The easiest and most effective strategy for highlighting the achievements in a resume: with metrics!
There are several reasons for quantifying your accomplishments on your resume with metrics. Numbers tend to jump off the page, they add specificity to actions, and above all, they are more persuasive than words alone.
Employers want tangible proof that you can deliver results. And results are typically measured in numerical terms.
You’ve probably heard the term KPI, which stands for key performance indicators. This is how companies judge their existing employees. It’s how they attribute value to people, helping them make decisions on promotions and raises.
As a job seeker, a good way strategy for getting hired is to try and guess which KPIs are most important for the role and company you are pursuing. Then include metrics on your resume that seem to align well with these KPIs.
Here’s a simple example: a company is hiring a new business development manager. They want someone who has a track record of landing new clients and expanding existing client accounts. How do you tailor your resume to this job description? Well for starters, you better make sure it mentions how many clients you recruited at your last job or how you grew a particular account by a certain percentage.
The types of metrics that are relevant for your resume will depend on the company and the job you are seeking. But here are 5 metrics that recruiters love to see:
Most organizations pursue some form of growth: revenue, clients, clicks, influence, etc. That means they want people who can help them get from where they are now, to somewhere even better. Again, this growth is probably measured in KPIs.
Use the job description to determine the types of growth the company might find valuable. This includes click-through rates, revenue, new clients, or staff increases.
- Grew annual revenue from technology client accounts by an average of 10 percent annually over five years.
- A developed email marketing strategy that drove 700,000 click-throughs from e-newsletters to the company’s online store.
Whether you are applying to a small business with two employees or a multi-national corporation, chances are good they appreciate money saved. That, or they appreciate saving time (yes, time is money).
Try to include metrics around efficiency, budgets, client retention, and/or employee turnover that may convey saving.
- Developed a new cloud-based tracking application that reduced order fulfillment times by 12 percent.
- Oversaw the restructuring of the company’s sales department, leading to a reduction in employee turnover by 25 percent annually.
These metrics tend to be people-focused. They help demonstrate the magnitude of your work in terms of people involved, proving that you are used to taking on a certain level of responsibility.
Specific impact metrics might include the number of staff you managed or worked with on a project, the number of clients or accounts you oversaw, how many “followers” you reached through marketing efforts, and/or how many people you advised.
- Provided daily IT support to a team of 100 employees across multiple offices.
- Coached a team of five Operations personnel to ensure efficiency and quality in manufacturing processes.
- Managed and engaged an online community of approximately 150,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Using metrics that compare your results against others is a great way to demonstrate the significance of your achievements. It may seem a bit boastful, but hey, that’s what resumes are for!
Consider using metrics that express a ranking, typically using terms like “best”, “most”, “highest”, “top”, etc. This might include comparing your results to industry or company standards, to other employees, or how you helped your company outrank its competitors.
- Executed more than 50 sales call per day, with the highest conversion rate of any employee for three straight years.
- Launched multiple web-apps through Product Hunt that achieved the top three rankings amongst thousands of daily product releases from competitors.
Similar to impact metrics, frequency metrics give significance to your resume statements. They prove to recruiters how familiar you are with a certain job function.
Look to include metrics that quantify your accomplishments in terms of time. How often did you do a certain task or achieve a specific result?
- Organized weekly meetings for the senior management team by coordinating schedules, booking facilities, and developing required meeting materials.
- Dedicated 30 percent of daily work time towards proofreading sponsorship request letters.
- Conducted monthly audits of internal financial management procedures, contributing to a perfect compliance record each month.
Using Multiple Metrics
By now you’ve probably realized that many of these metrics overlap with one another. In fact, it’s a great idea to try to use multiple metrics simultaneously to try to make your statements even more convincing. Just don’t take it too far: having four numbers in one resume bullet point will look like a robot wrote it.
Examples of combining metrics
- Organized and promoted monthly social media seminars involving between 50-100 prospective clients.
- Managed a team of 15 engineers working on automating systems for an agriculture client, with the final project being delivered ahead of schedule and 10 percent under budget.
Practical Tips for Using Metrics on Your Resume
Finally, some additional tips to remember when using metrics on your resume:
1. Quantify, Quantify and Quantify
As a general rule for your resume, quantify statements whenever possible. This will make sure you avoid speaking about your skills and experience in vague terms, which are easy for recruiters to ignore.
2. Use the Right Format for Numbers
Resumes are worthless without clean writing. If you are using numbers on your resume, make sure you use the correct format. Numbers from zero to nine should be spelled out; 10 and above should be in number format; same with any number that contains decimals (E.g. 5.8 percent).
3. More Specific = Better
Don’t just use metrics for the sake of using metrics. Make them as persuasive as possible by including enough context around them to appeal to the employer. (Example: “Wrote 7 articles for the company’s blog” versus, “Wrote 7 advice pieces on front-end development for the company’s blog over the course of two months.”)
Numbers can tell a pretty compelling story. And telling an impressive personal story with your job application is your ticket to getting hired. So follow the advice above and be sure to weave metrics into your resume.