If you spend five minutes researching resume writing tips online, one of the most common bits of advice you will find is to “quantify your achievements” to impress employers. Quantifying your achievements, for those wondering, is the act of using facts and figures to define what you have accomplished. Although the advice is simple, actually quantifying your accomplishments on your resume can be quite difficult – especially for those in non-sales positions. If you do not have a sales job, but wish to quantify your career, do not panic! Below are three helpful tips on how to devise numbers, percentages, and other impressive information for those of you that do not have straightforward sales jobs:

Make a List of Your Daily Responsibilities

Imagine that you are a hiring manager, recruiter, or department head. What would you want to see on an applicant’s resume? What would impress you? In addition, think about your career and what you have accomplished. Typically there are performance metrics which are available to you or your immediate supervisor. If not, that is okay. First, start off by listing some of your duties. Examples for three non-sales industries are below:

1) Information Technology (IT) Duties: Monitoring network/system security, answering helpdesk tickets/questions, installing new operating systems and/or software, etc.

2) Nursing/Health Care Duties: Assessing and monitoring patients, using medical software, training and supervising staff, complying with regulations, etc.

3) Construction Duties: Overseeing projects, training and supervising staff, managing budgets/timelines, etc.

Brainstorm for Relevant Numbers, Percentages, and More

Alright, now you should have a pretty big list of responsibilities. Now it is time to brainstorm for numbers. Every job has numbers, whether they are immediately discernible or not. If you do not know any numbers, consider asking a current or former coworker. Below are some example questions which may help you brainstorm:

1) IT: How many users were there on the network/system? How big was your departmental budget? How many helpdesk tickets did you answer per day? How many workstations did you handle maintenance and upgrades on?

2) Health Care: How many beds were in your particular unit? In your hospital/practice? Did you participate in any regulatory audits? How many medical software applications did you use on a daily basis, or help install? How many people did you supervise or train?

3) Construction: How many projects did you manage? How large were your budgets? Were your timelines met? What was your safety record?

These are obviously just a few example questions from a few example industries, but the concept applies to all industries.

Transform Your Responsibilities into Quantifiable Achievements

At this point you have listed your responsibilities and gathered a few numbers. What now? Start assembling some impressive statements for your resume! Check out the examples below:

1) IT: Monitored network and system security for 140 workstations and a total of 1,200 on/off-site users with zero notable downtime. Responded to an average of 20 helpdesk tickets per day with a resolution rate of approximately 100%. Orchestrated the purchase and installation of 50 new servers in compliance with a $500K budget.

2) Health Care: Assessed and monitored the status of patients in a 210-bed ICU. Played an instrumental role in a successful JCAHO/Joint Commission inspection. Trained and supervised 16 personnel, resulting in numerous promotions.

3) Construction: Managed 10 concurrent projects with a cumulative budget of $1.5B while overseeing nearly 150 personnel. Completed all projects within stringent deadlines and budgets ranging from $500K to $1.5B. Finished a large commercial development project at 97% of budget, saving approximately $15K for the customer.

Again, these are just example statements with fictional numbers.

Summary

Compare the sentences above (with the numbers, budgets, percentages) to the duties we originally listed in the “Make a List of Your Responsibilities” section. Even without sales quotas, President’s awards, and other sales-specific numbers, we have created impressive statements with quantifiable information. Due to the increasingly-competitive job market, spending a little time on your resume can pay serious dividends.

Quantifying your career/achievements is a matter of following three steps: make a list of your job duties, brainstorm for numbers which are associated with your duties, and transform your responsibilities into “quantified” statements by infusing your responsibilities with relevant numbers. Even if it is a stretch to call a few of your statements quantified, add as many relevant details and/or numbers as you can. For a visual representation of my recommendations, I’ve placed my original list of IT duties next to our final iteration:

Before:

  • Responsible for monitoring network/system security, answering helpdesk tickets/questions, installing new operating systems and/or software, and more.

After:

  • Monitored network and system security for 140 workstations and a total of 1,200 on/off-site users with zero notable downtime.
  • Responded to an average of 20 helpdesk tickets per day with a resolution rate of approximately 100%.
  • Orchestrated the purchase and installation of 50 new servers in compliance with a $500K budget.

Clearly the “after” statements are much more powerful and impressive, and you can achieve the same results on your resume with a little brainstorming.

By Drew Roark