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- Pitching Your Skills in Your Resume: Metrics that Work
Pitching Your Skills in Your Resume: Metrics that Work
Thank you for reading the EdSkipper, Skip’s newsletter about skipping from education to education-aligned careers. Every Saturday, I send out a list of curated remote jobs. Premium subscribers receive two additional emails a month with industry insights and advice to help you apply more competitively to the jobs you’re passionate about.
After you’ve tailored your resume bullet points, you still have another resume-related task to do: pitching yourself to the recruiter.
You might think you’ve just done that by sharing all the (relevant) skills you have. But skills only tell a recruiter part of the story. They tell the recruiter what you can do. They don’t tell a recruiter how well you do those tasks. It’s only half a pitch.
That’s where metrics come in — they allow you to demonstrate quantifiable and unambiguous results of what you did. They complete the circle: “I did these steps,” and “I did them because I wanted to achieve this kind of result — and I did!”
Here’s an example of why you need to share results in your resume. This bullet point showed up in my inbox this week (from a professional resume writer, quoting a resume she’d written for a teacher): “Host parent teacher conferences quarterly to keep family members informed on student’s performance and any other important information related to their education.”
The goal of this bullet is to show how regularly the educator communicated with parents (an important stakeholder), which is, of course, a key piece of building trust in relationships. These are all the components folks say are important for Customer Success roles, for example. And I see many resumes that share relationship-based tasks in a similar way.
But I cringed when I read it.
I cringed because it shares a very common task that all educators do and it didn’t share any information about why this educator did it any differently from those other educators. In other words, it failed both aspects of the pitch: showing off what you can do and showing off why you can do it differently.
And this is why metrics are important they help you differentiate yourself from other educators who do similar tasks.
What’s in this issue:
The Missing Metrics in Educator’s Resumes
A Strategy for More Impactful Metrics (premium subscribers only)
Using this Strategy to Make Soft Skills Pop (premium subscribers only)
Because metrics are so important, everyone scrambles to find numbers to communicate their effectiveness in the classroom. Then I see fuzzy or irrelevant metrics and teachers stress about their metrics because they know they don’t adequately reflect their impact.
Something is missing from this discussion.
In today’s newsletter, I want to think about metrics by thinking about it in terms of a two-part pitch that shows evidence for our skills and differentiate our superpowers from others who have similar skills.
One reason I think many metrics bullet points fall flat is that the bullet point isn’t describing a very interesting part of their skills in the first place. The example I started with is a good example of this problem.
But another problem I see in 90% of the resumes I review (a totally made up metric!) is that the metric also isn’t very interesting.
Take this bullet point:“Designed and developed digital and in-person learning for 78 students so that 91% of students met or exceeded grade level targets by the end of the year.”
While this bullet point has a metric — and a metric that clearly indicates success — I’m not convinced it gives a recruiter much information to decide if they want to interview this candidate rather than any of the others who applied.
For two reasons:
1) The metric is incomplete — we don’t know anything about these students, including whether their 91% success rate was on par with previous years (what if it was lower?) and so we can’t evaluate how much of their success was due to the teacher’s interventions or if a new student entered the classroom a week before the test. And, what about the 9% who didn’t meet grade level — does that show a lack of success on the teacher’s part? (Of course not — often those students improved two grade levels but started the year three behind so still aren’t caught up yet.)
2) The entire bullet describes the most basic task a teacher does — curriculum development — but also doesn’t give a lot of information about whether they’re adapting existing curriculum, creating curriculum from scratch, using PowerPoint versus Articulate, or any of those other aspects of curriculum work that demonstrate the actual skills and expertise that are required.
In other words, the details in the bullet point aren’t tightly correlated to the metric being assessed and the actual work involved in accomplishing those results.
This is understandable. I think this focus on metrics often leads educators astray. Education metrics and business metrics often don’t align well (even at mission-driven companies working in education). And educators often don’t have as much control over the ones that would align well (attendance, graduation rates, etc). Yet we’re told we need metrics, so we grasp for the numbers we have, even if those numbers don’t feel right.
I’ve come to realize that one of the major reasons that our metrics are so bland is that they aren’t paired with impactful details in the bullet points. I think a lot of times we choose a metric based on whether we have data for it or not rather than intentionally finding the outcomes that demonstrate our alignment with a position.
When we dig into our workflows and pull out those impactful moments, showcasing our unique value for an employer suddenly because much easier to do, regardless of whether we share the quantitative or qualitative results of our efforts.
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