One reason we don’t see more statistics in resumes, such as percentage increases, is that people are not always sure of or comfortable in calculating their results.
In fact, most of us are not all that comfortable in saying nice things about ourselves to begin with.
Calculating results normally takes a bit of simple arithmetic, basic division, a dose of logic, and a little guesstimating.
In the process of calculating results, the first step is to identify all the benefits, whether these were something improved, increased, or decreased. Start with the assumption that if you can identify it you can quantify it. Quantifying results may require some guesstimating, but here’s how you can do it.
Review your job sketches to see what clues they might give you. Were there any functions that were left off the sketches that you now think might be valu
able? Were there any projects that were not mentioned? If a project achieved its goal, it almost assuredly had a slew of usable results. Even if you think a particular result was too small or insignificant to mention in the resume, spend some time developing it because it might be a useful addition to an interview.
Remember, your resume will contain only a fraction of the information you will be generating. You will need additional and supporting information to present at interviews. This is the place to build your arguments and develop the evidence to back them up.
Suppose you know that an action you took improved something—sales, profits, productivity, turnover—but you don’t have the company’s records to prove it.
Let’s look at turnover. When you took over the department, there was a chronic morale problem. People were regularly leaving out of frustration. Of the 16 people who had been employed the previous year, five quit and one was fired, for a total of six and a 38% turnover rate.
With a turnover rate that high, productivity was bound to be low because people did not stay around long enough to adequately learn their jobs nor were they sufficiently motivated to perform them well. In addition, the supervisor was probably devoting an inordinate amount of time training new people and cleaning up mistakes. So that supervisor was fired and you were thrown into the hornet’s nest.
Having identified the failings of your predecessor, you developed a corrective plan. You worked closely with the core group until they were adequately trained and reasonably proficient in their jobs. This took a lot of overtime on your part, which you probably did not get paid for, but you made sure they knew what they were doing. You gave them strokes and they appreciated that.
During your first year as manager, four people left, the next year only two, and the next year, two again. Your turnover rate for the first year was 25%. The second and third years it was 12%. There is no doubt things had stabilized.
Now you need to determine the percentage by which you reduced turnover, and what other benefits accrued as a result. The turnover rate has been reduced from 38% to 12%. Just an approximation will tell you that the reduction is about two-thirds, or 67%. The actual reduction is 68% and it is what we would call a hard number since the manager knew the actual turnover rate each year.
As valuable as reducing turnover is, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Because the staff was now better trained, they made fewer mistakes, got more done, and provided better customer service.
Were there previous measures of productivity (such as number of widgets produced) or quality (error rate, customer complaints)? If so, the result can be presented as:
• Developed an effective training program that increased productivity 14%,
and reduced customer complaints 75%.
• Eff ectively improved morale, resulting in a 68% reduction in turnover in
just two years.
• Eff ectively improved morale resulting in reducing annual turnover rate
from 38% to 12%. (You can make this even stronger if you can determine
whether your result brought the turnover below the industry standard.)
From here, measure the improvements in quality, productivity, and customer service. The resume might read:
Developed an effective training program that reduced turnover from 38% to 12%. As a result of the program, productivity increased more than 14%, and customer complaints were reduced 75%.
You are going to impress yourself with that statement.
Tom: We’re not saying that all of your results and benefi ts can be quantifi ed. We are saying that many can be and you owe it to yourself to look for ways to quantify them. When you simply cannot quantify a result, work hard to write about it in such
a way that the reader will sense that something was better because of your efforts.
Calculating results is not difficult, but some folks are challenged so we’re going to show you how to calculate your results and how to get a website to magically do the calculation for you. The website is www.csgnetwork.com/percentchangecalc. html. When you go to this URL the screen will look like this.
Simply key in both your numbers and hit calculate. Do not use commas such as 1,245,621. The system will not calculate it if there are commas. The site does not tell you this, but trust us, it will not work.
Let’s look at a simple example and we’ll give you easy formulas for calculating increases and decreases. Here’s a scenario. As a kid you took over a paper route with 50 customers. At least one day a month you would knock on a few doors to sell subscriptions. Over a two year period you built your route to 60 customers. By what percentage did you increase your customers?
Whether you increased something from 10 to 14 (40%) or from 126,000 to 148,000 (17%), the formula always works.
Let’s say you were responsible for reducing overdue accounts for a small business. You developed a better way to contact people and to discuss their overdue accounts more effectively. When you started the program your company had 1200 overdue accounts. A year later you had reduced the number to 500. By what percentage did you decrease overdue accounts?
Provide Proof of Results When Possible
The value of including results, especially quantified results, has already been established. In addition to including a quantified result, it is very helpful to provide documentation if possible. This might include figures published by your company, numbers that you produced but that were confirmed by your boss, or figures produced by an informed third party.
Many companies want to know their market share and will regularly retain research firms to provide it. If you are a sales manager and have access to data documenting that market share increased significantly on your watch, don’t hesitate to use it. Such proof can be presented in several ways. Achievement awards, bonuses, and merit raises are always useful in demonstrating your successes. Below you’ll see a couple of examples.
mechanical engineer – For this $45 million manufacturer of latex surgical gloves,
designed a total quality management program that has saved $1.5 million in the
first year as documented by an internal management audit.
operations manager – Designed a cost-saving program in the areas of shipping,
warehousing, material flow, and just-in-time purchasing. Received the Corporate
Gold Medal Award for one of the top-five cost-saving programs among the 25 plants
taKe the CreDit You DeSerVe
Most group activities consist of leaders, workers, and shuckers. The leaders and workers make things happen, the shuckers go along for the ride. The reasons why the shuckers are in the group include being assigned against their wills or volunteering in order to get out of doing their own jobs.
If you were a leader or worker . . . do not be afraid to take the credit due your efforts. If you were the moving force who initiated everything and led the department or division in implementation, you are justified in taking full credit:
• Designed and implemented a cost-saving inventory program that . . .
• Led the team that . . .
If you were one of two or three leaders, who deserve credit, share it:
• Co-led the initiative that . . . .
Perhaps you were in charge of various parts of a project:
• Led key processes in the project that . . .
Or you were an important worker who made solid contributions to the success:
- Played a key role in . . .
- Actively contributed to . . .
- Credited as a major factor in the success . . .
aVoiD ASSISTED/HELPED IN
Using the phrase assisted in, nearly always dilutes your actual contribution. Select examples from above to better describe your actual role.
when numberS are not aVailable
When actual numbers for your results are just not available, and you don’t feel comfortable estimating, use terms such as substantial, dramatic, significant, solid, or strong.
In these cases, you still want to accurately present your contributions with the right impact.
You can have:
- Substantial sales increases
- Dramatic reductions in turnover
- Significant improvements in customer satisfaction rankings
- Solid growth in satisfied customers
- Strong improvement in quality.
QualiFYing Your reSultS
Not every achievement is quantifiable or neatly folded into specific dollars or percentages. How do you measure morale increases? Or your reputation among your peers? What about your track record as the go-to person?
Every time you are commended by your boss, a customer, a co-worker, or anyone else, for that matter, for doing something on the job, it is a statement of value. It can be a written commendation, letter of appreciation, or pat on the back. You have made an impression.
Perhaps you are the subject matter expert in legal issues or policy. Or, you are the one who always seems to be handed escalated problems. Do customers ask specifically for you to service their accounts or resolve their problems? Do you get a lot of referrals from previous customers? Are you regularly selected by your supervisor for special or difficult assignments?
Do you have a track record for completing your work on time with a high rate of accuracy? Have you been recognized for coming in early, staying late, or coming in weekends to assure deadlines are met?
There is a place in the resume for all these commendations, pats-on-theback, and “we couldn’t do it without you” statements. They do not have to be formal personnel-file type of acclaim, just as a salesperson’s numbers may not be published or available. It is a matter of credibility and how you present the information.
• Consistently commended by clients for providing timely and customized
- Regularly selected by management for special projects and assignments.
- Track record for accurately completing all assignments on time.
- Recognized as the branch’s primary resource on customer service policies.
there iS SuCCeSS in Failure
Most of our job functions are components of a larger organization. Despite our personal performances and those of our peers, the company might be on a downward spiral. Or a project we have contributed to has been defunded. Or the overall revenue figures of our region’s sales team are down while yours are on track.
Don’t tar yourself with the brush of failure. If your contributions were positive, present them as such!