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Your resume should be about your career accomplishments.

And not.

Some things need explaining in the resume to provide context about your work. What are those things? Let’s take a look.

1. Companies

What people think companies do is rarely what companies do.

Take smaller companies. With all of the made-up company names — to avoid lawsuits from similar-sounding names — it is hard to tell what a particular company actually does. So you take one sentence in the resume to explain it.

Or, take a big company. There are so many divisions in the company with tens of thousands of employees. Not a person could tell what you do in that company unless you help provide context.

“AT&T is the largest data communications carrier in the United States. The cellular division provides products and services to businesses and consumers, from data networking to phones.”

If you work in the cellular division, that gets the reader of your resume right to the business line where you work.

By helping guide your reader to what your company does, it helps them relate to what their company does. And helps them fit you into one of their roles…like the one you are doing the interview for.

2. Scale

The scale is an important factor to explain as it helps the person reading your resume understand your role.

Think about managing four people versus managing ten. Or working on an in-state initiative versus a country-wide initiative. Or a global initiative. Each of those characteristics helps your reader understand the complexity and difficulty of the role.


It allows your reader to ask pertinent questions about your work – which is exactly what you want.

3. Budget

If you are responsible for dollars, you need to state the total number of dollars you are responsible for controlling.

A hundred thousand is vastly different than a hundred million. It tells the person reading your resume if the position you are interviewing for would be a big step up for you, a downgrade for you, or just right. Providing what the budget is used for also helps provide context around what you are managing to make the numbers.

Even if you don’t provide dollars, you can provide a percentage — you were responsible for 100% of the department’s budget for X.

Businesses — and hiring managers — want you to help them achieve their business goals. By providing the budget, it shows that you can manage money, which will help them meet their goals.

4.Business Results

Not only describing your business result from your work, having numbers associated with the result helps provide context to your resume reader.

“Decreased expenses” is a great business result. It is not as powerful as saying “decreased expenses by 3%.” Which is not as powerful as saying “decreased expenses by $100,000 or 3% of the total department’s budget.”

Putting numbers around the business result not only helps show the benefit but provides context around the work needed to achieve the result.

Why Provide Context and Explanations Like This?

One of the biggest hurdles of a person asking interview questions is trying to get you to talk about something similar to what they need you to do. Sure, they can explain what they do, but that doesn’t help them know if you can do the work and produce their business results.

You want them to have as many easy ways as possible to create questions that help them see your work relating to what they need to have done.

Explaining what companies do helps them bring up similar work they do. Showing you can manage a budget gets them to ask about what you did to achieve your budget goals — and automatically grants you respect for managing whatever that number is on the resume.

The scale helps them understand the complexity of the work you do and gives you authority around the work and the teamwork needed to get to that scale.

And numbers in business results, outside of being worthwhile in and of themselves, allow the person to ask about the result which gives you the ability to share a hero’s journey from the problem to tasks taken, mountains moved, just to achieve those business results.

It’s like I say: Bait the interviewer to ask good questions. You do that through the context of your resume.

Written By
Scot Herrick is the owner of CubeRules.com where he helps people land a job, have job success, and build employment security. Learn about his philosophy on resumes here.

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