Most resumes and biographies list the individual's activities, outputs, or possessions like in ... I have a master's degree ... I am a VP in a large company ... I lead a 500-person team ... I've published 5 articles ... These items make the individual and his/her family proud. But how do readers react? Readers likely have one or more of these questions in their minds:
- "So what?"
- "What's the big deal?"
- "What's in it for me?"
Such questions pose a challenge to the traditional resume. The test might fail even when you have measures (team size, for example) and associated numbers. India's Mahatma Gandhi fasted a certain number of times as part of his campaign. Whether the number was 5 or 50 is not as important as the outcome he is credited to have achieved.
So, I'm suggesting that we explore beyond the activity/output/possessions boundary. Try outcomes. Try impact. Outcomes and impact are already used in business through frameworks such as results based management.
Depending on what you've been doing, measures/numbers may be available at the Output (or rarely the Outcome) stage, but Impact, in most cases, will not have any associated measures/numbers at all.
When you make outcomes/impact claims, believability is a factor readers will expect you to address. And here's what you do: Make your claims verifiable in the public domain through sources like media reports, awards, articles, etc.
Develop a compelling way to articulate your outcomes and impact:
- Consider the stakeholder-view (how did you impact your team members rather than how many people you had in your team)
- Provide a drill-down, showing traditional info such as activities/outputs/possessions
- Provide verifiable evidence for each outcome/impact claim
- Provide background information that highlights the value and uniqueness of your contribution (did you innovate in an innovation-unfriendly culture?)
If you find this interesting and want to get started, great! Outcomes/impact are a long-term thing that might take 5 to 10 years or more to achieve. But your current focus on outcomes/impact will help you get your priorities right, use up your full potential, and make a positive difference in the lives and careers of others (people and organizations).
Want to see my impact scorecards? In the post below titled "Thanks to...," click the items highlighted in yellow.
And let me know what you think!