In my resume consulting work with job seekers, an overlooked element to creating a truly gamechanger resume is telling the story about “what happened” because you showed up at work every day. So often, individuals in marketing and creative fields forget to capture metrics and results from literally decades of work. I’ve seen a stunned and disappointed look more than once when folks realize they’re unable to fill in the blanks because this never even crossed their mind to validate their efforts 20 years ago. This frequently happens with journalists, who have a basement full of awards and clips, but never walked down the hall to IT or sales to do some sleuthing about the outcome of their work, and how their writing perhaps converted into eyeballs, special section revenue, rankings or market share.
But reporters aren’t the only ones who wistfully realize they missed the boat on collecting critical data while they were actually still at that employer. It’s a sobering reality for marketing execs, graphic designers and communications pros, who need to IMMEDIATELY BEGIN focusing on how their output moves the needle. Think like a CFO, not the creative director: how will hiring you grow my revenue and market share, and shrink my operating expenses? Here are a few tips from the Job Bank House Mother on the kinds of deliverables you need to be squirreling away, starting . . . yesterday!
Do you have web content responsibilities? The minute you are assigned to manage web content, ask the webmaster or IT if monthly visit data is generated, and who receives that report. If you’re lucky, someone will show you how to look under the hood and run your own reports. If not, make nice to the colleague who does track that data, and ask if you could see traffic reports every so often to gauge the reach and relevance of your work. And just like a TV make-over show, it’s critical to grab the “before” stats on Top 10 most popular articles of the quarter, highest click throughs, monthly unique viewers, and overall visit traffic. The “before” stats will make the tale on how you moved the needle even more compelling.
Do you have webmaster responsibilities? Ditto. I’m amazed at the senior comms folks I run across who were never curious enough to ask to generate their web stats. And now that they’re in a job search, some of the most juicy “here’s how my work and leadership made a difference” numbers are lost forever. Remember, no one cares how many goal alignment meetings you sit through or monthly reports you run, so don’t focus on those in your resume. If you have a story to tell about e-commerce, overall pages on site, global reach, SEO rankings, then by all means grab that data and make it work for you.
Do you have SEO responsibilities? Then be able to tell the “before and after” story. On day one of a job, print your Google and other search rankings/key search terms for your employer. If all goes well, months down the road your search rankings will be at a whole new level. But only if you own the “before” data, will your story be complete.
Do you have print content responsibilities? When your resume blandly says “edit copy” or “write headlines,” who would ever know how much work you crank out? Bad news – HR will guess low, not high. Always give the reader a sense of how much work you produce weekly or monthly, such as “write an average of 15 stories a week” or “edit over 150 headlines a month.”
Do you have event or meeting responsibilities? Tell me, then, how your efforts increased attendance over the prior year’s event, how you reduced costs, how you expanded marketing reach, how you built an army of volunteers, and how much revenue or membership grew because of your involvement. And express all of this in percentages as well as raw numbers.
Do you have social media responsibilities? Folks, this just slays me: if a resume says “responsible for promoting institution through Facebook and Twitter,” and you fail to tell me how you’ve grown Likes and Followers, it shouts to me that growth and continuous improvement isn’t part of your vocabulary. Increasing FB likes and Twitter followers is the EASIEST metric to capture, as long as you remember your #1 priority on the first day of your job: print out and capture everything, because that’s your BEFORE story. New social media tracking tools are invented every week – score/rank yourself, and keep up with it every so often to drop fresh stats in a resume or cover letter.
Do you have creative (writing or graphic design) responsibilities? You too have a story to tell about increasing sales, boosting market share, creating industry buzz, driving trade show traffic, reducing the need for external vendors, saving money through clever and inexpensive design, building online views and winning awards.
Do you have newsletter responsibilities? Then tell me that newsletter comes out quarterly for 15,000 readers, is full color and is translated in three languages. The HR screeners won’t give you the benefit of the doubt when reviewing resumes. You say “newsletter” and they think “sleepy PTA flyer for 300 members,” because you didn’t inform them otherwise.
Folks in the corporate world learned long ago that advancement means being able to capture your own ROI (Return on Investment) as an employee. A little sleuthing and squirelling away, and you’ll be elevating your resume with volume, velocity and deliverables in no time.