Strengthen your Resume with Specifics

There was really good post on LinkedIn this week by Laszlo Bock, one of the VP’s at Google.  You can read it here. He said that the way to make your resume stand out from the rest is to quantify your successes.  He had some solid examples that really illustrated how powerful this is.  He did not point out how hard it is to do.

It’s easy if you have a job that is measured in numbers.  If you are in sales, for example, you can point to year over year growth or an increase in new customers.

It’s trickier if you are in Human Resources or Graphic Design.

It’s not really harder; you just have to think of your activities in a different way.  Mr. Bock works with engineers and as a rule; they are pretty quick to “run some numbers up the flagpole”.  Those of us, who are firmly rooted in art or words, have to think a little more.

Here is the process:

  • Think of activity or responsibly you want to describe.
  • Start with an action word.
  • Decide what part you want to get specific about: the quantity or the speed
  • Can you find statistics within your industry or company or work group to figure out where you rank? Can you say you were in top percent or top ten?
  • If you are not at the top of the pile, did you improve from the last quarter or year? That makes a good story too.

The idea is go from soft gooey statements to factual phrases that make the reader understand that you know what you are doing and can demonstrate it in a concrete way.

Compare these statements:

Went above and beyond to support my team and its deliverables.

Stayed late one night each week to process incoming tasks enabling my team to complete 100% of our projects before the deadline.  This had never been done before.

It’s better isn’t it?

This really is a good exercise.  Identifying your success in such a specific way will not only make your resume better.  It will also give you stronger examples to use in an interview.  Definitely a win win situation.  Thanks Laszlo!

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