Your resume writing needs specifics

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In your resume writing, you need specificity. You need the details of your accomplishments so the hiring manager understands how you contribute. That means your write your resume using numbers that provide  scale and results.

Resume writing for scale

Scale is simply the size of stuff you work on. For the most part, bigger is better. Saying that you managed a project is poor. Saying that you managed a project with a $2.5 million budget is much better because it gives the hiring manager a sense of the scale of your work.

All jobs have scale associated with them. Too many people think they can’t describe scale for their jobs. “All I do is resolve trouble tickets at a help desk.” Yet, if on your resume you state that you “work in a technical help desk and resolve 250 tickets a month,” you get scale.

All numbers that describe size can be used to show the scale of your work.

Resume writing for results

Results differ from scale in that results are outputs of your work rather than the size of the job. Results, as I say, are accomplishments.

Scale is managing a project budget of $2.5 million. Results are that you brought the project in under budget, on time, and with customer satisfaction.

When you are writing your resume for results, you also need specifics. When you bring in a project under budget, you need to say by how much in either money or percentage terms. Under by $50,000 or under by 2%. If the customer was satisfied, then you need to show how you know the customer was satisfied by stating a survey result or quoting an e-mail from the project sponsor.

All jobs have results that you can quote, whether it is from your SMART Goal tracking or corporate reporting. One problem with reporting results is that often corporate reporting doesn’t get the results to an individual contributor level; they only get to the department level. You can’t say, for example, “I resolved 250 trouble tickets and escalated only 10, 50% below the department average” because the department doesn’t have reporting on individual contributors, only the department number.

A bigger problem is that people don’t record the results of their accomplishments in the first place. Instead, they get laid off and when good resume people tell them they need results they no longer have access to the corporate reporting that could provide it!

So the message here is to record your results about your work and then incorporate them into your resume.

Scale and Results matter

Getting to scale and results on your resume takes work. So why do it?

The reason writing resumes with scale and results matter is it significantly differentiates you from other candidates. Simply put, most people don’t talk about scale on their resumes. They don’t have good numbers for their results if they even mention their accomplishments. Instead they describe their position in purely functional terms and never get to the meat of the job.

Specifics matter. Remember, all interview questions have only three answers. Using scale and results in those three answers moves you into the right position to get the interview and the job.

What types of numbers do you use for scale and results?

  • True enough. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to writing: clarity counts. It’s just that a lot of us have really good specifics to put in the resume, making it a bit longer. Thanks for the comment!

  • LuauInHawaii says:

    Great advice. A resume is critical given today's job market. It is the one tool that allows you to stand out from the crowd.

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