Fix That Resume – Your Largest Asset Depends On It

Did you know your resume could be worth over $1 million? It could be. My reasoning is as follows…

(cover photo courtesy of Juhansonin)

Some time ago, I came across this neat article on how to frame a resume from Tammy Erickson in the Harvard Business Review:

The Case of the Rolling Stone (that Gathers no Moss) Resume

In this short but sweet article, are some excellent tidbits:

Imagine a resume that listed these positions, all held within a short period of time.

  • Bubba’s Bar and Grill, a neighborhood restaurant. Waitress.
  • Primrose Advertising Agency, a small agency serving biotech start-ups. Researcher.

    Tammy Erickson (from HBR site)
  • Rimrock Stables, a hunter-jumper facility with over 50 horses. Stable operator.
  • Flintstone Quarry, a firm selling granite and other home countertops and tiles. General manager. 

What do you think? Is this someone you’d be eager to interview? What type of position would you image this individual would be qualified to fill?

Great point – does this sound compelling? She then goes on to adjust them like this:

Now, consider how you’d feel about the following version of the same person’s experience. Would you view this candidate differently? Would you be more or less inclined to arrange an interview? Now what position do you think this person might fill?

  • Waitress and apprenticing manager at Bubba’s Bar and Grill — While working as a waitress, developed an interest in restaurant management. Took advantage of the owner’s willingness to teach the basics of purchasing and cash management. Handled responsibility for opening and closing the restaurant two days a week.
  • Manager of the market research team at Primrose Advertising Agency — Conducted business research and managed the activities of a six-person team of analysts. Developed strong team management and project management skills.
  • Operating manager of a customer-service-oriented facility at Rimrock Stables — Managed all day-to-day operations of the business; oversaw a staff of ten, supervised the quality of all services to insure the safety and satisfaction of clients (both horses and riders), negotiated with suppliers to obtain the lowest prices, and handled all financial records and bookkeeping.
  • General manager of a successful, independently-owned business at Flintstone Quarry — Managed all aspects of the $15 million business, from customer acquisition (building on my advertising experience) through customer-oriented delivery of high quality products and design services. Responsible for a staff of 25 and complex customer relationships that included designers, contractors, and home owners. Increased operating margin by 5 basis points while growing revenue 10 per cent year over year.

The Takeaway

Her point is excellent – it’s not the prestige of the name of the business or your title. It’s what you learned and how you got involved. Tell the story!

And how does this apply to your largest asset? Well, for most people, their largest asset is their ability to earn income! Let’s look at this. If you can earn $80,000/year, how much is that worth in financial terms? Assuming it is a perpetuity for your sake, we can calculate the worth this way:

How much would I need to have in an account at today’s yields to give me $80,000/year? If current bank rates are below 1%, and junk bonds yield about 5% lets take a mid-way point of 3%. At 3% you would need $80,000/3% =


So your ability to work is financially worth over 2.5M. See why you need to treat that resume like it’s your largest asset? Because it likely is. for those of you with 2M+ in savings already, congratulations. It’s likely then that your income is much higher, meaning more reason to make that resume sharp! And you should spend much more investing in your resume than you do in that $25,000 account you keep tinkering with!

For more information including the HBR Guide to Getting a Good Job, read the full article and check out more resources.