How to Use Numbers in Your Job Search

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Resume Tips

It is common for Job Seekers to hear from others that they need to incorporate numbers in their Cover Letter and/or Resume. We have increasingly become a data driven society, especially in the world of business. So, it is not surprising that for a job search, it is expected that you not only write about your experience but quantify your accomplishments using numbers.

You may be wondering; however, how to get started incorporating objective data into your documents. We work with so many numbers… which ones matter the most and should be used in your job search, and what should be discarded or even saved later for the interview process.

Now let’s take a look at what you can do to better quantify your history so that it stands out for a recruiter or hiring manager. An important first step is to review the job posting for clues regarding what is most important. You should then customize your documents to these key areas and your use of numbers should reflect this importance. There are, however, some common areas that are rather universal and should be considered in most situations.

• Quantity: Probably the most basic set of numbers you can use is quantity. How many? This area can be particularly powerful if you are applying for a position where productivity is critical. You should try to outline how many you can do per hour (or whatever the benchmark measurement is), and how much more that is compared to the standard. So, rather that just state that you were a productive employee, share that you did 125 per hour, which was 150% more than the standard!

• Quality: While it is important that we work productively, it is equally or more important that the output we produce is of sufficient quality. This works particularly well if you are seeking a position where quality is important (as most positions are), but critical to the business success or the safety of others. For example, if you are working as a pharmacy tech or an auto assembly inspector, the quality of your work will be held to a higher standard than perhaps others. So, rather than writing that you are very careful, you should consider stating that you had a 100% quality score on your last audit. Of course, anything that you state must be true.

• Savings: In today’s business world, saving anything (especially money) will grab the attention of others. So, if you had an idea that created efficiencies, don’t just state the process improvement, but actually share how much money it saved the company. Similarly, if you are responsible for a budget, you can outline what you did not only to save expenses, but by how much.

• Revenue: Similar concept as the previous “savings”, but on the opposite side of the ledger. What did you do to drive revenue for the business? This data is particularly relevant in areas such as sales or Research and Development, because they can directly drive this top line. So, rather than share that you won “Salesperson of the Year” last year for your company, share with them your approximate volume. An important note of caution is that you do not want to share any company confidential information regarding sales client volume while making your case.

While it may not seem to be the case, every job can have numbers placed in it. For example, a receptionist can provide an estimation of call volume and walk-in traffic to place some numbers around the current role. An HR Professional can outline how many leaders and employees they service and, furthermore, can note how many facilities and/or states they may fall under. If you think hard enough, everyone can strengthen their application by the strategic use of numbers.

The use of numbers lends significant credibility to whatever information you are sharing with the recruiter or hiring manager. It is one thing to “tell a story” about an accomplishment, but so much more impactful when it is accompanied with hard data that supports the success. The use of numbers may also cause the reviewer to increase their perception of your expertise due to your powerful use of data. In any scenario, the smart use of numbers will help you gain a competitive advantage against those who are just “winging it”. Go through your previous performance reviews and other accomplishments and dig into the numbers behind the success. Use this data in your job search to impress!

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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