I’m confident that all HR professionals are aware of the continuing trend for HR to effectively measure their contribution. This is done through reporting on key metrics in the business such as turnover, absence, recruitment rates etc. With this vital and overt activity it does surprise me that so many HR CV’s lack any metrics that demonstrate the individual’s contribution.

Here are a few tips on how to use metrics effectively in your CV….

Let me just start with a message to those who are not currently measuring their work. My experience tells me that metrics will only become ever more important to demonstrate and prove your effectiveness, so waste no time and start acting on them now. Before you commence any piece of work or project, stop and think how you are going to prove that piece of work has been beneficial to the business. Take a baseline measurement (i.e. what’s the current state? Absenteeism may currently be 12%), then be sure to set an objective figure to reduce it to perhaps 9%. You cannot assess or prove success unless you measure the current state before you start. In these lean times it is critical that each piece of work does add business value, so let’s think about this before we start. If you can’t see the benefit, then you should really question why you are doing it!

In my view the CV should be built up in several layers ensuring your career facts are clearly articulated; you are demonstrating the key HR competencies; and the work you have been doing has added value and would therefore be attractive to a prospective new employer. It is this last layer that metrics fit into.

We have to look at CV achievements in a similar way to how we’d present a competency-based answer. You’d communicate the context, the actions you took and finally the result or outcome. Look at your current CV and see how many of your achievements actually demonstrate an outcome. Relatively few I’d wager. From a recruiter’s point of view it’s one of the first things they consider. Is this person giving me evidence that they have not only done the job, but they have done it well? A metric, or measured outcome would give this evidence.

Let’s compare the following two statements which could appear in a CV:

  1. Responsible for working with line managers to reduce current absence rates.
  2. By partnering managers, I gained a good understanding of the reasons for high absence. I ran awareness sessions, coached managers and reinforced the absence policy across the business. This directly led to a reduction in absence by 7% over a 6 month period.

Statement 1 is what I see a lot of. What does it tell me? Well, it shows that you were tasked with reducing absence and nothing more. The CV is a place to briefly demonstrate that you actually did have an impact, so statement 2 gives a snapshot of how you achieved a beneficial result. Which of these two statements would you be drawn to?

The big question, though, is how do I articulate a measure on something that is less tangible?

Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do, especially when the benefit can get diluted ie if you run a sales training course, how much of the improved results can actually be put down to your input?

The answer lies in you again having set up some benchmark metrics at the start. In your CV you can state that there was an increase in sales of x%, but as powerful is stating that the feedback you received (or sought) from the sales team was excellent and certain elements of the training had been valuable. Quoting a commercial £x figure is the most effective, but think of alternatives of percentages, feedback comments, environmental or attitude changes, your or the function’s visibility etc.

For example:

  • I ran a two day sales training program for Sales Associates. The feedback from the delegates was excellent, especially in the way I facilitated the realistic role play exercises. The business saw an increase in sales of 5% (£70,000) over the following 3 months.

You may also quote the end outcome of some work that you had an input to, but others ultimately implemented.

  • Through accurately researching market pay rates for our IT department I presented my findings to the Management Team. This led to them being able to confidently manage the pay review.

It is essential to make your CV commercial and outputs-led, so including metrics is by far the best way to do this. Start generating metrics and measures now if you haven’t done so already, but for those who have measures and don’t have them in your CV – get them in! As long as you can substantiate those figures it will make you a far more attractive candidate to the recruiters.

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At The Career Gym we are expert at helping you craft a commercially astute CV. As ex-recruiters we know what works and what doesn’t, so call us to have a chat about how we can help you get this critical document to the top of any selection process.