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Potential employers are looking for applicants with real experience and qualities. When you can describe an experience quantitatively, that is, using numbers, your experience is more impactful.

So how can you turn a general description of a past experience into a quantitative one?

Language is Important

Potential employers are looking for reasons to hire you. They're trying to understand: what value are you going to add to their business? Numbers help to make this answer clear by showing what you've accomplished in the past.

Consider This

Instead of saying "I was a camp counsellor" say "I was responsible for supervising and organizing activities for 40 campers on a daily basis".

Although both describe the same job the second is much more appealing to an employer. The numbers give them a better sense of what you actually did.

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Quiz

"Last summer I worked at a clothing store. I learned improved my organizational skills." How could you help quantify this experience?

I was the most organized employee.

I learned a lot about filing.

I created a new system.

I organized the weekly shift schedule.

Using Numbers

When employers look at resumes they are instantly drawn to numbers. Numbers can relate to many different things. It can be a dollar amount, hours worked, or even the number of people you may have been in charge of.

For example...

  • I increased sales on my team by 30%.

  • I managed a team of 5 people.

  • I babysat 3 children aged 4 to 8.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Numbers In Action

Building off our previous example: "I was responsible for supervising and organizing activities for 40 campers on a daily basis". Here the number used serves two purposes.

  1. It draws attention to a line where it is directly stated that both supervision and organization skills were needed to complete the job.

  2. It also quantifies this and demonstrates that these skills were needed to watch over a large group. Without the number, a potential employer might think it's only a few campers.

Quiz

Which of the following examples is the best use of a number on a resume description; describing a dog walking business you started in your neighborhood?

I cared for 15 dogs.

I walked and groomed 15 dogs.

I charged $12 an hour.

I worked 3 hours every Saturday.

Take Action

It's easy to convert it to a quantifiable experience in the eyes of an employer so long as: you focus on specific actions, tasks, skills you used in completing it. If you do this, a potential employer will be able to understand how you could use these skills in a role at their organization.

Similarly, it's important to remember that numbers never hurt and if used properly can be very effective in making you stand out to a potential employer.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Take a look at your resume.

Does every experience have a quantifiable description? If not, add one example with a number for each.

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This Byte has been authored by

MJ

Matt Jenkins

Second Year Undergraduate Student at Harvard College