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Job seekers should try to quantify their work

Working in Norway

By the numbers: Use metrics to improve your CV

Written by Karin Lee Dec. 18 2020

Do you mean the metric system?

When English is your second language, it can be awfully confusing when new and seemingly nonsensical words get thrown your way.

And if you’re a second-language speaker looking for work, there are so many “buzz words” (trendy terms) online that nobody would blame you for puzzling over them.

For instance, ever heard of “metrics”?

You might think at first glance that it has something to do with numbers, which it does.

That is, when writing your CV, “using metrics” means describing what you’ve accomplished at work in a quantifiable way through writing numbers.

Hiring managers want detail, not clichés

Why do this? Because hiring managers and recruiters look for applications that contain more than standard empty phrases such as ‘am responsible for…’ or ‘am a motivated self-starter who…’…or ‘am reliable, hard-working and detail-oriented’, etc.

Instead of tired clichés, they want to read about what an applicant has actually achieved at work in clear and concrete terms that they can understand. In short, numbers.

Not just for salespeople

At this point, you might think that using metrics is easiest for salespeople, who can write ‘Increased my department’s sales by 25% last year’ or the like. Very true.

But consider other examples of how job seekers can quantify their work.

They:

  • managed a staff of 18 engineers
  • taught four classes of geometry (total of 160 students)
  • were part of a 15-member team project
  • administrated 26 professional events over the past year
  • volunteered on a 56-person team
  • arranged a two-day student festival with over 2,000 participants
  • practiced LEAN methods to analyze 12 sub-contractor bids
  • implemented a time-saving strategy that saved the company est. NOK 100,000
  • trained and mentored eight lab assistants for three years
  • administered the budget (NOK 400,000) to hire project consultants

Will stop there, but you’ve gotten the idea, right?

Quantity means CV quality

The job seekers above didn’t at first; it was only after – as their editor – I’d asked them to supply these numbers that they went back and plugged them into their job descriptions.

And didn’t they improve as a result?

Your personal metrics exist for each of your past jobs, too.

Try your best to recall these numbers, then write them down to add important details to your own CV story.

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