Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stating Company Revenue on Resume

I am an executive for a growing company with annual revenue of $130MM and an aggressive outlook of becoming a $700MM company in a very short time. I have applied for other executive positions internally but the company hires from outside and seems to favor managers from large companies whose current revenue base is $700MM or better. I have similar experience but it is not evident on my current resume. If I applied for positions outside the company I would face a worse situation in that the prospective employers don’t know me.

On my resume I accurately state the annual revenue of various companies for which I have worked as well as the annual volume of revenue for which I was directly responsible. That sets the foundation for the accomplishments I state for each job. My resume work history begins in 1985 when I worked for an $80MM division of Xerox. In today’s dollars, the same $80MM is equivalent to $166MM (based on CPI present value calculations), which would be an accurate comparator to a contemporary company of equal size. However, I present the revenue on my resume as $80MM because it is accurate for my time there, but it may make the job appear less than what it was. This is true for other previous employers as well.

Am I underselling myself by not stating revenue of previous employers/responsibilities at present value? Should I adjust the revenue data accordingly to allow the reader to assess my job skills today as benchmarked against other candidates today, perhaps younger individuals whose revenue contributions may appear greater simply due to the time-value of money? What’s the right thing to do?

You should use the actual dollar amount for the time the revenue was earned. In other words, if in 1985 your division's revenue was $80MM, then you should state $80MM on your resume. Anyone in a position to evaluate you for an executive position should have the financial savvy to understand how $80MM translates into today's dollars.

To give more perspective, you might add a clause to your statement that tells the revenue for the entire company. For instance:
For this company with $400MM in revenue, served as Department Manager for such-and-such Department with revenues of $80MM.

Of course you'll use today's dollars when you state the revenue you manage at your current position. This will clearly demonstrate that you have executive experience in the appropriately high-revenue corporate arena, and should compete with any competitor, no matter what his or her age.

Best of luck with this next step in your career!

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