, it opens up another avenue of questions where you can talk about your accomplishments to a person doing an interview.

2. Show your outcome goal attainment

Outcome goals (achieve a 5% reduction in expenses) are the most common goals handed out in business. You either make them or not, but those goals are typically the most important on your performance review. They should be the most important items you worked on during the year, so it makes sense to get them on your resume. Hiring managers want people who can achieve their goals because a hiring manager is interviewing you to accomplish something to help the manager achieve business goals.

3. Write the story of the goal attainment

Outcome goals are boring. “Achieved a 7% reduction in expenses compared to the goal of a 5% reduction in expenses.” Okay. So what?

Every goal has a story behind it on how it was planned to be achieved as well as how it was actually achieved. The ‘how’ versus the ‘planned’ is a treasure chest of interview stories you can tell a hiring manager showing your goal, how you overcame obstacles and the business results you achieved. But without writing that story of goal attainment on your resume, you won’t remember all the right details when it comes time to do an interview.

Now, not everything you did in 2011 will end up as part of your resume submission for a particular job. You wouldn’t want your stories of goal attainment on your resume that you submit for a job; you’d want to tell that story to a person interviewing you for a job. And, for example, not everything in your background will directly apply to a particular job application so you may want to take out some accomplishments to keep your resume crisp and focused.

But if you don’t get it down on paper, you won’t remember it when it comes time to make that submission. And the further on down the road that submission is, the less likely you are to remember what you did and how you accomplished it. That makes a weak resume – never getting you the phone call for the interview.

No, the time to update your resume is now. Most of us just had a performance review, the goal attainment is done, the results are in. Time to get it on our resume so that we have it. Ready to pull the trigger if we need to so we can use it.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.