Learn To Quantify And Qualify Your Achievements In Your IT Resume

When you’ve worked within the same organization for a number of years, it can be a struggle to position yourself for a new job outside the familiarity of your company’s structures, processes, and methods. As you begin to explore new opportunities, you will find that working on your resume will present you with a number of challenges. The purpose of this article is to guide you through this often frustrating and unsettling process so that you can create a resume that truly describes your accomplishments and is appealing to hiring managers.

Rather than looking at this as an arduous process, it should be fun. It’s all about discovery as you learn to describe the capabilities and tools that you’ve acquired, the process improvements that you’ve made, the value of the quality assurance and testing that you’ve done, and much more.

With typical resume writing advice, you’ll encounter statements such as “Quantify your results to emphasize your accomplishments and provide proof of your potential value.” It would be great if writing your resume were really that easy. The reality is that in many large corporations it can be quite difficult to link IT projects directly to the bottom line. How then, do you demonstrate and quantify the value you’ve provided?

Let’s think about some of the questions you could ask yourself to try to uncover your quantitative and qualitative results:

•    What specific deliverables were produced by your projects?

•    Who utilizes the product or service and for what purposes?

•    What can the business do now that it couldn’t do prior to your project?

•    If this is a technical achievement: How does the technical team benefit?

•    Did you make the user organization more efficient by saving time, money, or other resources? Can you estimate the savings as hours, days, dollars, or other types of units?

•    Did you make the user organization more effective by increasing quality, throughput, or productivity? Can you estimate the improvement as a percentage of overall gain?

•    Did you help the user organization to avoid or mitigate the risk of noncompliance, process failure, or other undesirable outcomes? Can you estimate the probability and severity of the risks?

Image by Gangplank HQ

Understand that you’re not really seeking “proof” of value here. The goal is to provide credible and supportable evidence of value creation. You don’t necessarily need hard numbers when realistic estimates serve the purpose.

Below is an example of a Boeing achievement that should have been focused on the qualitative results but, instead, it is all about the technology. When reading these statements, try to think about the achievement in its simplest terms and eliminate those parts of the statements that are just noise.

•    Designed, developed, and delivered software and hardware for a Stringer Dimensional Measurement, using “C” and assembly language on a 68000 single-board computer with an A/D board and a PC. This system measured the dimensions of empennage stringers for 777s and compared the data with CATIA to produce an automated accept/reject report.

We can create a great achievement statement, once we understand the full story. The software developer designed, developed, and delivered a tool to measure the dimensions on an aircraft stringer so they could be compared to the data in a 3D CAD system, using an automated accept/reject report.

•    Designed, developed, and delivered a tool to measure and automatically compare the dimensions on an aircraft stringer to data in a 3D CAD system, using an accept/reject report.

Below are examples of quantitative statements:

•    Led an international project team in developing Internal Update Center (IUC), a web interface that enabled product access to synchronized FTP collections distributed in 3 countries. Completed project on schedule and 5% under budget.

•    Designed a rigorous testing methodology that was adopted as a “best practice” global standard for online applications.Increased product quality, while accelerating update speeds by 65%.

•    Envisioned and implemented major productivity and efficiency improvements that saved engineering time and decreased product turnaround time by 50%.

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