BLUF: How do I aggregate many small, repetitive tasks into larger accomplishments that I can use on a resume or annual review absent any related metrics?
I am currently working in a Desktop Support role for a regional financial institution. My day to day work is very similar to any other corporate support position. I work on issues, that arrive as tickets, for individuals over several departments. These issues involve the entire range of support from "my PC won't boot" to "How do I print this" and beyond. While I have been tangentially involved in several projects, it usually amounts to rolling out workstations or moving people from one area or floor to another.
I have found it difficult to take these separate, yet similar tasks and aggregate them together in some way that I can use as an accomplishment on my resume. I don't have any metrics or statistics from our tracking system on how I complete them or how I compare to anyone else in our group. I have previously calculated, by hand, the total number of tickets I have completed in a given period and compared that with the total tickets for the team. This is the closest information i have to a metric for my job. I'm sure that someone has metrics for our team or department as a whole but my supervisor had no such data or way to access it when I asked about it.
What have other people done, in similar situations, to create meaningful accomplishment bullets for their resumes? And how do you discuss this information in your annual reviews? (Obviously this was prompted by the impending reviews in our own group.)
Clarity of the second look
Upon rereading my original post, after a good nights sleep, I realize that my original post wasn't as clear as I thought it was. The purpose of my questions is that I have a resume with lots of "what I did" and I'm looking for ways to express "how well I did it". Hopefully I can clarify the intention of my question.
First, I believe that my contribution to the company has been significant and should be a bullet on my resume. Both my customers, with computers I am responsible for, and my supervisor have expressed that I am an excellent performer. This is both in the context of the role in general and in comparison to others whom they have worked with before. While I have no data to back this up, it is often expressed how important my assistance is and how pleased people are with my service and relationship skills. My problem is that none of these events are large enough to warrant an accomplishment if taken individually.
Second, this is all I have to put on my resume. I am not involved with any other deliverables, projects, or anything with measurable results. I don't plan or present anything and I don't produce any documents or reports. All I do, all day long, is troubleshoot problems and answer questions. If I can't find a way to represent this on my resume then I will simply have a list of responsibilities and no way to show any contribution beyond that. I have an accomplishment for the larger repair that I was involved with this year but even that has no qualitative numbers associated with it.
I hope this helps in understanding that I'm not just looking to artificially generate accomplishments from my busywork. I am trying to find a way to represent the quality of service I deliver when no one is measuring it. I know I am building a reputation for being the "go to" person for any kind of technical problem, even in lieu of more senior technical people. Sometimes this is even from the more senior technical people in my department. I just don't have a way to put this down on my resume and my review.
What was the impact?
It's been a while since you posted. I hope this is still helpful in one form or another.
As an frequent customer of my company's IT and technical support, I can attest that the type of work you do makes a huge difference on the projects I work on. A friendly, timely, and accurate solution to a problem I'm having with the technology in the project I'm working on can save the company serious money. Feet dragging, bureaucratic wrangling, and poor problem solving / solutions slow down my work and can have a major impact on the company. This could be anything from a database configuration problem to a failed hard drive.
Write down specific problems that you solved and look at their broader impact on the company. Did you get a replacement computer to someone in Finance during tax season in four hours when the standard time is 2 weeks? That may have saved the company significant overtime costs in the Finance department. Did you get someone's antivirus software working again quickly? You just protected the company from possible data theft. Not all accomplishments have to have a number on them. What distinguishes you from the next guy is that you came up with a creative solution and quick. That's why we avoid the "other guy" and route our requests to you - we know you'll solve our problem.
I hope this helps!
Writing good accomplishment bullets for smaller tasks.
I would recommend you look at what your company measures your work on. Net promoter score, balance score cards, feedback survey rankings and then potentially compare your results to the average or how you increased the teams results though your work. I also agree with the previous comments that looking at the bigger picture of your impact could make a good accomplishments line.
Thanks for the comments
I do try to follow the set of dominoes back to the business impact, my concern is that I often have an intrinsic understanding of the impact but no actual numbers to put on the resume. As Mark and Wendii have said in their "how your resume looks to recruiters" series, Numbers tell a much more impacting story than just vague statements.
One example is where I worked on troubleshooting and eventually replacing the AV equipment in a Executive Video conference room. I know this had a business result by minimizing the impact on senior executives during their meetings. Every minute that they spent not meeting because of technical issues was wasting the company time and thus money. I have no way to quantify that impact or the business results behind it. No one tracks the per-minute costs of those meetings or how much 'money' would have been lost if the system was down more. I can confidently say I made an impact, I just have no numbers around it.
It's the lack of these exact measures that worries me so much about my resume. Not only does this job not have any 'quality' tracking around my work but almost no 'quantity' tracking either. I can list the number of tickets I have successfully resolved, but that's the only number I have. And this isn't even looked at by management to review my work or it's business impact.
Since originally posting this thread I have moved from Desktop Support to Systems Administration. In this new role I have a little more quantity tracking and some actual goals that I'm measured against. This is helping, yet there are still no quality metrics around how well I do my job, either objectively or in relation to others in my department.
The sad truth is that no place I have worked has had any kind of quality tracking for any of the jobs I've had. I've always done well on Annual Reviews but i don't see a good way to put that on my resume.
Thanks for the feedback, i'd love to hear from anyone else with suggestions.
Suggestion: Develop some metrics you think you could gather about your performance (time from ticket received to ticket closed, numbers of systems supported, availability ('availability' defined as total time - scheduled outage time - unscheduled outage time), numbers/types of migrations, etc).
Then present those to your boss as metrics you would like to be assessed against - essentially to challenge yourself. If your manager has no standard metrics to measure folks, you have just given him something he can use for all his people. You've done him a favor, you've developed something new (and notable on a resume), you've now got metrics, and you might be able to get back from your boss aggregate baseline data of his other directs. Most importantly, you control (because you defined them yourself) things on which you are graded.
With respect to annual appraisals, I used to get my boss' goals and standards (which were transparent to anyone in the organization) and see how what I was doing or could do impacted those. In short, I'd determine how I could make my boss successful. Some of those things ended up being resume bullets.