Resumes. It’s never-ending battle of reducing your life’s work to just a page or two.
We’ve covered resumes before. After all, they are crucial in helping us secure our future. As a recruiter, I look at hundreds, if not thousands of resumes. Good ones, bad ones, unique ones and ones clearly copied from the Internet (don’t even get me start on cover letters…I’m sure we will cross that bridge another time). For some, it really is a challenge to accurately explain how a seemingly unrelated experience actually makes them the most qualified candidate. So, how can we do that?
Numbers pick up where words fall short. Where words may explain WHAT you did, numbers explain HOW WELL you did it.
So what do I mean when I say numbers?
Imagine you’re a recruiter looking at resumes. Which stands out most?
• Made in-person sales calls each day
• Averaged 30 in-person sales calls each day for a 12 week internship
The second one peaks your interest a little more, doesn’t it?
When our summer outside sales interns complete the program, we arm them with a resume guide full of advice on building the perfect resume. We advise them to include:
1. Averaged XX in-person sales calls each day of (#)-week internship
2. Made (total calls made all summer) sales calls in (#) week internship
3. Sold $XX,000 in (product)
4. Ranked # of # nationally
5. Worked with a team of # to reach $XX,000 in sales
6. # of New accounts vs Renewal accounts
Now, these numbers only work if 1) they are true & 2) they truly are impressive. You wouldn’t want to put that you were ranked 499 out of 500 (hey…you beat someone!).
Monster.com lays out 3 basic guidelines for adding numbers to your resume.
- Think money
- Think time
- Think amounts
Regardless of the organization you’re applying to, they will always be concerned about money. So look back on your experience and how you’ve “saved, earned or managed money in your internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities so far.” This includes working within a budget, soliciting donations, and suggesting possible ways to reduce costs within your club or department.
In addition to saving money, organizations are always looking for ways to become more efficient and save time. Your ability to display how you’ve worked with deadlines and/or find ways to reduce work cycles will speak to any organization you apply with.
Monster.com makes a great point that “there’s a tendency to simply pluralize your accomplishments — e.g., ‘wrote news releases’ or ‘developed lesson plans’ – without including important specifics — e.g., ‘wrote 25 news releases’ or ‘developed lesson plans for two classes of 20 students each.’”
At the end of the day, don’t sell yourself short by looking for the perfect “buzz words” to get their attention and ignore the simple power of quantitative data.
A resume is your chance to catch a recruiter’s eye and provide insight into your qualifications. By adding numbers to quantify your experience, you’re sure to pique their interest!