You’re not alone!
A common issue we face when writing resumes for our executive clients is the lack of numbers-based achievements. Recruiters love numbers because these can quickly define your abilities and achievements at-a-glance. For example, let’s say you’re a Sales Manager, and your resume states “Performed sales.” Or “Did sales”. Or “Managed sales.” (All real resume statements, believe it or not.) Recruiters have a good idea of the common tasks for nearly any job, so why state you “did sales” instead of fleshing it out like this? “Exceeded sales KPIs for January, February, and March.” Isn’t this better already? Yes, because “KPIs” grabs eyeballs. The only problem here is not having an exact number. If you can provide a number – i.e. “Exceed sales KPIs by 26%” you’ll seriously improve the value of your resume. (If you can’t, don’t lie!)
Even without numbers, you can still quantify your value.
Of course, not every job can be quantified in numbers. What can you do? Begin by thinking about why you are good at your job. You might ask yourself, “What’s the difference between doing my job wrong and doing it right?” Or, “If I were absent from work for a day or two, what would fall through the cracks?” Or “What is one action I took this year that really changed XYZ for the better?” Asking and answering these kinds of questions can surface the type of details you need to build a great resume.
If you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em!
And guess what? You probably do have numbers that qualify your abilities; you just haven’t thought of them yet! For example, who have you supported at work and to what benefit? “Supported Vice President of Sales, helping him exceed sales KPIs by 12% YoY. Answered phones, scheduled team meetings, managed his travel schedule, and responded quickly to his emails.” So this job seeker is an Admin Assistant, a job typically not quantified by numbers. However, when written the correct way, the beauty and value of this person’s skills are brought out to show how her competence supported both her boss and the bottom line. Also, note how I wrote the outcome first, then the supporting tasks; this is a stronger way to share achievements. (In this example, you’d have to know or be able to find out the applicable percentage.)
Here are a few more examples:
Again, you may not have exact numbers. It’s ok to make an educated guess if you feel confident doing so, and it’s ok to ask your former employer (in most cases.) Keep in mind that any resume statement may be up for more intense scrutiny by the recruiter or hiring manager, so don’t add it in if you can’t back it up.
- The numbers are there; just think differently to find them.
- Listing unexpected achievements instead of mundane daily tasks can boost your chances of getting an interview.
- Not much work experience? Apply your achievements from volunteer work (it’s still work!), or other types of projects you’ve worked on outside the 9-5 realm.
- Be sure your listed achievements include when, how, and what – i.e. the timeframe, the process, and the results.
- If you’re not landing great interviews on your own, call a professional!
Victoria Ipri is CEO of Revamped Resumes, an executive job search firm focused on the job application and interview side of job search. Services include resumes, ATS compliance, LinkedIn profile optimization, coaching, hidden jobs strategy, and more. Reach Victoria directly: email@example.com
“The best thing you can do to boost your resume value is to hire a professional. I’m not saying this because I am one, but because it’s logical. You don’t take your broken car to the dentist, just as you would not take your broken tooth to your auto repair shop. Competent resume help can make a world of difference in landing great interviews. If you find a writer you like but can’t afford their fees, ask how the package of services can be amended to reduce the fee. DON’T say “I don’t have any money, so how about $100?” (True story.) As with so many things in life, you get what you pay for. “ ~ Victoria Ipri