Defining a Resume-Worthy Accomplishment

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-05-26 Print this article Print

In the past I've referred to the importance of sprucing up your resume to show how your tech work experience has had an impact on business results. Why do this? To create a narrative that says you understand your contribution to the bottom line--a bottom line that has become ever-increasingly important in tightly controlled company economies.

It sounds simple on the surface, but business impact comes in many forms and choosing the right result and showing its significance are not necessarily easy things to do.

Resumes are all about the audience.

In the case of a tech resume, we are talking about a recruiting-centric audience looking for keywords, skill sets and levels of experience. Your technology skills, certifications and training are all very important, but to separate yourself from the crowd in a competitive job market, presenting accomplishments in terms of business results will have a positive effect on your job search, says career expert Scot Herrick.

What is an accomplishment on a resume? Herrick explains what it is and how to get there in a recent post.

[A]n accomplishment is a work effort you completed that moved the business forward, shown through numbers. [...]

Doing programming, for example, may be your job, but programming is not a business result. [...] Your programming is not only programming, your programming helped the business accept faster payments from customers. Unless you tie your work to a business need, like getting faster payments from customers, your resume won't have the powerful impact it needs to get noticed. [...]

Simply saying that you helped the company reduce their inventory investment really doesn't cut it. You have to show it. [...]

[B]usiness results need numbers to center around three areas: revenue, expenses, or productivity. When you are looking to quantify your business results, those are the three areas that have bang for the buck. Now, most of us won't be able to show revenue increases from our work, but we certainly can show reduced expenses or improved productivity through some element of cycle time.

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