Why and How to Include Numbers on Your Resume
Tips for Quantifying Your Achievements on Your Resume
Want to get the hiring manager’s attention? When you’re working in a job where your achievements are quantified, including numbers on your resume is the best way to get your application noticed. For example, if you’re in sales, listing how you exceeded your goals is a sure-fire way to impress a prospective employer.
Showing what you achieved in a quantifiable way is important for other types of jobs, as well. Even if you aren’t in a role where you are evaluated on your quantifiable achievements, numbers on your resume can help you get the interview.
Why? Because incorporating numbers into your resume shows employers, at a glance, what you have accomplished at work. It’s one thing to say that you’re good at your job. It’s another thing to demonstrate that you can accomplish your goals and exceed expectations.
It’s All in the Numbers
Adding numbers to your resume is a great way to prove to employers that you have legitimate accomplishments in your work history. Of course, not all of your achievements will be quantifiable, but many of them will be.
Your goal is to figure out which numbers are the most crucial to your success and the best language to use in order to frame your achievements.
Tips for Including Numbers on Your Resume
What’s the best way to include numbers on your resume? Start by identifying any outcomes for your team that would be considered key indicators of success. Ask yourself what the bottom-line considerations are for your department. (Not sure? Ask your colleagues for their insight. They might have an entirely different perspective to offer.)
For example, your department's success might be measured by one or more of the following factors:
- New clients acquired
- Sales revenue
- Cost reduction
- Cost savings
- Increase in page views
- Increase in profits
- Increase in user engagement
- Level of donations
- Number of cases closed
- Client retention
- Customer ratings
- Customer satisfaction
- Complaints resolved
- Billable hours
- Number of safety violations
- Audit findings
- Reduction in overtime costs
- Retention of employees
- Loss prevention reduction
- Staff morale
- Credentials of a class of recruits
- Test scores by students
- Response time
Next, select the bottom-line areas that are most impacted by your individual work. Quantify the change over time resulting from your actions.
Establish a baseline for any of the indicators that you have chosen. The baseline might be tied to the calendar such as the beginning of the year or a business quarter. If you have implemented a new initiative, then the baseline would be the state of things right before that activity began.
Use Action Words
Select action words which imply change to start out your phrases like increased, reduced, enhanced, expanded, eliminated, added, compressed, minimized, pruned, lessened, shrunk, downsized, augmented, grew, elevated, enlarged, diminished or shortened. (Need more examples? Here's a list of action words to get you started.)
How to Quantify the Change
Quantify the change by selecting a figure to represent the change that you have helped to generate. For example:
- Shortened wait time for new customers by 20%
- Increased billable hours in the third quarter by 15%
If you have trouble assigning an exact number, then you might use some language that frames the change as an approximation or range. For example:
- Increased test scores by at least 10 points
- Increased test scores by 10-20 points
Include How You Got the Results
Include some reference to how you were able to generate the results that you are quantifying to increase the impact of your statements. For example:
- Increased sales by 15% after implementing a referral incentive program
- Elevated the average customer rating from 4.0 to 4.5 after instituting a new customer service training program
More Options for Including Numbers on a Resume
Another way to incorporate numbers into your resume is to represent the magnitude of your output or responsibilities regardless of whether you can cite a change in key indicators.
- Generated an average of 110 billable hours each month over the first six months of the year
- Taught mathematics to over 120 sixth-grade students including 12 students who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities
You may include numerical indicators of commitment to your work if you are willing to perpetuate that pattern with a new employer. For example, you could say:
- Worked 17 consecutive days to complete project on time and under budget
- Worked an average of 55 hours a week to complete the audit before the end of the year
Back Up Your Resume With Facts
Make sure the numbers that you incorporate into your resume are accurate and will be supported by your references. Share your resume with references so they are aware of your specific assertions. Save any documents like performance appraisals or sales reports that confirm your numbers.