Climb the Ladder

How to quantify your work experience and why you should

We’ve talked before about how to leverage your soft skills like communication and analytical thinking in your resume and cover letter in order to land the job. But it’s not just showcasing your soft skills that’s important–putting emphasis on the numbers matters, too. 

At Scouted, we always recommend including statistics or any quantifiable benchmarks in your resume. This gives future employers a clear picture of what you accomplished at your old company and what you could do for the next. Quantifying your work experience is also a great complement to behavioral interviewing, which requires you to tell a story that illustrates how you solved a problem or dealt with a given situation. Including the numbers in the bullet points of your resume is likely to increase your credibility, since it’s verifiable “proof” of your hard work and success.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a finance professional or in a management role in order to quantify your work experience. Start by asking yourself these questions for each job (and each bullet point!) that’s listed on your resume:

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How much did you do?

Answering this question gives the hiring manager reading your resume or conducting the interview an idea of how much responsibility you were able to take on. Suppose you are an entry-level PR professional. In a first draft of your resume, the bullet points you include might be something along the lines of:

  • Managed public relations communications including press releases and media kits

But what if you rewrote that bullet point to include metrics that point to the full scope of your work? It could look like this instead:

  • Managed public relations communications, including 100+ press releases and 10 media kits, for 10 clients in the financial services industry

Now, that’s a lot more specific! 

If you don’t always know the exact number or if that number varies, it’s also okay to give a range. When talking about your experience in management or leadership positions, for instance, you might say that you “supervised a team of 12 to 15 junior-level employees” and provide additional details about how you were involved in their onboarding, continued development, and day-to-day tasks. 

How often did you do it?

This question describes the frequency of your actions. If compiling financial reports is an important component of your job, talk about how often you completed those reports and what the process entailed. For example, this resume bullet point might look like:

  • Compiled weekly expense reports for the company’s New York office, liaising with seven account executives and two senior managers.

Talking about frequency also works well when you complete a lot of work in not a lot of time. For example, an op-ed editor might describe one of her job responsibilities as:

  • Reviewed 25 article submissions per day and narrowed down to the top two for publication in the next day’s newspaper.

Using metrics to show sustained effort further emphasizes your skill in completing specific tasks relevant to your current job (and your next job!). 

What were the tangible results, and over what time period?

This question underscores your impact on the company’s bottom line. How did you improve efficiency in your organization, or reduce costs, or grow the business? A marketing manager might write a resume bullet point that looks like this: 

  • Grew the number of organic Facebook leads by 40% year-over-year, resulting in a 15% increase in revenue from paid social media marketing.

Similarly, someone who works in fundraising might write:

  • Launched a six-month capital campaign resulting in $8.2 million in donations, a 30% increase from the previous year’s campaign.

Demonstrating a clear financial impact on a business indicates your value as an employee, and also better positions you while negotiating your salary or asking for a raise

How to Get Started

If reporting is a regular part of your job, such as in marketing, sales, or finance, it may also be easier to quantify your work experience as it relates to a specific company. Regardless, keep a document of personal metrics just for yourself in order to recall the things you’ve accomplished in the past that you can bring up later in resumes and interviews.

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