How to Translate Your Job Experience into Data Points
You already understand the importance of optimizing your resume with job posting keywords and personalizing it to specific job descriptions—but if you really want to take your resume to the next level, it’s time to translate your job experience into data points. Quantifying your professional expertise in statistics will catch a hiring manager’s eyes and add specificity to your accomplishments. Plus, data points demonstrate you have the receipts to back up your resume.
If you’re a numbers person, you’re probably already tracking some of this data. If not, keep the following in mind as you revise your resume with a statistical eye.
Ask yourself: How many? How much? What’s the delta?
If you don’t work in sales or another industry that’s obviously quantifiable, you may wonder how you can derive numbers from your work experience. The key is to look at each aspect of your role numerically. For instance, instead of saying you supervised a remote team, say that you supervised a team of eight covering nearly 270,000 square miles. That gives the hiring manager or recruiter an understanding of how much responsibility you held. “Supervised a remote team” could also mean you supervised two people who lived 15 minutes away but only came into the office on occasion. See the difference?
Another way to quantify your experience is to look for relevant increases and decreases that can be expressed in both figures and percentages. For instance, if you increased lead conversion by 10 percent annually, provide additional context in terms of numbers as well to offer evidence of scope. (A 10 percent increase of one is not as impressive as a 10 percent increase of 1,000.) Similarly, if you were able to reduce expenditures by 5 percent, share the size of your program budget.
As you examine your resume for opportunities to include data points, consider:
- The size of budgets/financial responsibility. In this case, the larger the budget, the more impressive.
- The number of people involved in a project. This can be especially useful if you do not have much experience as a supervisor. Managing a project successfully without supervisory authority can be much harder than managing direct reports.
- How many clients you have/vendors you partner with/programs you manage. You deserve credit for being able to keep so many plates spinning in the air.
- Any relevant rankings. Did your team win best customer service in a community awards program? How do you stack up against your competitors in terms of clients, sales, etc.
- The amount of time you have been involved in an effort. Length of time can show expertise—but showcasing successful completion of a project ahead of a deadline can be equally impressive.
- How often you complete a particular task? For instance, do you conduct training presentations once a month or twice a week?
What if you don’t have exact figures?
Accuracy is essential, but you may not have access to statistics from past positions. (But you’ll be sure to document those for yourself going forward.) In such a case, consider whether using a range is appropriate—for instance, if you’re explaining how many clients you speak to in a week or how many orders you typically complete.
Be a stickler for accuracy
Although it’s fine in many cases to offer a ballpark range, that range must be rooted in reality. Facts and figures are easy to verify. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to have a job offer rescinded because your resume claims raised red flags in a background check. No matter how alluring a data point might sound, if you are truly making a wild guess, it’s better to leave the numbers out. Better safe than sorry.