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Quantifying Achievements on Your Resume

One of the easiest traps to fall into when writing your resume is simply mimicking a job description by listing the responsibilities of your past positions.  However, as soon as you write “sales representative” on your resume, any reader will assume that you understand the basics of sales.  In a crowded field, the two things that set your resume apart are details and quantification.

Take, for example, my father’s friend who owns a restaurant equipment business.  We’ll call him Joe.  Joe could write his resume two different ways.  He could simply say “Proprietor, Restaurant Equipment Sales Company.  Sells restaurant equipment to local businesses.”  Or, he could say, “ Proprietor, Restaurant Equipment Sales Company. Provides comprehensive start-up materials, including industrial stoves, dishwashers, walk-in refrigerators, and cook tops to 83% of local area businesses.  Specializes in boutique eateries in historic urban neighborhoods.”  Clearly, the second description provides a much more detailed portrait of what Joe does—and also makes him instantly more interesting.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t include quantifiable information like “83% market share in the local area” unless you have that information.  Even today, many companies don’t use performance metrics, and the way a company assesses overall performance may do little to reflect your personal contributions.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep track of your own quantifiable accomplishments.  For instance, if you audited services for which your employer was reimbursed $300,000 per year, then you contributed to the company receiving that revenue.  Managing a nursing home with 500 residents is significantly more complex than managing a nursing home with 50.  Make sure your resume includes numbers that highlight the full scope of your previous responsibilities.

Sometimes, the growth or success of a company may not be a direct result of your responsibilities.  However, that growth or success may impact you in a way that’s important to note on your resume.  For instance, let’s say that you work for a public relations firm that starts out with three staff members and five clients.  Your company does so well with those five clients that within two years, they’ve hired five more people and now have 20 clients.  In this case, you could safely say, “Provided leadership and mentoring to new staff as firm tripled in size from 2007-2009.”

When it comes to resume writing, it’s up to you to toot your own horn.  The easiest way to do that is to be aware of what you’ve accomplished, and be able to describe your successes with specific details and solid numbers.

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica's innovative and brand-driven resume development strategies have secured a 99.6% interview-winning success rate for her clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times throughout CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Monster.com, Local Job Network Radio, International Business Times, and more.
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  1. November 1st, 2010 at 13:11 | #1

    At the end of the day, candidates do one of two things: make a company money or save a company money. I call it the so what test. When writing bullets on your resume, always ask so what.

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