Did you know that, on average, when someone applies to a job online they have only about a 2% chance of getting an interview? However, there’s one single factor that was shown to increase that success rate to 40% – an increase of 38%.
The more job interviews you get, the faster you’ll probably land your next job, depending of course on how well you understand how to ace an interview.)
So, what’s the resume technique that gets these much better results?
Here’s what to do: quantify your successes. According to a TalentWorks survey of 4,000+ job applicants, resumes that mentioned at least one number every three sentences achieved a hefty 40% response rate.
Why are numbers so powerful?
Let’s say the employer sees this:
- Transformed sales in underperforming department, resulting in increased revenues.
Managers tend to think in terms of numbers. They may have numeric targets to reach. Even if they don’t, their eye may slide over a line like this without any memorable impression being made. Or they may think “It was probably only a little bit or they would have been more specific.”
It’s much more convincing – not to mention eye-catching, when you include the figure:
- Transformed sales in underperforming department, resulting in 25% revenue increase.
Or let’s say you can’t remember figures like this from your past work. Maybe it was a long time ago, or maybe you were laid off unexpectedly and didn’t have a chance to gather up the information (this is why you want to keep a job journal!).
In that case your best option is an honest guesstimate, expressed with verbiage like “more than $10,000 a year” or “nearly $60K YOY.”
If you can’t accurately guesstimate the figure but you increased revenue “significantly,” “substantially,” or even “dramatically,” then at least use a descriptive term like these to give the employer some idea of the magnitude of the accomplishment.
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s all fine for salespeople, but I’m an engineer” (or an administrator, an accountant, etc.) – and my work outcomes aren’t measured numerically.”
It’s true that accomplishments are harder to quantify for occupations that aren’t as close to the bottom line. But if your accomplishments aren’t measurable in dollars, you may still be able to quantify them. The following examples may give you ideas.
- Handled up to 80 requisitions concurrently.
- Developed 50 workshops and presentations.
- Earned average participant rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Managed a team of six.
- Streamlined order processing by 30%.
- Created a system that processed an average of 150 applications daily instead of 85.
- Maintained 0% litigation status from 2016-2018.
Who believes these numbers anyway? Don’t people just make up them up?
I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this. Yes, I’m sure some people make them up, but those people probably don’t sound very authentic in the interview or in the conversations that happen during the background check. They’re risking their reputations. There’s usually an honest way to quantify at least some of your successes.
What if the numbers are confidential?
By all means be sensitive to your current and past employers’ needs for confidentiality. Ask yourself: Are these figures available to the public, for example in the company’s annual report? If you can’t use dollar figures, maybe you can describe the impact of your work in some other way, such as using percentages. The point is to show how much difference you’ve made.
Learn how to include numbers in your resume, and I’d be surprised if your response rate doesn’t increase substantially, if not dramatically!