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I learned how to present myself in the best possible way. Very happy about this hour spent with you.  - Undergraduate attending Sian's seminar

How to use numbers effectively to improve your CV

19th November 2013

I've been having some interesting conversations recently with fellow recruiters and several job seekers about how best tp impress recruiters with the right numbers on your CV. Consequently, I thought I would share a few tips about what works well on CVs and what doesn't.

Firstly, recruiters do like numbers on all sorts of CVs, not just in the sales professions. When used correctly, they help us to measure your impact and we can then put a scale on your past experiences. The presence of appropriate numbers also suggests a self-aware candidate, who understands for themselves what they have achieved in past roles and how they did it. Let's look at a few principles to applying numbers to your CVs.

First, ensure that they are accurate. Expect an interviewer to ask you a question about any number you put into your application, so be ready to provide more detail about that measurement. Know that you will be expected to provide supporting evidence.

Secondly, help me understand the context  of your achievement; for example "Resolving an average of 10 customer queries per shift" might be the shift record, worthy of much congratulation if you deal with complex problems, merely typical of the level of work that is expected of you, or frankly pitiful performance. I shall assume that because you put it on your CV, you are impressed with that number, and I shall find out just how impressive it is at interview, so long as the rest of your CV has been impressive enough for me to decide that you are worth interview time. So always give me the context of your number; for example; "Resolving an average of 10 customer queries per shift, compared to the team average of 8 queries."

Use numbers to specify your achievements, even when you take the numbers for granted. For example, I was recently working with a young man who was applying for work with a large multinational company. He knew that his target business would favour any experience of working with multinational teams, so the first draft of his CV mentioned that he had hotel experience of working in multinational teams. That statement came to life when I asked him to count up the people he had worked with and he realised that he could truthfully state that he had worked with 12 different nationalities. 

Think widely about the sorts of results that can be measured in your past jobs and start collecting the evidence now if you are planning a career move soon. Often individuals don't have access to past records of achievements, so start the habit of recording any numbers in your work that you might pick up from your boss verbally but don't get recorded by you. All sorts of processes can be quantified above the obvious ones; consider wastage, time and error rates saved, positive customer  comments, even if not written down, new processes or ideas contributed, referral business generated, deadlines achieved and budgets managed. The list could go on- just about any activity you engage in to achieve a result at work can be  quantified in some way.

 So, choose your numbers carefully, never take you achievements for granted and see if you could gather the evidence to describe your achievements numerically on your CV now. if you would like any further help, then just drop me an email to sian@nailthatjob.co.uk, or find fresh inspiration here; http://www.nailthatjob.co.uk/portfolio/cv-development , or here; http://www.nailthatjob.co.uk/portfolio/nail-that-job-the-book, or here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHnIWlkmZDk

 Make those numbers work hard for you!

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