Job Search Jenna: Importance of Numbers

Several weeks ago I had a long question/answer session with a company at Career Expo. As Brad mentioned here, there are certain questions that are interview staples, even in impromptu interviews at Expo. I got the usual ones he mentioned, but we also went into detail about something I was not expecting:


Throughout my resume I have numbers listed everywhere. For one organization in which I was Vice President, I list that I was part of a six-member executive board in charge of a 200 member organization. Under another job title I list that I assisted 49 other student delegates raise $1 million towards the Auburn University Annual Fund. For each job listing I try to quantify the scale in which I worked.

Often, numbers add value to the work you’ve done. The employer with whom I was speaking noted that the numbers did in fact give me a boost. He told me that often students will list a job or internship and leave out crucial numerical information which could really give them a lift over their competition.

“Numbers,” he said “show how grand of a scale we are talking about. If you say you had a broad customer base, I’m going to think you’re using the word “broad” as a filler. However if you say you had a customer base of 100, I’m going to know you really did have a broad customer base and that you clearly know how to work with a large number of people.”

Career Counselor Phyllis Bickers offers great advice on why numbers are so important. One reason numbers are so important is because they can be used to give a clearer picture.

“For example, an early childhood education major might list a camp counselor position they had one summer where they planned activities for the campers. If they said they supervised twenty children ages four and five, the prospective employer would be more impressed as the ages related to early childhood and the quantity of students listed was similar to that of a classroom.”

Another reason they’re so important is because they can be show several highly sought after workplace traits including:

  • Responsibility (planned work schedule for six other employees)
  • Sales ability (exceeded sales quota by 20%)
  • Organizational skills (chaired advertising committee and developed four marketing ads, two radio spots, and flyers posted in all eighteen classroom buildings)

Numbers are key to helping your resume stand out from the pile.

Happy job hunting.
Job Search Jenna ‘10

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