How to Quantify Achievements on Your Resume
If you search “how to write a resume” or “best resume writing tips” on the Internet, it’s a safe bet that you’ve come across the advice to quantify every accomplishment that you list on your resume. And it’s good advice. Backing up a story with hard facts legitimizes it with the reader, and also shows how much of an impact your work has had.
But for some industries, this can be easier said than done. Take writing for example: how does one quantify using the written word to make money? While we won’t go into that, specifically, it is important to carefully consider each bullet on your resume and try to put numbers with it.
In the early stages of my career, I was admittedly terrible at this. I just wanted to write down exactly what I did every day and have that be that. But when I gave my resume to a friend to review, their first comment was, “Why should I care?” and then, “What was the impact?”. At first, I was put off and a little annoyed. I thought I was a great employee and that showed on my resume when in fact, I was very wrong. Not about being a good hire, but about how I portrayed myself on paper.
So, after taking a few deep breaths, and likely a solid night’s sleep, I sat down and thought about the outcome of what I did every day. I made myself consider the impact I had, not just the actual things I accomplished.
While this was a much harder exercise than just writing down what I did at my job, it really made me think. Not only about what I had truly achieved, but what I wanted to achieve in my next role.
If you’re struggling to figure out how, exactly, to back up your accomplishments with facts, think about your impact, and then ask yourself some of these questions:
- Did you improve the efficiency of a process by completing a project? What percentage of time was saved?
- Do you manage a team? How many people are on it?
- How many calls do you take per week and how many of them lead to a sale?
- Do you have a goal set out by a manager? Do you hit it? How often?
- Did you save the team or company money by suggesting a new solution? How much?
- What is your output? Do you schedule 10 meetings a week or write seven stories?
- How often do you convert your work into new clients/meetings/sales?
- Do you manage a portfolio? How much is it worth and what is your retainment rate?
It’s also important to note that not every bullet needs to be quantified. There will be a few that explain what you do and don’t have facts or figures behind it. But start by asking yourself these questions about the bullets on your resume and go in with the mindset of output, not input.