Job Seekers: You Must Quantify Your Performance to Get Noticed

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If you’re not getting any bites on your resume, then today’s career expert Q&A might be just what you need. Laura Lee Rose joins us to explain how job seekers and current employees quantify their performance in order to get noticed by the right people.

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Why do job seekers & employees need to show how they’ve contributed to a company’s bottom line?

Companies are in the business to make money. If they can’t easily see how your contributions affect their bottom line, then you are an ‘at risk’ employee. Most employees do an effective job at listing their job duties, but rarely quantify their performance to their company’s mission, vision, and goals.

I think the secret to effectively quantifying your achievements is to understand what your company or industry values, what their business commitment/mission statement is, and who their clients are. First step is to understand what is important to that industry. Then compare your individual performance against those business goals. For instance, if your previous job had a business goal of 90% client retention, express your results in how you assisted in the company achieving that goal..

If you don’t know your previous companies business goals, vision, or commitments, then most businesses’ goal is to “make money” and “keep their clients satisfied.” Translate what you do in those terms.

Do you have tips on how job seekers should and should not communicate their performance to employers?

1) Recognize that the first person that reviews your resume will not be the hiring manager. As such:

    • Don’t make your resume too technical, such that the HR or recruiting screener cannot make sense of it
    • Don’t be too flowery or wordy in your prose. The hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t have the time to decipher through your words. Make it easy for the recruiter to see that your accomplishments meet the written qualifications.
    • Move the important and relevant professional skills up front. HR and recruiting screeners quickly scan many resumes a day. Make it easy for them to pass your resume forward.

2) Illustrate your business results versus just the tasks or duties. Which of these statements is more powerful?

Bad example: “8 years as a Senior Business Systems Analyst developing and supporting J2EE Manufacturing applications”

Good example: “Revamped and optimized the production process that reduced manufacturing and delivery time by 60% and implementation costs by 75%”

Bad example 2: “Led development of the Online Applicant Tracking System”

Good Example 2: “Automated the online applicant tracking system which reduced the need of 3 senior clerks to 1 intern. This new tracking system processed 10,000+ job applications annually and saved the company  $120,000/year”

3) Include true stories to illustrate your problem solving skills, your initiative, your quick-learning, and your leadership ability.

    • Most candidates will state that they are self-starters, self-motivated, quick-learners, a team player, and a great individual contributor. These are just words. It’s best to illustrate those qualities with numbers, percentages, testimonials, and awards. Once again, use stories to illustrate that your goal is to make their company successful.

4) Highlight the employment history that best supports the position that you are targeting.

    • The resume isn’t meant to be a biography of your life. You don’t need to include all of your employment history in chronological order.
    • Consider more of a Functional Resume format that highlights your professional skill set that directly ties to your target position.
    • Don’t dilute and distract the HR or hiring agent with a dozen roles and responsibilities that have nothing to do with the job description.
    • Use the terminology that the target company is using. In this electronic age, be willing to customize your resume and cover letter to every target position. Do your homework and use the same terms that are in their job descriptions.
    • Only mention the tasks that you want to do in the new position. For instance, if you have had enough of being on-call 24/7 in a technical support role, don’t advertise that  specific duty in your resume. Just keep it to a general technical support role.

(Related: The Least Painful Way to Tailor Your Resume)

What if you signed an NDA that prevents you from mentioning specific numbers — how can you communicate to potential employers what you accomplished?

The type of numbers that you will be sharing are not Company Numbers. These numbers are more associated with your own performance. Numbers associated with how you affected client retention or client satisfaction are not numbers typically under NDA. The use of % is another way to avoid NDA concerns. Reporting that you have increased efficiency by x% or increased profits by y% doesn’t tie you to corporate-specific numbers. If you have any question or concerns, make an appointment with your HR representative and ask them which numbers are under NDA coverage.

What about employees in positions with less tangible monetary outcomes — for instance, a general office assistant — what should they be communicating?

Everything can be measured. All you need to do is design and keep the right metrics. Create a customer (the people that you service) survey at the start of your performance cycle. Then keep the proper metrics to illustrate your performance or improvement against those criteria.

For instance, if you perform general office duties, highlight how many daily calls come in, how many questions you answer and screen, how many calls you fielded on your own without troubling others, how many times your work has been returned to you with mistakes, how much time your new Q&A document saved the company, how taking the initiative and placing your Q&A document on your company website increased customer satisfaction and reduced first line help and support calls, how your new automated filing process saved the team time, etc. Time can always be converted to money saved or spent. People get paid a salary per hour – with those equations, you can easily calculate the money you saved the company.

The key is to find the right metric to track to make your performance measurements. If you cannot figure these metrics out, then meet with your mentor or business coach for ideas.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about this topic?

I currently have a full toolkit with audios, videos, webinars, articles and lessons plans that discuss all of the above. The toolkit is called the Professional Development Toolkit. Please contact me,, for more information.

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ZipRecruiter Career Expert Laura RoseAbout the Expert

Laura Lee Rose, author of TimePeace: Making peace with time and the Professional Development Toolkit, is a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management, and career development. Laura helps driven individuals take either their next corporate step or the leap into entrepreneurship.

You can connect with Laura on her website, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.

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At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

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