One of the greatest job search challenges people struggle with is identifying a wide range of substantive accomplishments to include on their resume. Accomplishments show what you did. Part of the difficulty lies in how companies measure performance.
Every company uses metrics to measure performance. Some companies have comprehensive metric tracking, while others use only a few measures. In either case, the metrics show the performance of an aspect of the company. With a well designed metric system, improving the individual measures will improve the bottom line of the company.
For many people, showing how they directly improved a company’s bottom line can be difficult or impossible. This is where the metrics help. You can show how you improved key areas of the company that are recognized to be drivers of the organization’s success.
For example, in the NFL, how could you assess the performance of a running back? This is made difficult by the variance in the quality of the teams and the different offensive strategies used around the league. Although a running back can have a significant effect on the success of a team, he cannot win alone. So how would you decide who is successful and who isn’t? Football, like all sports, has a number of metrics used to judge a player’s performance. For a running back, this could be yards/game, yards/carry, total yards in a season, touchdowns scored, fumbles and a host of other stats. These metrics measure individual performance and help differentiate runners.
In your career, you should identify the key metrics for your job and track them. Typically, these will be a part of your performance evaluations. Some companies publish their metrics on a regular basis so employees know how the organization is performing. This makes it easier. If your company doesn’t do this, you may have to do a little more work, but you can still show you performance.
There are a tremendous number of metrics. The Supply Chain Council has a benchmarking program with over 400 metrics to choose from. The Performance Management Group is a consulting firm that helps companies improve their metrics. They list 95 metrics they routinely use with clients. For example, PMG lists seven metrics for order fulfillment lead times:
- Customer Signature/Authorization to Order Receipt
- Order Receipt to Order Entry Complete
- Order Entry Complete to Start Manufacture
- Start Manufacture to Order Complete Manufacture
- Order Complete Manufacture to Customer Receipt of Order
- Customer Receipt of Order to Installation Complete
- Total Order Fulfillment Lead Time
If you are involved in order fulfillment in any way, you should have had an impact at least a few of these metrics. Show what you did and the effect it had on your resume. This will demonstrate your potential by showing you specific work performance.
As you review metrics and include them in your resume, you need give the reader a clear understanding of the magnitude of the impact. Going back to the NFL, a running back might talk about yards gained in a season. One running back might talk about gaining 1000 yards last season. For people unfamiliar with the NFL, this is meaningless stat. You need some context for the metric to know what it means. Adding one key piece of information, that only 16 players gained 1000 yards in the NFL last year, turns this metric into something significant.
On your resume, it is unlikely you can benchmark your performance against league stats. What you can do is benchmark yourself based on historic performance levels and the goals of the company. For example, if you work in manufacturing, you may want to highlight a fulfillment measure such as Start Manufacture to Order Complete Manufacture. You can show your performance level, perhaps three days. To make this stand out, you need to show what you did and the significance of the measure. For example:
Developed a cellular manufacturing station, a pull production system and a dedicated value stream for the highest volume product class, leading to reduced inventory and shorter manufacturing lead times, including a reduction in the Start Manufacturing to Order Complete Manufacture measure from 6 days to 3 days.
An accomplishment like this shows what the job seeker did and the tangible results they delivered. This type of bullet on a resume will help differentiate the job seeker from other manufacturing professionals. To really get the biggest impact out of this, the job seeker should put an accomplishment like this near the top of the resume. For example, the resume might start like this:
Experienced manufacturing manager with a track record of implementing process improvements and delivering cost savings.
- Lean Manufacturing: Developed a cellular manufacturing station, a pull production system and a dedicated value stream for the highest volume product class, leading to reduced inventory and shorter manufacturing lead times, including a reduction in the Start Manufacturing to Order Complete Manufacture measure from 6 days to 3 days.
This presentation will be a good attention getter. On a real resume, I would have a slightly longer summary description before the bullet and would add a couple more bullets with other accomplishments.
Take a look at the metrics used in your company and the metrics common to your industry. These can help you identify the key areas of your company that you impacted. Recognizing the areas where you have had a significant impact is the critical first step.
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