The ONE Mistake I see in 95% of Resumes

The one mistake in resumes

Over the last three years I’ve looked at thousands of resumes from every country in the world you can think of. I’ve seen resumes that are ten pages long, ones that have no information, well designed ones and ones that look like they were designed by a child.

When it comes to resumes, I’m confident that I have seen them of all shapes and sizes.

The trend? There’s definitely ONE THING that I see 95% of people doing incorrectly on their resume.

Responsibilities Instead of Results

The biggest mistake I see people make on their resume is that they list their responsibilities instead of the results that they achieved. They talk about their day to day activities instead of their accomplishments.

“I was responsible for generating leads and managing conversations, focusing on driving users through the sales funnel and optimizing conversions”


“I was responsible for generating leads and managing conversations, focusing on driving them through the sales funnel and optimizing conversions. I averaged 4 deals/month with an average deal size of $x, from y clients, so my conversion rates were about z%”

In this 2nd approach we focus on WHAT DID YOU DELIVER?


This is hands down the most common mistake that I see when looking at resumes.

No results, numbers, or metrics. No percentages.

Take a look at your resume right now – how many numbers do you have in there? This is a good litmus test of how well your resume is structured.

Example Resume

Let’s take an example of a client that I recently worked with. He was a Business Process Optimization specialist who helped his company to implement a new internal system.

When I took a look at his resume, it said the following…

On first glance, it looks like a solid resume. There’s nothing here that stands out to me that I would say “This resume looks like crap!”

It’s well written, clearly displays his responsibilities, and gives you a feel for what he worked on while he was there.

BUT, there’s no results or metrics.

He implemented a BPM solution, but in how much time? Analyzed current processes, but what did he find?

This would be more effective if it was shown as “Analyzed processes – found _____ inefficiencies. Implemented a new BPM to tackle this problem. After solution was implemented we experienced ___ results.”

We came up with the following questions

What was the staffing reduction?
Number of touch points reduced?
Number of days cut off the process duration?
Efficiency gained?
Number of processes reduced?
Number of inquiries from customers or agents before vs. after?
General customer service score improvements?
Increased profitability and sales?

All of these questions are aimed at helping him to analyze the results of what he worked on. It’s great to implement a BPM solution, but if it didn’t achieve any results, what was the point?!

He didn’t have to necessarily use or answer all of these questions, but it’s the thinking process. What are the potential areas that could have been affected, and can I get numbers to show why I am awesome?

You want to show a business that you implemented something in a time efficient manner, and more importantly, either grew revenue or reduced spend/ time wasted on systems and processes.

2nd Draft

Resume after my work

You see all those numbers!!!??? He showed the scale of the project that he implemented (no small scale project!). Demonstrated how he projected to save the company 5mn combined. Now he has results. His implementation was so good that he was invited to speak on behalf of the company.


The best part is that THEY WERE ALWAYS THERE! He just didn’t put it on his resume.

It always pains me when I see people do this. They have already achieved the results that make them look awesome, but they just left it out of the resume entirely.

Another Example

Here’s another example from when I worked as a social media manager and did marketing/advertising campaigns…

“Managed all social media channels while Implementing paid and unpaid Facebook campaigns to promote brand awareness. Raised Facebook likes from 5250 to 18000 and Twitter followers from 350 to 1500. Managed advertising campaigns on Google AdWords; drove CPC down from $0.43 to $0.09 and CTR up from 3.96% to 13.76%. Created and tracked data for e-mail marketing campaigns and averaged a 30% open rate and 10% sales conversion rate. Generated content in the forms of blog posts, content writing, and advertising materials while using SEO techniques to increase page rankings on google; drove Alexa ranking down from 149,000 to 60,000. Handled all partnerships and collaborative initiatives. Assisted in the launch of the “RidesafeBLR” campaign, in partnership with Uber, to promote safe driving in Bangalore.”

What do we see here? Numbers numbers numbers. Results and accomplishments. Here’s what I had to do, and here was the result of those efforts.

If you have a job in marketing or sales and don’t show me numbers, that’s how I know you’re not any good at marketing or sales. Numbers and metrics are what show me if you helped me GROW MY BUSINESS.

This is relevant to EVERY JOB IN THE WORLD

Sales – what did your sales funnel look like? How many calls did you have to make/day? How many sales did you make per month/per quarter? How did this compare to other team members? How long were your sales cycles? Average deal size?

Same with writing/blogging. How many articles did you produce in what amount of time? How much traffic did those articles generate? How many leads did they generate? Did your blogs generate conversions?

Data science? What did you analyze, and what did you suggest? What were the results of your findings? Did your suggestions save money or generate new ideas that led to more revenue?

You get the point. It’s all about showing your results. If you talk about results, the responsibilities take care of themselves.

Closing thoughts

I don’t care what your position is, if you’re only focused on your responsibilities (design, writing, etc), and you don’t care about the results of those efforts on the overall growth and health of the business, you’re not someone who I want on my team.

Most importantly, structuring your resume in this way it tells me a lot about your mindset. It shows me that you are RESULTS ORIENTED. You have a mindset that is focused on delivering results and helping my business grow. It exemplifies that you are hungry to prove yourself and DELIVER VALUE, rather than just collecting a paycheck for fulfilling your “responsibilities.”

You know how they say most people screen a resume in 10 seconds or less? When I screen a resume, this is what I look for. If I see someone who has metrics, numbers, and clearly displayed results, they immediately get shortlisted. I know that they have the mindset of someone who is ready to deliver results. They are metric oriented.They not only know their responsibilities, but they are focused on delivering on their mission.

Once you have nailed this part of your resume, make sure to check out other Misc. Tips for Your Resume, as well as How To Craft a Killer Linkedin.

Best of luck in your hunt from here!

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