You’ve been staring at your computer screen for hours, racking your brain. Everybody says you’ve got to have results on your resume, but you just can’t think of any.
Don't feel bad. This is very common--even with many very accomplished people. After all, you’ve been so busy doing great work that you haven’t taken time to think about how to express what you’ve done.
You’ve heard people say that you should quantify your results: dollars made or saved for the company, efficiency achieved, safety numbers, accounts landed, and so on. But I often hear good people complain, "Look, I’m not in sales. I don’t have any numbers. I do a good job, but there’s no statistics, no dollar amounts, no awards--nothing!"
OK, fine. You may not be able to quantify your results. But consider this. All of us have our antennae out while we’re working. Somehow, we know very well whether we’re doing excellent work or less than excellent. Right? You know. What’s critical is to get in touch with what those antennae are sensing and articulate the cues that indicate the quality of your performance.
Here’s a guide to thinking through your experience.
1) How have you affected your environment?
If someone visited you work place before you worked there and after you had been there for a while, what would be different?
A few years ago, I worked with a plant manager named Matthew. He was adamant that he’d produced no results. Finally, after much questioning, I asked him, “If I had visited the plant before you started and came back now, what would I notice?”
Suddenly, Matthew brightened up and told me this, “After being hired as plant manager, I quickly discovered the plant was a disaster. The work flow was disorganized. Workers would run into each other, materials were lost, the staff was demoralized, and customers complained A LOT.”
Matthew reorganized the entire plant to create a smooth work flow. He produced other results that would be examples of points #2 and #3 below: instituting piece rates that rewarded good work, and instilling a passion for quality. The staff loves his incentives and works hard, absenteeism and staff turnover fell sharply, and customers rave about the improvement in quality and service.
2) How have you affected other people?
Has your company benefited from your people skills and management skills? Perhaps you've developed the skills of people around you, made teams run more smoothly, or soothed irate customers.
An executive named Don told me, “Instead of firing three problem employees, the company transferred them to my department. I recognized that they were bright and talented individuals, took them under my wing, and encouraged them. I challenged them to take on tough assignments. They responded with outstanding performance. Instead of having to fire them and go through all the expense and effort to recruit, hire and train new people, we have top employees who are very loyal to the company."
Ray, who works in logistics, noted that staff he trained stay with the company form much longer than those trained by others.
3) What do people say about you?
Many times customers, co-workers, and bosses say things that let us know that our performance is exceptional. Some ways this happens are verbal compliments, performance reviews, or thank you notes.
Mark, a pediatric physician assistant, receives many compliments from parents, some of whom come from across town because they so appreciate his warmth, judgment, and skill in treating children. He has a thick file of letters from grateful parents, and a local magazine recognized him as a top practitioner.
Naomi, who works in a research lab, got this compliment from her boss on a performance review: “Naomi is the benchmark of what a research scientist should be.”
Joan, a secretary in a busy legislative office, got this compliment from a co-worker. “When you go on vacation, everything slows to a crawl because you know where everything is and understand all the procedures.”
4) What do people's actions say about you?
Some companies don't have performance reviews. Maybe no one has ever said, “Atta boy (Atta girl)!" Still, people's actions reveal what they think. Perhaps they so respect your expertise that you're sought out as a resource, your workload is bigger than anyone's, they assign you to mend fences with that major account that's threatening to leave, or you’re asked to replicate the training you developed for your staff in other departments.
Consider Rhonda, a young college graduate. She was embarrassed about having worked as a waitress in a pizza restaurant and was going to leave it off her resume. After we talked about it, however, she realized this work demonstrated her capabilities for higher-level jobs. 1) She had developed a loyal group of regular customers who requested her to be their server.
2) Rhonda received more tips than anyone else—by far.
3) The manager chose her to train new employees.
4) He scheduled her to work nights when a large party was expected and made her captain of the party.
5) When he had to leave the restaurant, he put her in charge.
Ronda has no metrics, but the way others act toward her clearly shows she is an excellent employee.
Surely if Rhonda can make her waitress experience sound impressive, you can find things in your job and career to make employers sit up and take notice. Hiring decision makers want to hear about results. So give them what they want--stop putting them to sleep with boring descriptions of your duties. Carefully think through your contributions and develop a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile.
Want to discuss your resume/LinkedIn profile? Here’s a link to the Lucrative Careers calendar: https://calendly.com/lucrative-careers
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