Quick Trick to a Results-Oriented Resume

A client who hadn’t been in a job search for a while recently asked me, “What is the one thing my resume must have to be noticed?”

My response, “It HAS to be results-based.”

Gone are the days when resumes are historical lists of responsibilities.  Potential employers want to see results.  They want to understand the impact and outcomes of the work you’ve performed and how it benefited the company you were working for at the time.  Simply put, how did your actions positively impact the bottom line?

For corporations, effective results can be broadly boiled down to: 1) increased profits or 2) decreased losses. HOW this is done varies and might include: increasing efficiency or decreasing waste, reducing risk or increasing margins, increasing client satisfaction and reducing employee turnover, and so on and so forth.

And the more specifics you can offer (e.g., actual numbers), the more credible and impressive the accomplishment.  For example:

  • Increased product page views by 40% leading to a YOY gain in sales of 19% by designing a more user-friendly web interface for global customers.

Gathering this information is fairly straightforward in a data-driven role like Sales, but it can be difficult in roles that do not have precise measurements.  But that doesn’t mean a results-based resume is out of reach.  In fact, it’s equally important for you to translate for your audience how the work you did positively impacted the bottom line so they know that you understand the value of your work on the success of the company.

If your role isn’t directly numbers-driven, here’s a simple trick to help you think about how the work you do positively impacts the company. Ask yourself:

“What would happen if I DIDN’T do my job???

For example, if you’re an Administrative Assistant, what would happen if you didn’t keep the calendar organized, edit the reports, and coordinate the travel? Well, it’s likely that your executive team wouldn’t be nearly as effective in their roles and the bottom line would suffer.  So one bullet on your resume might read:

  • Ensured stakeholder deliverables were met and company operations ran smoothly through organizing and coordinating the global travel schedule for four busy C-Suite Executives.

Maybe you’re an Office Manager for a regional retail business.  What would happen if you didn’t maintain the inventory, track expenses, and ensure all of the shifts were covered? Chaos would ensue and it wouldn’t be long before the business was in jeopardy. So how about:

  • Negotiated a sufficient supply of $350K in inventory for a seasonally-based business with three locations across the mid-Atlantic region to meet the demands of our customers while remaining competitively priced.

When you’re effective at your job, it can be difficult to see everyday tasks as accomplishments. However, when you imagine what could go wrong if no one was there to do your job, suddenly it’s easy to see the value you bring to the company.

Don’t expect Hiring Managers to do the work for you and connect the dots of your responsibilities in your last role to how those skills will make a positive difference in their open role.  The clearer you draw the line between your actions and the impact on profits, the more attractive you’ll be as a candidate.

Try it and watch your resume transform!

Happy Hunting!

6 thoughts on “Quick Trick to a Results-Oriented Resume

  1. Chris Reply

    Thank you for this great article Dr. I am a big fan of what you do and I have had a heck of a time trying to leave the dysfunctional company I am at for another, with no luck. But I believe it has to do with my resume and this article is a precious resource. I plan on a complete overhaul of my resume and will use these tips. My resume is a historical depiction of my work, not results based. Thanks for the help hunting!

    • Dawn Graham Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Chris! Results will open many more doors, no doubt 🙂 Best of luck in your search and be sure to continue to network as well. It is still the best way to your next job! Warmly, Dawn

  2. Genny L. Brezina Reply

    Hi Dr. Dawn,
    I think there might be a couple jobs where results aren’t required and I had two of them: psychotherapist in private practice and college professor (adjunct). I had little to no oversight in either position for 10+ years. I was trying to think of other jobs where this might be the case so that an answer to my question/statement might be useful to others as well but couldn’t think of any. I would be interested to see if you have any ideas on transforming a resume so that corporate America might find my ‘skills and abilities’ useful. The positions that are similar (corporate trainer, instructional designer, L&D) have turned me down and want someone with corporate experience. I would appreciate any insight you may have.
    Thanks so much,

    • Dawn Graham Reply

      Thank you, Genny – appreciate the post! While different, I believe there are some great ways to quantify psychotherapy and teaching. It could be the number of clients served, classes/students taught, professor evaluation ratings (e.g., “Averaged a 4.78 out of 5 in student evaluations over eight years of teaching Advanced Microeconomics to graduate-level Engineers.”). Perhaps you trained new employees (even if not direct supervision), received an award or some type of official (or unofficial) recognition, or simply provided stellar service to clients. As a therapist, maybe it’s the types of assessments or instruments you’ve gotten certified in, extra credentials you’ve earned, or the number of group sessions you have in a given week. In terms of changing careers from academia or clinical work to corporate, check out “Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success” – you are exactly who I wrote that book for! Thank you for engaging, Genny! Be well, Dawn

  3. Genny L. Brezina Reply

    Thanks, Dr. Dawn for your ideas. I also just got the book! 😉

    • Dawn Graham Reply

      Yay – that makes me so happy to hear, Genny – thank you! I’m confident Switchers will answer your questions – look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂

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