The Numbers Game: How to Quantify Achievements on Your Resume (Even Without Dollar Signs)
Metrics provide context for your achievements, as well as tangible evidence that you are the best candidate for the job. However, many job seekers struggle with finding metrics to highlight. Read on for some ideas on how you can express your accomplishments numerically, even if you don’t work in sales.
By: Daniel Lorenzo | Marketing Director for Let’s Eat, Grandma
When you think of all things that high school didn’t teach you about life in the real world, I bet “how to write a resume” is on the list. But there’s one thing that you did learn about resumes without even knowing it …
“Show your work.”
That’s right — that annoying phrase your math teacher was always so insistent on is also the key to writing a great resume. Just like how you wouldn’t get credit on that math quiz without proving how you got to your answer, your claims that you’re qualified for a job won’t be worth anything to a recruiter unless you prove them.
So how do you “show your work” on your resume? By quantifying your impact with metrics.
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Why Are Metrics Important?
You might say that metrics are the lifeblood of a good resume. As a sales pitch for yourself, your resume should prove your tangible accomplishments instead of merely describing your day-to-day duties. You can do so with our formula for great bullet points:
- Active Verb + Contribution and Skills Used + Result + Add Metrics to Contribution and/or Result
(If you haven’t yet, be sure to read our in-depth guide to writing bullet points like this here.)
Making this shift to focus on accomplishments, along with tailoring it to each job posting, is arguably the best thing you can do for your resume to land an interview. And the power of your bullets (and your summary section, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile) lies in the metrics you use to quantify them.
Attaching quantities to your accomplishments adds tangible evidence to your results and a sense of scope to your contributions, making all of your claims about your skills sound impressive instead of vague. Plus, they make your resume easier to scan through, which a busy recruiter will love.
But while many job seekers we hear from say they’re focusing on accomplishments, they still have trouble thinking of metrics to use. As not everyone’s job directly involves making money for the company, it can be tough to tie a number to your efforts, even if you know you made an impact.
Don’t worry! Once you stop limiting yourself to dollar amounts, there’s an awful lot you can quantify on your resume, no matter your job or field. Take a peek into the mind of a professional resume writer and learn several metrics you can use to write a better resume. You may not have thought of many of these!
How to Quantify Your Impact on Your Resume
Metrics for Your Results
When quantifying your resume, you should start by adding metrics to the results in your bullet points. You have many more options for numbers here than you might think, but we’ll start with the two simplest:
- Money directly made
If you’re lucky enough to have your contributions directly tied to revenue, show it with a dollar amount or percentage. You can show the largest deal you closed (“gaining up to $25K”), the change in profitability from a previous period of time (“resulting in a net profit increase of 47% from previous year”), or an increased conversion rate if you’re in marketing or sales (“leading to 63% higher average conversions from website homepage”).
What if you’re in the nonprofit world? Perhaps you can call out the dollar amount of a grant you received or the average donation amounts you fundraised.
- Money directly saved
You might also be able to show that your accomplishment saved resources for the organization. Did you manage your assigned budget better than your predecessors? Specify how much less you spent overall or perhaps how much you reallocated to be put to better use.
Though these are the simplest ways to quantify, not every bullet will have a direct metric. Good thing there are many ways to show how your accomplishment indirectly produced or saved resources for the organization.
- Time saved
If you’re in operations, HR, or project management, efficiency is a great tangible marker of your results. You can specify the time frame of a specific accomplishment (“launching product two weeks ahead of schedule”), estimate the average productivity gain if you improved daily or weekly processes (“enabling team to deliver weekly reports in approximately half the time”), or show your team’s increased production level (“empowering clerks to service 5-10 more customers per hour”).
- Quality improved
Perhaps your accomplishments in efficiency were tied more to the end product than the people or processes involved. Your product might have specific stats if you’re in an industry like manufacturing (“resulting in an average 64% purer yield per batch”), delivery or e-commerce (“enabling larger shipments which led to 150-200 more orders delivered per day”), software development (“leading to 40% faster lead times”), or design (“leading to 35% lower website exit rate).
- Brand awareness built
My fellow marketers, this one’s for you — I know how tough it can be to track your results! Digital metrics are tricky, and even if you created a fantastic campaign, your business might not have the data capabilities to know how much money it created. However, there are still plenty of metrics you can use to show your accomplishments in the way of brand awareness.
You can claim audience growth (“gained 768 new Instagram followers over one month”), increased website traffic (“producing 60% more new unique pageviews”), or lead opt-ins (“leading to 100 newsletter sign-ups/eBook downloads”).
- Customer satisfaction improved
Who better to prove that you were good at your job than your customers themselves? This is naturally a good metric for people in Customer Service/Customer Success (“decreased complaints ending in refunds by 76%”), but can be used by anyone involved with Product (“increasing average Net Promoter Score from 5 out of 10 to 7 out of 10”).
Finally, professionals across a multitude of roles and industries can put a number to things that they’ve created.
- New relationships started
In sales, marketing, or business development, you can call out the number of new partnerships, accounts, or prospects you generated. If you’re in HR or recruiting, how about an increase in the number of new employees you hired or promoted, or a decrease in the number of employees who had to be fired? Nonprofit and PR professionals alike can specify the number of new community partnerships formed or maintained or the number of new volunteers or donors recruited.
- New events/programs started
If you’re in event management, the nonprofit sector, or anything related to education or community engagement, you may have been responsible for the creation of new initiatives, courses, programs, webinars, or workshops. The raw numbers of these events or the number of people enrolled or retained can all show your unique impact.
Metrics for Your Contributions
Metrics in your results are crucial, but you may not be able to find one for every bullet. If you can’t quantify the result of your accomplishment because it was too recent or perhaps just wasn’t tracked, take comfort that you can quantify your contributions to show why they were impressive, too. (And of course you can add metrics to both your result and contribution! The more metrics, the merrier.)
Here are some metrics you can include in your contributions to provide scope or scale:
- Number of team members you led or worked with
“Led” or “collaborated with” make for great bullet points, but they often need a number for specificity. When you say you led a department, was your team two people or 50? One of those is much more impressive — guess which?
- Dollar amount of budget you managed (or total project budget)
Even if you didn’t increase or decrease the budget from year to year, you should still call out the total value of the budget you managed. Saying that you were trusted with $2 million instead of $2,000 adds some weight to what otherwise might be an expected accomplishment.
- Amount of resources used
Show just how much valuable work you input by specifying how much material you were given to sort out or put together. You might have synthesized or analyzed a large quantity of data (“100 GB,” “5,000 Excel line items”) or created/edited a lot of content (“50 video clips,” “10 hours of footage,” “20,000 words,” “eight blog posts per month”).
- Number of people served within a time frame
If part of your job involves regularly interacting with customers, you can make an otherwise boring contribution tangible by showing how many you served. “Resolved helpdesk tickets” isn’t impressive in itself, but “Resolved 30 helpdesk tickets per day” sure might be.
“But wait a second … what if this accomplishment was part of a team?”
Thanks for asking. Many people are self-conscious about claiming metrics for accomplishments that they only contributed to instead of ones they did all by themselves — silence that voice and claim it. Rest assured that if you specify that you were part of a team using a word like “collaborated,” “assisted,” or “helped,” the accomplishment will stand on your resume. As long as you’re honest, no one will call you out for being an impostor!
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