Applicants can struggle to identify the results they produce from the work they complete. This ability is critical, as employers look for people who not only do the work asked, and do it the way it needs to be done, but who also understand what results flow from this work. This information can then be included in resumes, in examples that demonstrate experience (often using the STAR model or CAR, R meaning results), and talking about them during interviews.
There are five terms that are useful to understand, as they help with separating tasks from results, and with identifying different types of results. These terms are:
Inputs: these are the necessary resources needed to do a job, such as staff, money, technology, knowledge, equipment, facilities, relationships, training.
Activities/tasks: these refer to what a person does and how they do it.
Outputs: these are the things that result from doing the tasks, what is produced. E.g. a report is the output from researching, analysing, and writing about a topic. Outputs may be a service or product, or may be processes completed, e.g. data entry, financial information processed.
Results: these refer to what flows from the outputs. E.g. the report provides advice that is accepted by someone, the recommendations are adopted, most people accept what the report advises. Results can be measured quantitatively, e.g. 90% of the recommendations in the report are adopted, and/or qualitatively, e.g. the report was accurate, timely, up-to-date, clearly written, with positive feedback from multiple people. Results can be distinguished as:
Outcomes: the changes that are produced in the short, medium, or long-term. E.g. the implemented recommendations improved compliance of affected parties, increased awareness of non-compliance risks amongst key stakeholders. As pointed out in Roadmap to Social Impact, produced by SCI-NSW, a short-term outcome could be changes in knowledge, a medium-term outcome could be a change in behaviour, and a long-term outcome about a change in conditions.
Outcomes are also thought about as micro (the individual or program), meso (community or organisation), or macro (population, industry or sector).
Outcomes can be thought of as intended and unintended, and positive, negative, or neutral. For example, negative, unintended outcome from implementing a report recommendation to improve compliance of affected parties, is that there is media coverage of increased ‘red tape’ costs that feeds misinformation distributed on social media (although this might have been anticipated).
Outcomes may also relate to changes within an organisation or team, such as increased knowledge of a topic, improved relationships with key stakeholders, streamlined processes, reduced error-rates.
Impact: is the lasting, systemic change that a result has. The impact may not be known for some time, and is dependent on this aspect being evaluated. For example, after three years of compliance improvement, the number of complaints to the relevant ombudsman decreased by 60%, non-complying businesses had either left the market or improved their processes.
Some results can be quantified, or counted. If you have targets to meet, then the percentage of times you meet or exceed the target is a measure of your result.
One way to write about results in your resume is to start with a verb in the past tense, such as:
- Wrote report on compliance issues in the construction industry, with 54 recommendations, of which 85% were accepted.
When writing about examples to demonstrate behaviour using the STAR or CAR structure, the R part is about results. Including as many aspects of results as you can – such as the various types of outcomes, and if possible, the impact – will strengthen your examples.