Using Numbers in Your Resume

Using Numbers in Your Resume

You have probably heard a dozen times that your resume needs to quantify your accomplishments as much as possible. However, people still are not clear on how to do this effectively.


Consider John’s resume that reads “increased sales by over $1 million in the last 12 months.” John is very proud of that accomplishment, but what does it tell an employer? Absolutely nothing. That’s because there is no context to the number. What was his goal? What were sales before? If he was supposed to increase sales $500K and delivered $1 million that’s great! If his goal was $2 million, then he didn’t perform very well.

I suggest using percentages as much as possible. So John’s statement would be “Increased sales 44% over prior year, achieving 127% of an aggressive sales target”. Now an employer would know that he performed extremely well.

Whether it is sales improvements, cost reductions or customer satisfaction levels, use percentages to get the impact of your work across. Also note how percentages work. Connie increased customer satisfaction from 75% to 92%, so what is the percentage increase? Some would say 17% (92 minus 75) but that is not correct. She did increase satisfaction 17 percentage points but that relative increase is 23% (17 divided by 75). Bottomline, use percentages to highlight your work and you will have communicated your achievements in a way everyone can understand.

 

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