A Winning Resume Must Answer This 1 Question

man holding quantified resume with hand stretched out to shake

Quantify those results on your resume. Employers want to know exactly what they could stand to gain if they hire you.

Ah, the resume. A great one can earn you a coveted spot for an interview and a less than stellar resume is quickly put aside in the dismal pile of “pass.”

In addition to the usual important factors (error-free, reader-friendly layout) your resume must answer this one question to win its way to the “review more/contact” group:

“What can you do for ME?”

Recruiters and employers alike look to see evidence that you can not only do the job, but the experience you have with your current or former employer(s) all produced results that made an impact. When you list the duties for the jobs you’ve held, don’t stop there–indicate what those duties resulted in.

When you list results, this enables a recruiter or employer to easily understand what you can do for their organization and results they can expect from you, when compared to the other candidates they’re considering. Include detail that demonstrates to a potential employer how you’ve helped an organization make money, save money, or increased productivity. Make your results measurable and provide evidence that is quantifiable by using numbers.

Quantifying Work Results on a Resume

How do you make your results measurable? You can do this by providing evidence that is quantifiable by using numbers. Employers are looking for what you did to benefit the organization. These include:

Sales numbers (percentage increases & growth over a timeframe, value of business brought in, etc)

Productivity (increasing capacity, saving time)

Saving money (savings to the company by individual, department, etc)

Skills (what specifically, you have to offer that not only fills what qualifies you, but also adds additional value)

Need an example? Here is a work accomplishment statement before quantifiable results were added in, and after:

Work Accomplishment Statement on a Resume Before Being Quantified

» Produced new company website. Served lead designer/UX, search optimization specialist, and manager to team.

Work Accomplishment Statement on a Resume After Being Quantified

» Produced new company website using search and usability (UX) best practices, resulting in a 80% increase in total web traffic from previous year and 40% gain in product email list sign-up conversions. Served as lead designer & manager to team of 3 employees and 4 vendors to deliver project on time and $7k under budget.

By including the data about the increase in traffic and email list gains, along with delivering the project under budget, we learn that this person not only helped his employer build sales pipeline, but that their efforts also saved the employer money as well.

But what if you can’t quantify your results to a number? This is a common challenge often faced by consultants/contract employees and talent new to their field where this information may not be readily available, or available at all. You can also provide details including specific skills to demonstrate your aptitude.

Skills Quantified on a Resume Example

XJtech (internship)                 3/2014 – 3/2015

Jr. Software Architect with experience in agile development processes/methodologies and project management. Skills:

  • Java, JAX-RS, JavaScript, Node.js    
  • Ajax, JSON, HTML5, CSS3
  • DynamoDB, MongoDB, Cassandra
  • Maven, Mercurial, Git
  • Mac OS X, Linux, Windows
  • JIRA | Mavenlink | Basecamp
  • Certified Scrum Master

As you can see, listing this Jr. Software Architect’s skills make it clear what he or she can bring to the table right away. Aside from the technical skills, this person also posses abilities in project management and the agile environment which may be very beneficial for companies looking to move to/implement this methodology or, require it from the beginning.

Above all, a winning resume needs to showcase what you as a professional can do for the employer. At the end of the day, businesses are in business to make money whether privately or publicly held. When you can contribute to their bottom line in an impactful way, you’re sure to garner interest from their HR or a Recruiter. Be prepared to shine by making some simple changes to the content of your resume.


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