DiceTV: Stats Make the Resume

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS7RA7MOelo?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=346]

The Script

Anyone can claim to be a big league pitcher, with a freaky curve ball and a blistering fast ball. To back it up, you need solid numbers in the ERA, strikeout and home run columns. The same’s true for resumes. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.

On paper, most applicants look highly qualified. They view their resume as a marketing tool, with lots of action verbs to describe their capabilities and experience. So why don’t they land more interviews? A lot of the time, it’s because they don’t offer PROOF to back up their claims.

Including metrics in your experience and accomplishment statements substantiates your overall premise. It also allows reviewers to reach their own conclusions about your expertise.

In other words, don’t simply SAY you’re an expert e-commerce specialist. Back up your claim with a data-rich example:

Say you “Increased monthly online orders from 630 to 882, a 40 percent rise that exceeded plan by 13 percent and produced additional revenue of $3 million.”

Here’s another example: Any project manager can claim to deliver on time. You should say you “delivered phase one of a $3 million ERP project within the promised 90-day timeframe at 70 percent of budget.”

How do you come up with these metrics?

First, ask yourself why each one is significant. What improvements did you achieve? Who benefitted from your work? What was the bottom line impact? Always link them to your company’s success, and quantify your business impact. Those results will transfer to other jobs and industries.

Your project plan is a great source of metrics, because it spells out what you needed to achieve and when you needed to achieve it. Your bonus plan might be another source of indicators. If you don’t have a written performance plan, compare the situation you inherited to its current state. That can help you quantify your improvements.

Bottom line: Validate your success by including data in each accomplishment statement, and describe the specific outcomes you achieved.

I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

11 Responses to “DiceTV: Stats Make the Resume”

  1. It seems someone objected to my first comment about statistics.

    I also have this to say,

    1) on a resume you are not proving your claim using “statistics”, you are simply making another claim that you might not actually be able to prove

    2)if you are working for a privately held company you might not have access to the detailed financial information necessary to prove your claim so you are limited to SWAGs

  2. What if you are fresh out of college with virtually no impressive activities performed at jobs while attending college? Most companies want years of experience in addition to the 4-yr degree. Many students are just trying to get through school with decent grades, and take low-wage jobs that do not provide experiences that would “wow” companies in their new fields after graduation. I have 2 associate degrees and am presently working on my Bachelors’ degree in Computer Information Technology. My only computer experience is data entry and doing a web site for a small-sized dog breeder. Nothing spectacular, just basic HTML.
    Do personal activities mean anything these days? Such as church membership, membership in a fraternal organization, such as Masonry or Eastern Star, or Phi Theta Kappa be listed?

  3. Some of this is silly. Most jobs don’t have metrics or the metrics are goofy sounding. “I prepared 214 bags of fries and was fryer of the quarter for three quarters..”

    I come across military resumes where the applicant lists that “was responsible for $20000000 worth of equipment and managed a team of six..” Who cares?

    The best stat you have is that you held a job for x number of months and you didn’t make anyone too mad at you.


  4. Victor Hill

    You lost your credibility by failing to do the most important task before hitting the send button… you didn’t proof read your message. See the line below from the first line of your second paragraph….

    They their resume as a market . . ..

    As a former project manager and retired USAF Officer–It’s the details (attention to…) that marks the winners.

    aka Grumpy Ol’ Vic

  5. Liam Morris

    A textual description of your job accomplishments, back up by high quality stats is VITAL. A prospective employer wants to know WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR HIM. A prospective emloyers quantifies EVERYTHING, including how much vaule you can bring him.
    When I say that I specialize in making complex data understandable with great graphics, I have a portfolio of charts and numerically intensive tables. It’s the graphs that get the boss on the hook! He can’t stand seeing large volumes of numbers, it gives him a migraine.

  6. When working in IT as tech talent – I’ve helped to change processes that reduced the amount of time needed to complete a task and have saved money in reclassifying the processing of accounting entries….

    In my interviews most want assurance. Especially the non technical tech manager. They’ll ask to rate yourself, but won’t give you who you should be rating yourself against. Humility isn’t strength in the interviewing process. So compare oneself to the average and feel good about yourself.

  7. Sometimes these stats aren’t about you, it’s about the person who came before you. (I do agree that the stats belong in the resume.) In one case, I changed a process that took 5 hours to run in 7 minutes.
    That was because the process was so poorly written to begin with. I don’t include that one in my resume. I do include reducing a process from 2 hours, 40 minutes to 19 minutes, a process that was failing because it was taking over 90 hours to under 10 hours. Both of those examples are normal situations because of my knowledge base in SQL.