Hopefully you know that a resume reveals who you are, what you can offer, and what you hope to get out of your professional life, now and in the future. A resume is a roadmap to finding work. When I created my first resume, I wrote it in the “I did this,” or a task-oriented format, which was standard back then. But things have changed, and now, stating information in results-oriented language has become essential. If you review your resume, you can ensure your writing captures your contributions in the workplace.

So, what is results-oriented language and why is it important? This language specifically describes what you have accomplished. It demonstrates that you didn’t just plod to work. Instead, you thought critically about what went into your jobs; you created metrics to measure your contributions, and used your skills and knowledge to attain results. Results-oriented language makes resume entries stylistically more active and immediate, while stressing competency. Oddly, in most cases, this language doesn’t seem boastful if it is realistic-sounding and verifiable.

Surprisingly, many resume templates offered on line do not use results-oriented language, and stick with the outdated “task oriented” or “process oriented” format.

Here are two examples:

  1. This website states it offers “great samples” of resumes. On the sample anthropology resume, the applicant declares:

    Wrote the monthly newspaper, reporting recent research findings and discoveries around the world.

    Pretty blah. We don’t even know if he worked with a team, how many people his newspaper reached, how large it was, its platform, and how many features he covered per issue. He could try this:

    Independently wrote a monthly on-line newspaper, expanding international readership from 500 to 1,000+, creatively investigating sources to feature five stories an issue covering innovative discoveries in anthropology and science worldwide.

    Or, if he did not increase circulation and only covered one feature per issue he could say:

    Wrote a monthly on-line newspaper with an international readership of 1000+, creatively investigating sources that covered innovative discoveries in anthropology and science worldwide. Both are more dynamic and informative than the task statement.

  2. On a website featuring an archeology resume, the applicant creates bullet points such as:

    Assist with the development of project plans and schedules

    What periods did his plans and schedules cover? Did they require much revision? How about:

    Developed 12 plans and eight schedules for 12 projects lasting from six months to two years that required minimal revision throughout each project period.

    In another bullet point he states:

    Perform floodplain and environmental reviews of FEMA PA projects worksheets

    How did FEMA benefit from his input? And why did they hire him? The entry offers no information. Instead, with facts I have invented, I propose:

    Reviewed 110 FEMA PA project worksheets to confirm residences faced seasonal flooding. FEMA accepted my environmental review and implemented three cost-effective measures to mitigate flood damage.

If you want to convert job experience wording, but feel stymied, add a query to the conversation at the end of the blog to see what

Websites that offer detailed information about results-oriented resumes:


  • Note: While generally sound, this website also offers some metrics I’d question. For example:
  • “Wrote a new employee handbook to include updated policies . . . Minimized miscommunication by 10% in the first month of its publication.” Can someone explain how to measure miscommunication?


  • Clarkson offers a useful template to create a results-oriented resume, with sentence structures such as:
  • I did this __________ and the outcome was this __________.


  • This website helps assuage the sense that writing a results-oriented resume is bragging.
  • There are many more examples out there when you search “results-oriented resume.”

About the Author: Priscilla Rachun Linn

Priscilla Rachun Linn
Priscilla Rachun Linn wrote her DPhil. thesis from Oxford on the festival cycle in the Mayan community of San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico. Her desire to share anthropology with a wider audience led her to becoming a museum professional for 40 years. In 1997 she was hired as the first curator for a diplomacy museum at the U.S. Department of State, where she worked for the last seventeen years of her career. Today the National Museum of American Diplomacy (diplomacy.state.gov) features a dynamic web presence and highly successful education program. The State Department anticipates its opening to the public within the next two years. In her retirement, Priscilla has been a volunteer for the Margaret McNamara Education Fund (mmeg.org), which provides higher education grants to women from lower income countries, and “curating” blogs for the Anthropology Career Readiness Network. Member: WAPA, AAM,