Put Quantifiable Successes On Your Resume

If you’re looking for a job these days, you know how tough it can be to separate yourself from the pack. One key is being sure your resume is as good as it can be — that it sells your skills in full force to make you stand out. But US News says that there are five resume mistakes that most job hunters are making, mistakes that are killing their chances of making it to the next step (getting an interview). Of those five, we think this one is the most egregious: your résumé has no numbers, as in, measurable accomplishments…

There are no numbers on your résumé: Accomplishments are measurable. Karsh focuses on two forms of accomplishments: scope and results. When thinking about scope, consider questions like how much, how many, how often, how frequently. When it comes to results, think about accomplishments that were singular and superlative-were you the top seller, the only person chosen, the grand prize winner? Numbers are key to elucidating and proving what you’ve done in an especially concise fashion. “I tell people that within each section of your résumé, in each job you write about, you want to have at least four or five numbers that quantify what you’ve done,” Karsh says. The phrase “prepared reports” means nothing to a recruiter, while “prepared 500 reports” means quite a bit. “If I hear ‘prepared reports’-and most recruiting directors, like I was, are very skeptical-I assume that it was two [reports],” Karsh says.

Think about it this way — which of these two people would you rather hire:

* “Company First” committee member.
* Led special projects team that saved the company $100,000 in two months.

Ok, it’s an extreme example, but you can see the difference. They both describe the same task. But the first one is vague, rather meaningless, and certainly does not demonstrate any meaningful accomplishments. The second phrase shows leadership (“led”) of an important group (“special projects team”) with substantial results (“saved $100,000”) in a short period of time (“two months.”) It expresses the results in a way to maximize the attention from a potential employer.

So if you’re looking for a job, review your resume and make sure your past experiences are accomplishment-oriented. Even if you do not have what you feel are accomplishments, there are ways to make minor accomplishments into major resume successes. It will take some time and effort to do this, but being sure your resume lists measurable accomplishments will likely be the difference that gets you the interview.

5 Résumé Mistakes You’re Probably Making [US News]


(Photo: Breslow)

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