Every week, new resumes come across my desk from executives and professionals. They have various roles in all types of businesses, government, or they are military personnel entering the civilian workforce. From varying company sizes – start-ups to Fortune 50, national or international, or across the globe, I’ve been privileged to work with diverse go-getters with exceptional careers, but who now need help selling themselves, their skills, and their achievements. Most resumes I see provide too many details of “how.” They discuss the methods by which they drive initiatives using adjectives and adverbs instead of the actual result the initiative they led garnered for the business. What I hear most from recruiters and friends in the industry, “too much fluff and not enough metrics or results.”
As a career coach and resume writer for industry leaders in Technology, Operations, Marketing, Finance, among other industries, the message I drive home the most in our first conversation and throughout our collaboration – “Metrics Matter, Details Detract.” Well, derailing details detract…more on that later. See Part 2.
So what kind of metrics matter and where do we include them? The best way to use metrics is to substantiate your achievements, using actual figures and percentages instead of adjectives. To get an idea, compare the two following statements:
A: Drove revenue substantially by launching an innovative product to market.
B: Drove revenue 40%, from $10M to $14M, by launching innovative product to market within 12 months.
While the first one in each example sounds good and is okay, it’s best to substantiate the amounts into context. A recruiter or hiring manager can really get their head around the value you can bring to their (or representing) organization through this type achievement. In the first example (B), we have both the percentage, the dollar amount, and the time that product was launched into market and revenue was generated. In the second example (B), we have both the amount of the contract negotiated and the direct savings this represented for the business. A win-win.
A: Led business negotiations for a global outsourcing agreement renewal with Microsoft – slashing IT expenses significantly. Or B:
"Led business negotiations for a $100M+ global outsourcing agreement renewal with Microsoft – slashing IT expenses by $20M."
Another type of metric needed throughout all roles of leadership is the one of scope. Too often in resumes I see, “Manage cross-functional team and am responsible for profit and loss (P&L),” but without numbers to show how many people or what is the actual budget. While I can understand apprehension to share too much information,
if YOU don’t share this information, I guarantee that others will.
They will get your coveted interview because they used metrics, not because they can do the job better – but because they conveyed the value they can bring the organization in a more concrete way. DO state the amount of budget/P&L/etc. you managed and how many people you oversaw. For instance:
“Manage $34M P&L along with 10 direct/25 indirect cross-functional employees.” Or “Manage a 10-member engineering team and a $15M budget.”
In contrast to an internal employee who works directly for an organization, I also work with many consultants who are not privy to certain information like budgets, or how much revenue a product delivered. Since their engagement with the company ended as soon as the product launched or services were delivered, they usually don’t get to know the final results. This is very common. However, consultants are often provided other types of information such as: statements of work, contracted amount for work, or the overall amount the project will cost. One example is to state such an initiative of an outsourced service, like this:
“Led a $30M SAP implementation for a Medical Equipment client, leading team of 6 leads / 50 professionals, going live on time within 12 months — avoiding $5M penalty and an FDA audit.”
Also consultants are expected to provide projections of the amount of what the service/product/expertise they are delivering will bring their business, or a percentage of the value like “reduced implementation time by 65%,” “cut costs by 50%,” “increased productivity by 30%,” and so forth.
There are many ways we can show the value or benefit we bring an organization. We've all heard the phrase, "A picture says a thousand words," in a resume,