Career Advice for the Smart Job Seeker
Insights on elevating your resume, job search and personal growth
Help! I Don’t Know How to Quantify My Achievements in My Resume!
Why should I include achievements in my resume?
Before we dive into quantifying your accomplishments, let’s take a look at why these are important to include in your resume at all.
If you’re looking for a new job, you’ve probably heard that resumes have shifted from focusing just on responsibilities, to including your major achievements as well.
That’s because hiring managers these days want to know not just what you were hired to do, but how you personally took that job and made an impact on the organization. As past performance is a good indicator of future performance, this tells them how you could potentially benefit them as well.
The easiest way to showcase this for recruiters is by including 2-3 (or more) accomplishments you achieved for each of your recent jobs.
For example, these might include particularly successful projects, portfolio values you managed, sales targets you smashed, a complex problem you overcame, new processes you introduced, significant cost savings you effected, how many accounts you oversaw, or the growth of a team that you steered.
Whichever achievements you decide to include, ensure these are relevant to the job you’re applying for, and that they clearly demonstrate your impact on that organization.
Why should I quantify my achievements?
In the examples of accomplishments mentioned above, you may have noticed that we included clearly quantifiable achievements (e.g. sales figures), as well as seemingly non-quantifiable achievements (e.g. a complex problem you overcame).
However, even non-quantifiables should ideally be quantified for maximum impact.
Because quantifying information makes it much easier for skimming recruiters to absorb. It also has a very clever way of making the achievement sound much more impressive.
Consider this example from a property development specialist’s resume:
- Managed national portfolio of shopping centers, as well as a team of direct reports
- Managed national portfolio of 9 shopping centers (total value $600M), including 43 direct reports
Which one sounds more powerful? To a hiring manager, the second point gives much more insight into the person’s leadership and portfolio management experience. Quantifying it has also made it easier to comprehend the portfolio values and team sizes the job seeker is familiar with handling.
In the following sections, we’ll show you how to easily quantify any type of professional accomplishment so that your resume helps you to immediately stand you out from the competition.
What’s the best way to showcase my quantifiable achievements?
Usually, the most straightforward (and fastest) way to highlight your quantifiable accomplishments is to convert these to a currency (e.g. $), size, or % value.
- Obtained development approval for 25-level tower in Dubai with GFA of 68,000m2; led sale negotiation resulting in asset on-selling for $35M
If you aren’t quite sure of the metric, then it’s also possible to use expressions such as ‘millions’, ‘dozens’, or ‘hundreds’. While not as catchy at exact numbers, the recruiter still gets good insight into the approximate figure.
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Let’s take a look at some more examples of quantified accomplishments that you can use for inspiration:
- Saved clients acculated total of $1M+ annually thanks to meticulously designed and implemented workforce planning strategies and systems
- Championed execution of innovative talent optimisation strategy that cut turnover 30%, improved leadership bench strength 20%, and increased diversity in leadership roles 25%
- Managed ~20 enterprise accounts with multiple business lines including social media networking platforms, pharmaceuticals, and financial institutions; portfolio value $2.1m
- Participated in Office Supplies Program initiative to consolidate operations and manage supplies ordering for entire head office to reduce spending; led to cost savings of ~100K
As you can see, in each example the job seeker has converted these figures into precise numbers (e.g. $2.1m) or, when they weren’t entirely sure, into an approximate value (e.g. ~20, 100+).
How do I quantify ‘non-quantifiable’ achievements?
Quantifying ‘non-quantifiable’ accomplishments can seem a little trickier at first, especially if the achievement is not something you would usually measure.
First of all, start by writing down a list of your major accomplishments. Then, when trying to quantify a ‘non-quantifiable’, think about aspects such as:
- Did you achieve it in a certain amount of time?
- How big was the project, event, or space?
- How large was the team you managed or worked within?
- How many stakeholders, partners, vendors, offices, clients, customers, agencies, or countries did you engage with?
Make a note against each achievement. Then, play with the wording until it has been turned into a ‘quantifiable’ accomplishment.
Here are some examples of how other job seekers managed this:
- Launched new satellite office in first 30 days; hired/managed 7 teams (Customer Support, Product Support, Equipment Service & Repair, Field Service Engineering, Business Analysis)
- Led project team in all aspects of construction from production to architectural drawings, cost estimates, and scheduling for high-end single-family residentials (70 sq m – 1200 sq m)
- Automated marketing campaign setup; decreased manual data entry by media buyers from 1 hour to 10 seconds; created audit reporting to catch additional errors within 1 business day
- Lead team of 7 in-house specialists and supervise outsourced services with 14 partners and contractors
- Analyse test results and provide executive recommendations on web page strategy for 15 countries
It’s almost always possible to quantify an achievement, even if no measurable metrics were involved.
But if you struggle to turn your accomplishments into a measurement, don’t panic. It’s much better to include achievements, even if they’re not quantified, than to skip these altogether.
- Hiring managers want to know not just what you were hired to do, but how you personally took that job and made an impact on the organization (i.e. your accomplishments)
- Include 2-3 (ideally quantifiable) achievements for each of your most recent roles
- Quantifiable achievements are usually showcased in currency (e.g. $), percentage (%), statistic, or other digit format (e.g. 15 direct reports)
- Even ‘non-quantifiable’ achievements can often be quantified in some way, for example by mentioning how many clients you worked with, how many offices or partners you engaged with, and so on
- If an accomplishment truly can’t be quantified, don’t worry: what’s important is that you’ve highlighted your achievements