Concrete and Quantifiable: Show an Employer How Your Client Can Help Make – Or Save – Him Money

Always remember: A resume is an advertisement designed to get your client an interview.

When I was an HR Director for a medium-sized company, I wore a lot of hats … and one of those hats was the recruiting and hiring of employees. I looked at hundreds of resumes every year.

I could very quickly narrow down what jobseekers sent me into two categories – resumes, and what I called “employment diaries.”

The resumes I liked.

The “diaries” … well, I put them on the “no” pile pretty quickly. That’s because they were either long, rambling tomes on just about everything the candidate had done in his employment career (almost back to the paper route or lemonade stand) … or they included what amounted to a series of “job descriptions.”

In other words, the “diaries” told me what candidates did at their previous jobs … but not how they did!

Example 1

Look at this excerpt from a resume I got for a Sr. Marketing Director position:


  • Set up and drive sales and marketing activity
  • Business development with both existing and new clients
  • Generate business through new leads
  • Oversee and drive other sales professionals

I want to know: Drive sales and marketing activity to what level? What volume of business was developed? How much business was generated through new leads, and in what timeframe?

Example 2

This one, though more detailed than the first, still lists only tasks. It doesn’t give any indication of job performance.

Professional Responsibilities:

  • Develop and administer the marketing plans and budgets directed toward Insurance Brokerages/Brokers
  • Initiate the company’s involvement in various networks, including coordinating business development and marketing activities via these relationships
  • Develop and administer marketing database that includes client and prospect information, mailing list applications, access to financial reports, etc.
  • Develop marketing programs for sales, lead generation, and Web campaign, following marketing plan and budget constraints
  • Communicate details of marketing programs to Business Development Managers, Operations, and other departments
  • Review and evaluate market research to use in forecasting future marketing needs

I want to know: What type of forecasts did this candidate make, and how did they affect the company’s bottom line?

Example 3

Now, take a look at this snippet from yet a third candidate:

  • Transitioned organization from 44% growth to 112% growth in 2001 ($7 million to over $14 million)
  • Expanded distributor base by over 55% to increase market penetration and facilitate market launch of new product services
  • Provided strong organizational leadership in key account sales and business development, resulting in a significant gain in employee morale and productivity
  • Delivered 48% growth within less than one year through development of a multinational customer base
  • Currently facilitating market introduction of new sales group with first year revenue projections at over $2 million

This one is much better. And that’s because it focuses not on what the candidate does, but on how well he does it.

The resumes you write for your clients must strongly demonstrate that these potential employees will help fulfill an employer’s needs – usually by helping him make money or by helping him save money (depending on the position).

In other words, you want to be sure that the resumes you write clearly and concisely demonstrate that your candidate will help a potential employer’s business be successful.

This isn’t an idea that’s likely to be obvious to your client. So be sure you’re drawing out of him the fodder you need to write a resume that will work. If he feeds you a lot of “tasks,” go back to him and get the kind of concrete, quantifiable information that you know will work much better.

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Published: February 22, 2006

2 Responses to “Concrete and Quantifiable: Show an Employer How Your Client Can Help Make – Or Save – Him Money”

  1. WIIFM--"What's in it for me." So useful applied to resume writing. Everyone unconsciously asks that question. I learned that from another AWAI article.

    Jiivanii Dent

  2. I always seem to need a new resume. This is one skill that most should have.

    Joe the Third

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