Category Archives: Uncategorized

When looking at the results changes the results

A biologist told me, “One chipmunk was trap crazy. That’s a technical term. Every time I set out an array of traps that one chipmunk ran right into one of the traps.” Wildlife biologists have to deal with the strange changes that happen when they measure something.

The mere act of measuring changes the thing being measured. That is the basis of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Tracking performance alters what happens. For instance, I worked on one set of computer programs where the programmers were paid per line of each program. Those were the longest programs I have ever seen.

As a salesman I was once rewarded for each call I made. I made a whole lot more calls but sold no more of the product. I was gaming the system. I was winning the contest and losing my job.

So how does this get you a new job or a raise?

Bosses want performance. They use reasonable, useless, and ridiculous metrics to decide what your performance was. That is true whether it is a hiring manager at a job you want, or your present boss.

First: Figure out what is the most important measuring stick

Second: Figure out what will keep your boss (or hiring manager) happy.

You should know and care about every measurement of your performance that your boss takes. It is absolutely critical to decide which are the actual critical measurements. Most fall into one or more of three categories.

  1. Metrics that your boss cares about
  2. Metrics that a future employer would care about
  3. Metrics that are measured and essentially useless

Be prepared to fail on the minor measurements to win a spectacular success on the critical measurements. Keep a record of how well you do on the most critical measurements.

Try to find how to turn your metrics into something your boss cares about or a future employer would care about. Sometimes this is changing the language to being more generally applicable. Other times, it’s showing how useful having that metric is.

What YOU decide to pay the most attention to will change how you work. You have to concentrate on the measurements that will get you to your end goal. Again, the mere act of measuring will change the thing being measured. That is the basis of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Figure out how to use that to reach your goals.

Something To Do Today

Do you know what you want out of your job? Money, a promotion, free time or a place to hang out? Write in your job journal what the most critical measurements are to help you reach that goal.

Showing awesome customer service on your resume

I’m almost a broken record here. You can serve the consumer better than anyone else in existence and no one will notice. People notice numbers because it quantifies how good they were.

Image result for peter drucker quotes quality

What have you done that a customer is willing to pay for? What did you do that went beyond those expectations?

Big killer: what did your company get out of it?

Customer service is great, but you have to be able to show what it did for the company.

  1. It kept a customer around that was considering leaving
  2. It got a customer to recommend the company, getting new clients
  3. It got a customer to increase their spending with the company
  4. You were able to charge more for the service
  5. Cut down wait time for customers (increasing worker efficiency)

These are just a few. Make sure you attach a specific numeric value to each of these. Exact numbers catch eyes on resumes. If you started a change in the company that led to any of those, include that as well. Take credit.

Whenever you make a change or improvement, record it. When there’s a problem, write down how you fixed or improved the situation. Even if you’re only following what others suggest, take credit.

Something To Do Today

In your job journal, track screw ups and how you improved service. Report it to your boss.

By the way, have you been giving reports to your boss? Go back over last week and write a report of how well you did and turn it in. Now do that every week. Your boss will appreciate getting information he can use to show how well his team is doing.

How to show increased revenue on your resume

The CEO of an internet marketing company told me that he can give detailed reports of how successful his campaigns are. He offers the reports to all the marketing managers who hire him. Often they say, “We don’t want your reports. Measurable results don’t matter. We are going to spend the money and get long term results you can’t measure.”

Profits, Revenue, Business, Income, Finance, Growth

I think those marketing managers are really saying, “I’m afraid to report how much I increase revenue because I’ll be fired if it is too low.”

Salespeople and people who work for customers at an hourly rate can all figure out exactly how much money they bring in for their company. Most do not track the figure over time.

They worry about getting paid and then throw away the information.  Every dollar they generate should be tracked, recorded, reported and bragged about in the long term.

Even if you are not in sales or directly billable, go about your day thinking about how your actions generate money. An accountant who suggests expanding a line of business has generated revenue and should take credit for it. A clerk who gets slow customers to pay up has generated revenue.

Have you given leads to salespeople? Did you assist in sales presentations? How many people did you sign up for the new marketing program? Many people bring in revenue and never think about it. I would hire the guy who says, “I HELPED bring in $180,000 last year”, over the one who says, “I worked really hard”.

Remember, big numbers sell resumes.

Make sure and write down what you did to bring in new revenue. Every month, quarter and year you should report it and put it in your job journal. Estimates are fine. And put it on your resume. It will set your resume apart. It may just be the thing that gets you an interview.

 Something To Do Today            

Spend a full day noting down the ways you help bring in money. The projects you work on and the individual things you do all count. Take credit for your team’s accomplishments too.

How to show cost cutting and budget savings on your resume

Shopping, Spending, Till Slip, Purchase, Retail, Shop

How much did you save at your last trip at the grocery store? I’ve got no clue what I saved either. Maybe you can look at the bottom of the receipt where it says “Total savings: -3.46” before your total.

Even that’s not the way to show savings. What was the budget when you went to the store? If you had $50 budgeted and spend $40, that’s 20% below budget.

Better than money: TIME

How much time did you give yourself to go to the store? An hour? If you make it back in 15 minutes, you just saved 25%.

Ask your manager how long it’s supposed to take each person to finish a project. Find out how much you and your team are saving on each project by completing them early. Make sure your boss knows it. Put it on your resume.

As a network technician you know that last year the network was down 110 hours during work hours. This year it was only down 10 hours. You cut network down time by 100 hours. You also kept 120 clerks from wasting 100 hours.

In other words, you cut wasted clerical time by 12,000 hours as a network technician. Report the hours and estimate the savings of a bare minimum of $120,000 to your boss. He will want to brag about it to his boss too.

Does that sound impressive? It should. That’s why you want it on your resume.

You suggested and/or made a programming change that allowed the company to reassign 3 people to new jobs. You saved the company the wages of all those people. Figure it out and take credit for every dollar.

Is it $30,000 x 3 = $90,000 or is it $60,000 x 3 = $180,000 ? If you tell your boss how much you saved, he may change the number a little, but he will certainly report the savings to his boss. You should put it on your resume.

Big numbers stand out more than percentages. Say $12,400 instead of 8.3%. They’re more impressive and seem more real. Even if you have minor savings, it shows that you know your numbers and know what you’re talking about.

Something To Do Today

Look for ways to prove you save time and money. Ask for the budget and timeline from your boss. Then beat it.

How to show ability on your resume

How to show ability on your resume

Experts, above average people, and even those below average, all have abilities that are valuable. You have to know how to show off those abilities. Listing education, training, and courses taken always helps, but there is more you can do.

Are you a superstar?

I’ve known an expert to finish a job alone quicker than 5 competent technicians working together. In most organizations with 5 salespeople it seems that one of those salespeople always accounts for over half the total sales. If you can prove you are one of those superstars, you will find it very easy to get a job. So, PROVE IT.

  • Use numbers and facts, ratings and percentages, to prove you are an expert.
  • 3 short bullet points proving your contributions are better than 3 pages of paragraphs.
  • Put enough proof to force hiring managers to call you.
  • Make that proof the first thing they see under each past job.

Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. Give the necessary information. Don’t hide your expertise in droning paragraphs.

Are you average but valuable?

Let’s take a step back from the lofty pinnacle of being the best. An above average worker is always in demand. That means you are better than half the people you work with. There are ways to prove that.

  • Again, numbers, statistics, facts and figures will do the job. Presentation is critical.
  • Put total output figures instead of saying you were 13th out of 35 people.
  • Mention projects or teams you lead that were on time and in budget.
  • In sales mention how often you met quota. It may only be above average, but it is still impressive.
  • Mention awards, contests you won, and other things that prove you were a valuable average.

Can you prove you are valuable if you are below average?

If you are a below average performer there is still hope. You need to prove how much you are improving.

  • Have you improved your output or speed by 20%?
  • Is your group finally on track?
  • List training you have taken.

Just the desire to learn makes you better than some of your competition. If you are below average you have to prove your good attitude and your willingness to improve. Don’t just say, “I want to do…”, say what you did to prove what you “Want to do”.

There is a way to prove your ability no matter what level you are at. Numbers, figures, awards, accomplishments, learning, attitude, and personal output.

Showing your ability in your resume will get you interviews.

Something To Do Today

Use this resume planner.

Prove your ability on your resume. Don’t just show your responsibilities. Show how well you did. At the very least, show you are doing better.

How to show off the essentials on a resume

Stormtrooper, Star Wars, Lego, Storm, Trooper, Wrong
Show off what makes you a better worker

There are a lot of generic traits that people like to list on a resume. Here’s a few:

“Hard working”


“Good attitude”

“Fast learner”

“Great leader”

Writing these down is a waste on any resume. They’re useless. They’re essential for almost any job, but they’re completely useless to list.

Anyone would say they’re “hard working” or “have a good attitude” if it means getting a job. The people reading your resume know that.

If you really are one of those descriptions? Prove it.

People who love their job prove it every day. They volunteer to help, come in early, leave late. Outside of work, they’re still working in related associations, help forums, and other networks because they love their job. Someone like this is most likely going to fit “hardworking, dedicated, good attitude.”

Then they never show it on their resume.

What PROVES that you’re a hard worker? What PROVES that you’re dedicated?

Working extra hours. Working in your field in your free time. Breaking production or sales records.

Fast learning? My son was working at Five Guys as his first job years ago. He was told to watch training videos and read the manuals. He did. He showed up to work and by the end of the first day was training the guy who had already been there a week.

No one expected him to read the manuals. Especially not on his own time.

He got a raise at the end of his first week. He put up posters showing records for most potatoes chopped in a minute and other similar jobs (he held nearly all of them). He was hard working.

Shortly after starting to work for them, he was made a manager.

Those are excellent pieces for a resume. “Broke multiple production records, was training other new workers on my first day, promoted to manager after a month” are all extremely valuable to have on a resume.

Prove that you’re outstanding.

Something To Do Today

What essential skills do you have? List what you’ve done to prove it on your resume.

Second place is useless

Second place isn’t useful when hunting for a job. First place gets a job. Second place gets nothing.

That’s only after you get the interview. You need to have one of the best resumes to make it to the interview stage.

Figure out what’s different between you and the competition. Why can they get an interview when you can’t?

1 job. 100 resumes. Do the math.

80 resumes are tossed in the trash by the receptionist after a 10 second review. Another 10 get trashed after maybe a minute long read through. The remaining 10 get sent to the hiring manager. He picks out what he believes are the 3 best for interviews.

100 –> 20 –> 10 –> 3 –> 1

A vanilla, generic resume won’t get you an interview. What is the difference between you and the losers?

The first step is making it past the receptionist. They chucked 80 resumes because they looked like they were the least qualified. What makes you look qualified for the job? Put those on your resume in big, bold letters. Even if they’re so “generic” they’re expected for the job, if they can’t tell you have it easily, you could get chucked with the other 79 resumes.

Make it as easy as possible to see the basic requirements that you meet on your resume and you’ll make it past the receptionist.

The second step is getting the hiring manager to like your resume. Just like the receptionist, they’ll scan to check for minimum requirements. Then they read for attitude, ability, and something special or unique that makes you stand out.

The best things to make you stand out make you look like a “mini me”. They want someone who can do the job as well as they can, if not better. You need to be able to help with their problems.

You don’t always know what their “problems” are, but a good idea would be either staying within budget, increasing revenue, or better serving the customer. Your resume needs to show how you will help him meet his goals.

Think: what about you makes you stand out?

I wrote a resume planning book and a resume planner to go with it. It has a number of questions and ideas to help you stand out in your resume. It explains many of the types of questions you need to answer with your resume, and how to show your past experience applies to this current opening.

Focus on the best and most important parts of your resume.

Something To Do Today

Grab the resume planner and go through it step by step. It’ll take a bit to complete, but it’s necessary and worth it.

Hiding employment gaps in your resume

I may know a lot about writing resumes (I wrote the book – literally), but I occasionally see new ways to make a resume stand out.

Today I saw a fun one. A guy hadn’t been working for the last year or two. Generally, not working for more than about 8 or 9 months makes it really really hard to get any job. There are a lot of standard ways to hide that you weren’t working. For example:

Railway, Platform, Mind, Gap, Mind The Gap, Travel
Self Employed2018-2019
Most recent job2015-2018
(most recent job ends before current year)
Wal-Mart Greeter2018-2019
(irrelevant minimum wage job)
Developer at [spouse’s company]2017-2019

With these, it sounds like you didn’t want to be (effectively) unemployed. If you’re Self Employed, list your clients. Use big, exact numbers. 63,844 is better than 64,000.

If you haven’t worked at all and it’s a big gap, list any projects you’ve been working on while looking for a job. Charity work that happens to be in your field is great.  

If you have a minimum-wage job as filler, please don’t list it on your resume. It’s better to have a gap than to have something like that on your resume.

If you were kind of working for a friend or your spouses company, it doesn’t look great if they’re a small company, but it’s better than nothing. If you REALLY have been working there, use big, exact numbers. They catch eyes and make it sound like you were working.

These all work, but I’ve got a new favorite. I mentioned that I saw a new one today. The guy listed all the places he had traveled to over the last year or two, and how he was going to at least one new place a month. He had various states and monuments listed, as well as Europe, the Baja Peninsula, and more.

You can call it a sabbatical, if you want.

Most people out of a job probably can’t reasonably afford to go to Europe, but there are generally places to go touring. This is amazingly effective because it makes it seem like you WANTED to be unemployed so you could go to all of these places.

When you can’t or don’t get a job for an extended time, it looks like there is something wrong. Either you got fired for something awful, or you’re not skilled enough, or something else.

If it looks like you didn’t want a job, that you didn’t need to search for a job (because you were so wildly successful), it will help you out on your resume.

Something To Do Today

What can you put on your resume to make it sound like you wanted to be unemployed instead of desperate to get a job?

A resume planner

Sidenote: Sorry for the lack of updates. We’ve just hired a new employee and it’s been soaking a lot of time. After Thanksgiving weekend, I should be back on the regular Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Thank you for reading!

Good resumes are hard to write from scratch. Coming up with a list of jobs and responsibilities is easy. Figuring out what makes you different from everyone else is very hard.

I’ve put a resume planner up on our website.

Please offer suggestions on how I can improve it.

Go through a copy even if you already have a resume. It can help you find out ways to improve your resume.

Take some time over Thanksgiving to fill it out.

Something To Do Today                                         

Grab one of the resume planners. Does it have topics you haven’t addressed?

Grinding your gears

Steve points out issues in customer service and manufacturing and gets promoted for it. Tom pointed out those same problems last week and gets poor performance reviews and was put on probation once.

Tom said to his supervisor, “I can’t believe anyone is so stupid that they let this happen.  What kind of idiots are running this company?” His supervisor would need to be non-human to take criticism like that without getting offended.

Steve went a little easier. “I think we can save time and money if we make a few changes here. Should I go talk to the supervisor in that department to see if he thinks this would make sense?” Somehow, Steve got lauded when Tom got spurned.

Rusty, Old, Engine, Mechanical, Aged

Keep the business engine running smooth and happy

A Business Engine

An engine needs fuel, but if you let it run forever, you’ll burn out the engine without grease. If you want to destroy it faster, add sand.

Grumpy, accusatory people make the people around them grumpy. The best workers are happy to be there. They’re more productive and get work done. People who want to be at work function similarly to the grumps. They make the people around them want to be there.

Watch your attitude when it comes to problems. Are you adding sand or grease to the problem? Which is more likely to get you a raise or promotion?

Something To Do Today

Check to make sure all the improvements you started are in your job journal. Make estimates of how much money or time you’ve saved. Things like this show why you deserve a raise, and look great on a resume.