Best Resume Writing Tips For A Bad Economy

When unemployment is high and you find yourself searching for a job in a bad economy, it is easy to get discouraged. Even during the best of economic times, a job search can be challenging, but when more people are competing for fewer jobs and companies are cutting back on their budgets, it is even harder.

There is no doubt about it! In a time when it seems like few are hiring and you regularly hear about new layoffs, it can be challenging to even get motivated to update your resume and start a job search, never mind successfully land a new job.

But, there are still jobs to be found! Companies are still hiring and job seekers are still landing jobs on a daily basis. So, what are these newly hired individuals doing that get them noticed and get them hired ahead of their competition in the job market? What are they doing differently?

Bad Economy? Write Your Resume to Show How Hiring You Is a Profitable Investment

Can the way you write your resume make a difference in a bad economy? Can a resume really have that power?

The answer is an unequivocal YES!

It is common sense: the job seekers who are getting interviews and winning jobs have found a way to set themselves apart from the masses.

How have they done that?

Simple: they’ve “sold” their potential to deliver RESULTS rather than just their skills and baseline qualifications. In other words, they’ve communicated their ability to deliver the desired VALUE and BENEFITS to the employer.

Your resume is your first introduction to many potential employers and so it must be written to differentiate you and set you apart by clearly and with examples illustrate that you have the ability to produce results, and to do so in a way that is more profitable than your competition.

Hiring authorities are NOT looking for job descriptions on your resume. Job descriptions simply tell the reader about the responsibilities of the positions you have held.

To set yourself apart, your resume must tell the reader what you have accomplished–and more importantly, the value and benefits that those accomplishments have produced for past employers.

If you have numbers (e.g., dollar figures, percentages, raw numbers, etc.) that illustrate the impact of your accomplishment, make sure you include them. Numbers are proof. They get attention and they add credibility and context to your achievements.

In today’s competitive job market, it is essential that you know your value and be able to communicate exactly how you contributed to your past employers’ bottom line.

Best Resume Writing Tips to Prove Your ROI

During tight economic times, everyone is talking money. Around kitchen tables everywhere families are discussing how to SAVE money or how to MAKE money. The same is true in companies.

It is important to recognize that as an employee, you are an investment. The hiring company invests in you with the expectation that you will produce returns on that investment. Use the following best resume writing tips to prove that not only will hiring you be a good investment, hiring you will be a more profitable investment than hiring your competitor.

1. Can you help make your next employer money?

To help you think about the ways you have helped employers make money in the past, here are some example money-making result statements from real resumes.

  • Unified sales efforts across 13 previously siloed business units, transforming apathetic customers into loyal, renewing accounts, producing $6 million in annual subscription revenue.

  • Increased sales 8% and produced a record-setting volume of orders, representing a 16% gain.

  • Made immediate impact in a competitive market, doubling monthly sales from $600,000 to $1 million by educating customers on product rebates and backend funds. Additionally captured 70 new accounts in 6 months.

  • Generated $50 million in sales from a recent tradeshow event, achieving 100% ROI in the first 30-minutes of the 3-day event.

  • Brought in $5 million new business annually as result of quadrupling organic website traffic by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

2. Can you help save your employer money?

In a bad economy, almost every company could benefit from saving money. Here are some real-life example achievement statements to help you think about your past money-saving accomplishments and how you might include them in your resume.

  • Saved total of $10 million in 2 years through combined impact resulting from the negotiation of more favorable vendor terms, discounts plus cost avoidance through more efficient billing and collections.

  • Reduced insurance premium increases 70% by soliciting bids and encouraging vendor competition, saving $50,000.

  • Implemented waste reduction and cost-cutting programs that resulted in a $150,000 reduction in expenses within 45 days.

3. Can you help your next employer solve a challenging problem?

The ability to develop and implement solutions that help companies solve problems or meet challenges are in-demand skills, especially when the economy is bad. Bonus points if you can show how your problem-solving abilities have produced quantifiable results for past employers. These examples illustrate this.

  • Enabled $240,000+ in additional billing to be submitted to insurance companies within 2-year period by cleaning up 2,400+ outstanding accounts (out of 3,000) for the largest region.

  • Solved critical problem due to rapidly rising pharmaceutical prices. Produced $45 million in annual savings by leveraging strategic sourcing and negotiating deep discounts for the national network of affiliates.

  • Recovered 70% of annual losses resulting from produce spoilage and product returns by establishing and training employees to properly inventory and store food products.

4. Can you help improve customer relationships?

Customers are the lifeblood of most businesses. Do you have any examples of improving customer relationships in a way that positively impacted the financials of your employer? Here are some examples from real resumes to inspire you.

  • Repaired lucrative customer relationship with millions of dollars at risk; rebuilt to a “trusted partner” and generated $2 million new business (100% increase).

  • Launched a pioneering loyalty program, attracting 1 million website visitors in first 12 months and 133% higher sales-per-customer.

  • Grew patient referrals 20% and revenue $1.2 million by creating and implementing marketing campaign to outside primary physicians

5. Can you improve profitability for your next employer?

It is all about the bottom line. Including examples of how you have helped past employers increase their profits is a sure-fire way to stand out.

  • Doubled profitability in the first year, delivering additional $2 million to the bottom line as result of increased efficiency combined with cost savings.

  • Served as a change agent, with sales skyrocketing ~100%, from $26M to $50M during tenure, and gross profits increasing from 27% to 36+%, to become the dominant force in the market.

  • Increased revenue 20% and profits 17% as results of restructuring sales management team and training strategy.

So there you have it: 5 best resume writing tips that will make your resume stand out and get attention no matter what the economy looks like. By communicating how you have delivered results in the past, using numbers when you can to illustrate the actual return on investment you have delivered, you will easily set yourself apart from the masses of job seekers you are competing against in a bad economy.

So remember: Don’t let high unemployment rates throw you into a panic.

There are still new job openings that crop up every single day. Will you be the next person to get a good job? It’s all up to how you look at the situation.

In short, you must change your focus to emphasize what is in it for the company.

It’s not about what’s in it for you.

It’s all about the company.

What can you do for them?

How can you solve their problem?

How can you make money for them?

In what ways can you save them money?

How can you help them in these economic times?

Emphasize and communicate how you can be an asset to the company, and you will be surprised how quickly you will see positive job search results. To see more of these ideas in practice, review the resume examples in our online portfolio. To get expert help drawing out your high ROI accomplishments help and writing your resume, set up a free Discovery Consultation.

Best Resume Writing Tips For A Bad Economy
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Article originally published January 14, 2011, updated and republished for 2021 and beyond.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. To learn more about the services offered by Distinctive Career Services visit

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