Grandma Goes to the Movies: Moneyball and the Importance of Metrics
Metrics are crucial for demonstrating your impact to employers on your resume. But what does that have to do with baseball? Read on to find out what Moneyball can teach us about metrics.
By: David Hartley | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
What’s better than summer baseball? Hot dogs, a cold soda, and the metrics that control every facet of the game down to the pitches thrown by southpaw pitchers to right-handed batters –
Sorry about that, reader. It’s just since Sabermetrics have been widely accepted by most baseball GMs, it’s hard to look at the sport and not think about the metrics involved within the game. It’s not just baseball. Metrics have taken over our lives from how much money we spend on clothes to screen time on our phones to how to display your achievements on a resume clearly and effectively.
Wait a second… this is another movie/resume tie-in, isn’t it?
Yes, reader. Hook, line, and sinker.
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Moneyball is easily one of my favorite movies of the last 20 years and no scene encapsulates it more than this one:
But David, you might be asking, what does this have to do with resume writing? Well, dear reader, as industries evolve and hiring practices change, metrics become vitally important on a resume. Including metrics is crucial for showing your impact, which is what makes recruiters want to hire you.
Let’s think about this in baseball terms. In the scene, Billy Beane is searching for a very specific metric (on-base percentage) that will make his team successful. He knows that hitters above a particular percentage will make the team successful, regardless of where they play in the field.
Fortunately for baseball players, all that information is public, and they don’t have to do any legwork to display it. The same can’t be said for jobseekers. We need to display our achievements tangibly and clearly for all to see.
Let’s look at a bullet point example from a past client of mine.
- Developed an automated process to cut manual data entry
On its own, it’s not the worst bullet point. I know what it’s trying to say, and I see a tangible result. But I also see the potential to create an even stronger bullet point, one that will help land an interview. To write one like that that, you first have to ask yourself a question:
What is the hiring manager looking for?
Billy Beane wasn’t looking for a home run hitter. He wasn’t looking for the next Cy Young. He was looking for players who can get on base better than most.
The company might not be looking for a home run hitter, either: What does the job listing say they want? Do they want someone who can lead direct reports? Do they want collaboration? Do they want process improvements? Identifying that will help you write specific bullet points that tailor your resume to the job responsibilities that are sought out for the listed role.
Now that you understand what the hiring manager is looking for, you can tailor your bullet point to align with the job listing you are applying for. For example, let’s say the job listing is looking for a team player who works with multiple teams. Your bullet point could look something like this:
- Collaborated with three cross-functional teams including Sales, Development, and HR to develop an automated process for data entry
You specified and strengthened the bullet by adding the metric of how many teams you collaborated with. But let’s say the job listing is looking for someone to improve processes for efficiency. You could create a bullet with a more traditional metric:
- Developed an automated process to reduce manual data entry by over 50%
You could even go a step further by introducing what the extra time was used for!
- Developed an automated process to reduce manual data entry by over 50% leading to a quicker turnaround time on projects
You can be flexible in the language you choose for each bullet point. By tailoring the bullets on your resume to what the job is looking for, you strengthen your resume by focusing it on exactly what the hiring manager is looking for.
What if I don’t have exact metrics yet?This is something I hear from clients quite a bit. Perhaps you recently started a new job and there hasn’t been enough time for KPIs and core metrics to develop?
Let’s look at this case.
If you recently started a new job or it was a contract position where you didn’t see the results of your work, speak about projected statistics.
Swinging back (pun intended) to our baseball analogy, coaches and managers often rely on projected statistics to decide whether a player is worth their weight in salt or not. We can use this approach as well.
I am currently working with someone who was recently promoted and has already set in motion many initiatives and new processes. This client was worried her resume wouldn’t reflect her achievements properly. I asked her: What is the projected result of this work? She immediately told me of the potential efficiency increases and sales increase from the work, and I could hear the excitement in her voice. Those are the metrics we’re going to use to show her impact.
Billy Beane was using projected statistics and metrics to decide on three players to hire, and he utilized those metrics as evidence of potential success. For those who haven’t seen the full film, the Oakland Athletics end up having their best season since the Bash Brothers, and Beane’s method led MLB GMs to revolutionize their thinking of how baseball data can be used.
Don’t shy away from metrics! Show the Billy Beanes of your industry why you deserve to join their successful teams and why you would be a terrific fit for them, and you’ll end up knocking that application out of the park.
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