Every job seeker undoubtedly realizes how competitive the market is today. What sets you and your resume apart from the other 100-200 applicants for that dream job? Statistics show that the most common resume characteristic that varies from the person that gets the job, to the person that doesn’t, is quantifiable numbers attached to the corresponding accomplishment. You want your resume to say, ‘This is exactly what I accomplished, and I can do this for you as well.’ You’re able to portray this much easier by using numbers, dollars, and percentages.
This article is a more in depth look at the Play up Your Qualification section from our previous post 5 Ways to Make Your Resume Shine so read that post and then come back to this one, seriously.
Quantifying your achievements might sound intimidating, especially if you’ve never held a sales position. With these four tips you will no longer be afraid to add numbers to the experience section on your resume. Regardless of the industry or responsibilities you have held, asking yourself ‘how often, how many, or how much,’ will help you add value to everything you’ve done.
- How Often: Receptionists, secretaries, and administrative assistants are a few examples of people that have a difficult time measuring their responsibilities. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible. ‘Managed 15 phone lines, routing an average of 100 calls per hour,’ sounds a lot better than ‘answered phones’.
- How Many: You can relate this question to forms, presentations, clients, sales, events and much more. Never leave the amount for guessing. If you planned a company’s events, detail how many events and the number of attendees, the budget of the event you were in charge of, etc. If you have experience presenting at trade shows, don’t forget to add the number of trade shows, as well as the number of people in each audience.
- How Much: Estimates are completely acceptable when answering any of these three questions. You just want to make sure they’re accurate enough that you are able to justify and explain the numbers in an interview.
If you have had anything to do with a company’s success, this is a prime opportunity to measure that success and attribute it to what you’ve done. Whether you’ve saved the company x amount of dollars, retained x amount of clients, or added x amount of leads to the database, mention it.
For example, “As Contact Center Manager I was given the responsibility to determine the status of $4.3 million in lost revenue due an error in a vendor’s payment processing systems. I reached out to many of the clients and was able to collect $1.2 million in 60 days.”
- So What: Adding a few percentages and dollar amounts to your resume doesn’t mean anything if you don’t follow them up with the answer to this question, ‘so what?’ Every time you talk or write about something you did, imagine the hiring manager asking this. Why is it important you did this? What does it mean for the company? What could it mean for the hiring manager’s company? So what?
‘Managed 15 corporate phone lines, by routing an average of 100 calls per hour I opened up more time for my manager to take sales calls, this increased sales by 100% from the previous quarter.’
This answers the ‘so what’ question and subliminally lets the potential hiring manager see how bringing you on board could benefit him.
The key to landing an interview is to build your resume around these four questions. Be as specific as possible without boring the reader to tears. You can say a lot more about yourself and your qualifications, by technically saying less and adding quantifiable details. In the case of a resume, more often than not when it comes to word count, less is definitely more if you use these techniques.