Reading through a stack of resumes is boring… like sitting and listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher ramble all day long.
A big part of our advice on this blog has been to help you stand out as a job applicant so you can get noticed in a sea of faceless resumes.
This advice isn’t going to be any different.
You see, the reason reading resume after resume is so boring is because they’re all painfully the same. Sure, one person may have worked a year longer than another, but other than these tiny differentiators, it can be a tough call who will be a good fit for a new position because 99.99999% of all resumes lack any hint of pizzazz or personality.
The good news for you is that taking an extra 30 minutes to an hour on your resume to quantify your experience into numbers and emphasize the things you’ve accomplished will almost guarantee that your resume stands out from the rest.
Why Results-Based Resumes Rock
Results-based resumes showcase the results you’ve worked hard for and your value as a potential employee.
They show that you’re a go-getter—not just another desk-sitter and clock-watcher.
Results-based resumes work incredibly well for people who’ve had a slew of short-term contract positions and internships, or for people who explored something unrelated for a while. They’re also great for people who want to turn their hobbies into a career, because while they might not have a background of impressive ‘professional’ titles to slap on a piece of paper, they have accomplished some real things of worth.
How to Quantify Your Results
If you’ve already got a resume written out, take a look at it.
For each position you have listed, pick out one to two things you did that really blew the socks off your boss or your clients.
If you were a web developer at an SEO agency, how much faster did the websites load once you were finished with them?
If you worked as a security support analyst, how much time and money did the systems you put in place save your clients?
The types of numbers your future boss will care about the most boil down to three types of statistics: money, time, and percentile improvement. When you quantify your results, make sure it’s in one of these terms.
The CAR Format
CAR is an acronym to help you format and present the results-based sections of your resume. It stands for:
If you stepped into a contract position and their internal database was a total mess, that’s your challenge. Action is what you did to fix it. And the results can include quantifying the improvement made on the database.
Formatting the Resume
Formatting the resume is important. For the most part, you don’t have to vary too far away from what people typically recommend for a standard resume.
Here’s the sections of a typical resume:
- Name & Contact Information
- Executive Summary
- Core Proficiencies
- Professional Experience
If you like, you can merge the executive summary and core proficiencies into one section (still labeled along the lines of ‘executive summary’) that acts as a host for keywords present in the job description and a teaser to pique the interest of the HR manager to read further and set your resume in the ‘yes’ pile.
The professional experience section is where you want to shift your focus. Instead of being headstrong about doing everything in reverse chronological order and listing everything by job title, company, dates, and job responsibilities, you can make each section based on a specific ‘CAR.’
You’ll still want to mention what your job was an where you worked at the time, but those are secondary factors in comparison with the wow factor of the quantified result you were able to achieve that you’re showing off.
Considering the ATS
Honestly, unless you follow our advice and get to email your resume directly to your immediate supervisor, your resume will probably go through an applicant tracking system, or ATS.
These systems are there to scan your resume for keywords and to parse out details on your work history… which means they’re tailored for a typical reverse-chronological resume instead of your kick-ass results-based resume.
If you’re left with no other option than to submit your resume through an ATS, then you actually might want to format your results-based resume in the same way you’d format your typical resume.
The thing you’d want to change is the bullet points under each position you list to still show the CAR format of presenting information, with a heavy focus on the numbers. You might even want to bold the end results so they stand out more.
If you can work around the ATS and present a better formatted results-based resume to a real person, then do it. But if not, this is a nice secondary option that still focuses on results and adds some pizzaz to your resume and makes you more memorable than everyone else.
Be Proud of Your Resume – Flaunt it Shamelessly
Now that you’ve got an incredible results-based resume, be proud of it and flaunt it shamelessly in front of your network and anyone hiring for a job related to your skill set.
Send it in for the jobs you want, knowing that you’ve got a much higher chance of landing yourself in the ‘yes’ pile that gets called in for an interview than the hundreds of other lame, boring resumes that don’t showcase anything special.
If you want some help making your results-based resume even more impressive, check out our Career Services for scheduled career workshops and individual career advising.