Increased resume effectiveness by 30%!
May 4, 2014 12:24 AM   Subscribe

I would like to add concrete numbers to my resume but I'm at a loss for how to go about asking for things like user retention rates, revenue, hours saved by the tool I helped build, etc. How can I ask for this information in a business appropriate way?

For example, a line that might appear on my ideal resume: "Increased user retention by 32% in the first quarter"

This summer I'll be working as a (web) design intern at a political company in DC, bringing my total number of internships up to three, with the last two spent in software development positions. I plan to start work in The Real World when I graduate next year.

What is the best way to ask for facts that I can put on my resume? Who should I talk to so that I get the clearest answer? When should I ask this question, at the end of my internship before I leave, after I leave, or another time entirely?
posted by lalunamel to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ideally, you want your internships to include a feedback session every week. Just tell the person giving you feedback sessions that you were hoping to be able to write down some quantitative data for resume purposes. If they know going into it that's what you're looking for they will be more readily able to assist you. It's normal and nothing impolite about it. That's what internships are for!
posted by chinabound at 1:40 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Hey [business manager], I'm interested in looking at how effective these projects were. I've been looking at a way to objectively measure this using Key Performance Indicators (KPI's). I was wondering if we could sit down and talk about how we were measuring these projects (retention rates? Revenue? Hours Saved?), what we were expecting, and how they actually performed? This is important to my internship, as it's what I've been tasked to do by the folks managing the program."

This basically the same conversation I pretty much have every day with marketing folks, after building websites for, well, forever. However, the results are often a bit disappointing- there's still a lot of pointless projects getting funded "because you have to have a [website | brochure | thneed]".
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:02 AM on May 4, 2014

However, the results are often a bit disappointing- there's still a lot of pointless projects getting funded "because you have to have a [website | brochure | thneed]".

Yeah, this. I was going to say, you can ask for this stuff but don't expect to get it. Websites, brochures, general info materials are difficult to quantify. In order to tally something, you need to know what you are tallying and how to do it.

I'm guessing that as an intern, you are fairly entry level? I think you'd be served well by starting to understand which business objectives are reasonable for specific scenarios and then thinking about ways things are measureable in a meaningful way.

It's tricky business. It's also unlikely that intern tasks will directly result in a quantifiable win, especially in the short term. Focus on project type, complexity of the task and markets served for your resume.
posted by amanda at 6:25 AM on May 4, 2014

I don't expect entry level staff to deliver the types of results your talking about here. Entry level staff execute tasks as directed. For example, you cited, "Increased user retention by 32% in the first quarter." Well, how exactly did you do that? Did you code the site to someone else's design and strategy? Did you do the entire thing: design, specs, code, test?

Your achievements should be parallel to your responsibilities and span of authority. If you want to quantify, then quantify what you did specifically.

After years of reading resumes, I can spot puffery from a mile away. If you claim achievements that are out of alignment to your job title, I'm going to toss out your resume as BS.
posted by 26.2 at 1:38 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

First of all, it's great that you're thinking about this! Hiring managers love to see numbers.

However I do agree with 26.2 - you need to be careful about how you put this on a resume, because an intern generally isn't going to be doing a ton to "move the needle." That said, something like "contributed x to y project which brought up z metric xx%" would be okay.

I'd talk to your manager generally in the beginning about what they are measuring and how. Mention that you'd like to learn more about these metrics and how what you do contributes to them.
posted by radioamy at 8:12 PM on May 4, 2014

+1 to 26.2 When you are measuring the performance of yourself, your group, or other departments, you will have ready access to the numbers.
posted by Jesse the K at 8:21 AM on May 5, 2014

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