Job search

Presenting your professional experience during job hunt: Numbers are your friends

Numbers rule the business world – revenue, headcount, process time, value increase, number of clients, inventory count, profit margin, credit rating, customer satisfaction score. Numbers indicate and measure success or failure, whether a business activity is positive or negative to the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business decision made without some factoring in of “the numbers,” be it stats, cost, the potential return on investment.

Hiring is a business decision.

To make a strong case for yourself (Envision your selling features.) throughout your resumé use numbers, the language of business, to quantify your results and establish yourself as someone who can bring value to an employer. Using numbers shows you understand how companies operate and that they exist to make a profit. Most importantly, using results-achieved numbers displays your value.

Which job seeker displays better value?

Candidate 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project.

Candidate 2: Spearheaded the Hazzard County water decontamination project, finishing $125,000 under budget due to a 25% decrease in staff allocation time.

Which job seeker gives a clearer picture of their responsibilities?

Candidate 1: Supervised team leaders.

Candidate 2: Supervised 3 team leaders, collectively responsible for 40 CSRs answering 1,750 – 2,500 calls daily.

Which job seeker shows their work ethic?

Candidate 1: Completed first editing pass on articles.

Candidate 2: Reviewed and evaluated 50 – 75 articles per week, deciding whether to reject the article, forward it to the editorial team, or send it back to the author with revision suggestions.

Information quantified means something. Information not quantified is just an opinion. Most resumés are just a list of opinions, thus quantifying your professional experience will set you apart from your competition.

TIP: Always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your professional experiences.

For each position you list on your resumé, ask yourself:

• Did I increase my employer’s revenue? How?

• Did I save my employer money?

• Did I save time?

• Was my boss(es), colleagues, staff, customers, vendors, and leadership team members happier because of me?

• How did I contribute to improving my employer’s business?

When answering these questions, quantify (percentage, range, monetary, frequency, before/after comparison, ratio). Creating a resumé that wows requires filling it with quantified results-rich statements.

• Reduced customer complaints by 47% by implementing a formal feedback system.

• Improved product delivery time 22% after assigning clarified monthly job tasks to team members.

• In 2020, grew revenue 33%, and improved gross margin by 22%, by standardizing business operating procedures.

• Produced $1.75M in cost-savings after renegotiating the company’s supply and service contracts (14 vendors).

• Built sales organization from the ground up, hiring and training 15 sales representatives within 6 months.

• In 2019, generated over $7.25M in additional revenue by identifying, pursuing, and securing 4 new international contracts.

As I mentioned a few columns back, your resumé must clearly and succinctly answer one question: How did you add or bring value to your employers? When it comes to answering this question, numbers are your friends.

Something to keep in mind: The king of numbers, the only metric in business that matters, the one that keeps a business alive and profitable, is revenue. As much as possible, throughout your resumé and cover letter, demonstrate the results you’ve achieved that were added value to your employer’s financial success.

Don’t write on your resumé what’s become a cliche, “result-oriented.” Don’t write it on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say it during an interview. Show your results! “In 2017, I increased sales by 29% by creating upsell opportunities for my 8-member sales team to offer.”

Additional tips when bulleting your professional experience:

• Employment dates need to be month/year. Only indicating years is a red flag you’re trying to cover up employment gaps.

• Under 2 Lines. Your bullets shouldn’t be more than 2 lines.

• The first 5 – 8 words are critical. When skimming a resumé, the reader will likely read the first few words of a bullet then, unless their interest is piqued, move on to the next bullet. The first few words need to be captivating.

Nick Kossovan, a seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape in Canada, offers advice on searching for a job. Send him your questions at