When I began a complete overhaul of my resume not long ago, under the tutelage of a wonderful career coach, the first thing she taught me was to quantify everything possible.

Her first instruction for my resume rewrites was always to add numbers wherever we could: How many? How quickly? For how many people? Made of how many pieces? To raise how much? To sell how many?

But then she made us ask a question about every resume bullet point that seemed, at first, quite difficult to answer:

So what?

It seemed like the resume project had evolved into a journalism project.

We had the Who (us), the What (the job), the When (how long ago), the Where (the company) and even the How (the numbers) but we still needed the Why.


To make your resume really tell the tale of your work life in a way that will make a hiring manager want to meet you in person—and that really is what a resume should be used for—you need all of the elements of a good story.

The Why is where you go from a cut-and-dried list to a three-dimensional description of your experience – the passion you brought to the purpose behind your work.

So what?

To increase the effectiveness of internal communications.
To build better relationships between sales staff and customers.
To bring a marketing strategy into the 21st century.
To make a difference.

That’s why you really did what you did. Tell that whole story and get those interviews.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative