Scenario: You have designed, aligned, and coordinated a large national program that won’t be launched for 1 month. You and all of your management agree that it’s going to be successful and you have some solid estimates (based on other companies implementations) of the results you expect, including its cost savings, customer satisfaction improvements, etc. You are ALSO looking for a job outside of work hours. How do you represent this huge project you are working on your resume? If you go too soft, potential employers may not think it’s a credible claim. If you go too hard and the project flops, you might not seem trustworthy.
Earlier this week I was talking to an acquaintance who was in this situation. Her moral dilemma about how to represent her results at her current job while looking for a job elsewhere. (I also should point out that all of these same principles apply if you are currently unemployed). Her opinion was that because she could not claim the results to her boss yet, that it would be unethical to claim the results to a potential employer. I played devil’s advocate, because that’s how I feel like you get to good ideas and solutions. We debated both back and forth, and we didn’t come to a mutual agreement on where we stood. Here are the arguments for and against:
Forecasting is common practice- Weathermen, Economists, Sales Executives, CEO’s. All of these people get paid to forecast results and then readjust them as conditions change. You will never have the full amount of information so you need to move ahead with what you have.
Organizations hire on results, not promises of results- If you write on your resume “expected results” or talk about the “potential for results” in the interview, you probably won’t get the job. I can guarantee you that your competition is going to say “here are my results… 100%… no questions asked”. The other thing to consider is that it might be a month before your resume makes it through the system. If you needed that forecasted result to get the interview, then you can adjust the results in the interview.
Different messages for different audiences is standard practice- Do you tell you current employer about all of the jobs you are applying for on your spare time in the evening? Or what about that vacation day that you used to go for an interview? Not everyone needs to be privy to the same information, and sometimes you even need to omit information in order to cover your buns! On that note, you significant other’s butt looks great in that outfit… just trust me on that one.
It’s not the whole truth- If I can’t claim the result publicly on my LinkedIn or within my company, then I shouldn’t be able to claim it on my resume. It makes me feel uncomfortable that I’m telling one organization one thing and another organization another thing.
The program may never go live- A great plan with no execution might as well be a bad plan. If the program doesn’t go live on schedule or gets cancelled then my forecast will be null and void.
It’s making claims on an unproven number- Even if we do implement does not mean that we will see the same results as other companies. If I claim the results and the program bombs then I will look untrustworthy.
The SBN Take
Ultimately, you need to do what feels right and how confident you are on your forecasting and your individual situation. Our official SBN advice is NEVER, EVER LIE. Having a positive outlook and focusing on the bright side is highly recommended, but you need to be able to back up your claims, and if you ever get caught lying your reputation is ruined. And if you are reading this blog, we hope you agree that reputation is everything in today’s world! (New idea for a post just there… Booya!)