I am trying to strengthen my resume, and I hear it is important to support job descriptions with hard facts or direct results of one's performance.

I am listing my experience as a consultant, which I left 1.5 years ago, where I did well in maintaining a high percentage of full-time billable hours (>85%). Typical industry averages are ~70%. Otherwise, I can't think of other hard facts to backup my hard work.

Here's my background: I am applying to software engineering positions, and I am trying to describe my 3 years as an environmental consultant in a way that will bolster my application. Since there is not much overlap between the two, and since my consulting position didn't have many hard metrics that represents my performance, I think my billable hours might provide a metric for my work ethic.

Other related metrics from my environmental consulting experience are:

  • I acquired a repeat customer, who would call and request me specifically for his jobs

  • A positive email to my manager from another client who was pleased with my work, also requesting me to come out for future jobs

  • a very positive annual review from my manager and co-workers

  • I won 3 "excellence awards" at the company - an internal reward system, which was basically a $50 gift card for doing good work on a project. These were delivered about 4x a month at a 100 person company.

While this demonstrates something positive, I think it is too soft and wordy for a resume. Any suggestions on how to describe this experience on a resume for an aspiring software engineer? Right now, I am relying on my 1 year of experience as a software engineering research assistant, although I would like to convey my hard work as an environmental consultant as much as possible.

My current resume description of my environmental consulting experience is basically 2 bullets:

  • Maintained over 85% full-time billable hours through processing and interpreting environmental field data for environmental monitoring, subsurface investigations, and chemical exposure assessments

  • Performed quality assurance checks on sample data to ensure strict adherence to regulatory standards

I'm filling the rest of my resume with personal projects, skills, relevant coursework, and relevant experience in software engineering. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


I think my billable hours might provide a metric for my work ethic.

The percentage of billable hours does not prove much. You could list it, but I would see it as neutral.

As an employer, I would expect good work-ethics from any applicant. I would try to get an impression on this during interviews.

Any suggestions on how to describe this experience on a resume for an aspiring software engineer?

In your resume, a list of tasks and responsibilities as you have stated should be sufficient.

Depending on the job you apply for, you might want to add the fact that you acquired a customer who repeatedly requested your services as a success in your job as environmental consultant.

More important concerning your job as environmental consultant is what you have done, that is of general importance for jobs or especially for jobs in your target field of software engineering. This could be skills or abilities in communication, coordination, problem solving, concentration, perseverance, and others that you can prove with experiences in this job.

The opportunity to convince an employer of these skills is an interview. This is especially true for the customer satisfaction you have achieved in your environment consulting job (if the job you apply for includes customer communication).

So, with regard to the environmental consultig job, don't add too much to your resume. Convince with provable skills during interviews!


No - your billable hours percentage is not relevant.

You need to show what you accomplished business-wise, backed up by your awards, which is then backed up by your skills.

For example (not knowing the details of your accomplishment, I'm just making this up):

Resolved an issue for a customer resulting in a savings of over $XXXXX per year for that customer. The customer was so impressed with my work that he now calls and specifically asks for only me to do his work. This work involved XYZ skills.

The above shows three {3} things: 1. You understand the business impact of what you are doing, 2. You have excellent customer service / interpersonal skills, 3. Your technical execution was so good, that it saved the customer a pile of cash and they want repeat business.

If you look at your consulting experience from that perspective, then you can showcase your skills inside of business value, which is what a good manager will be looking for.


You may want to look at skills on a broader level to find some overlap. Problem solving of any type should relate well to programming. You may want to indicate the complexity of the problem.

Communication in all forms is important in programming. Not all programmers have a positive track-record of working face to face with clients. There are some programming positions where this is a must. Examples of proposals or any other documentation will help as well.

I know you want to show some quantification, but don't put too much in non-related areas. Most people in the other fields will not be able to recognize the significance of too many items.

You really need to be able to convince people why you want to change fields and that you're capable. Think of a way to indicate you were a programmer doing an environmental consulting job and not an environmental consultant who wants to be a programmer.

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