Resume Help: Q&A with HR Analyst Erin Osterhaus12/25/2013
Addison Group is excited to welcome Erin Osterhaus for a Q&A on resume help. Erin is the HR Analyst at Software Advice, where she conducts market research on HR systems. She joined Software Advice after earning an M.A. in German and European Studies from Georgetown University. She focuses on the HR market, offering advice to industry professionals on the best recruiting, talent management, and leadership techniques. When she’s not writing about up-and-coming trends in HR, she’s reading novels or traveling to exotic locations (or both). Feel free to connect with Erin on LinkedIn.
What kind of numbers are best to include in a resume?
The kind of number you include will depend on the type of job you performed, and the type of goals you achieved. If you’re in sales and have a quarterly quota you have to hit, percentages will be in your best interest. For instance, Sarah may have closed $500,000 in a quarter, while Sally closed at $2 million. While Sally might look superior to Sarah when viewing the raw numbers, Sarah actually achieved 105 percent of her goal, while Sally only achieved 95 percent of hers.
On the other hand, percentages could be misleading if used incorrectly. I might grow my company’s Twitter following from 10 to 50 followers–meaning an increase of 400%–but if a recruiter were to ask me for the hard numbers, they might see this type of accomplishment on a resume as willfully misleading. You should just be mindful of these factors when crafting your resume.
How can numbers give you an advantage in the hiring process?
As Devin Albert, a technology account manager at Oracle, said, “Sales is a numbers world. When I spoke the language of the interviewer, I sounded more reputable and had a stronger argument.”
While putting numbers on her resume helped Albert snag more interviews for sales positions, it can also work for job seekers in other industries. By including numbers on your resume that highlight your productivity and contribution to your past employers’ goals, you demonstrate a sort of business savvy and professional demeanor that lets potential employers know you have what it takes to succeed in the future.
This strategy can obviously work for job seekers with backgrounds in sales, but what about other industries?
For those in other industries that may have outputs that are not as easy to quantify, numbers can still help your case. Say you work in marketing or journalism. Share how many articles you produced per month, how large your readership was. Did you grow your company’s social media following? By how much?
Numbers on a resume are applicable in almost all industries. Just think of what your deliverables were in past positions, and quantify them in a way that demonstrates your productivity levels.
You also suggest to include bullet points on your resume, but not all applicant tracking systems can read bullets. Should job seekers focus on editing their resume for machines or for recruiting managers?
According to our in-house recruiter here at Software Advice, Bethany Perkins, the most important thing is to make sure your resume is very well organized and easy to skim for key points. There’s no way to know how–or even if–a prospective employer’s ATS will parse your resume. You should just know that most modern systems won’t have much of an issue with bullet points.
However, if you’ve created a complex infographic resume, most ATSs won’t be able to parse it, so you might consider also creating a more standard resume just in case. Most newer online applications will allow you to upload more than one file, so you can upload both your easily parsed (albeit boring) resume along with your beautiful graphic one. According to Perkins, “As far as bullet points go, I don’t want to live in a world where candidates are afraid to submit a well-organized resume just to please a machine. Machines don’t hire people (yet), so you should think about the hiring manager who will look at it and make sure you impress them.”
Many people suggest including hyperlinks in your resume, but when printed out, these hyperlinks become useless. Does linking to past work in a resume provide any benefits?
Hyperlinking is great, but embedding those hyperlinks in other text isn’t. Putting a hyperlink on your resume enables hiring managers to click through to your website or online portfolio quickly and easily. They’re busy people, so making things quick and easy is in your best interest.
But if you embed that hyperlink into other text, once they have a paper copy of your resume in hand they won’t be able to get to that website. It’s best to keep the text as the URL (www.bethanyperkinsportfolio.com) and hyperlink that rather than putting something like “Bethany’s Portfolio.” That way the link is useful whether it’s viewed on a PDF or paper resume.
(Bonus: If the link to your past work is a really long, unwieldy URL, use a website like tinyurl.com to shorten it for your resume.)