Numbers are important in resumes as they make your information and accomplishments more specific, whether the numbers are the dates of employment or the dollar amount of sales you contributed to your current company. Mistakes in numbers can undermine your resume and prevent that vital call to an interview. Here are four mistakes to avoid:
• Transposed numbers. You know your telephone number or zip code so well that it is easy to transpose numbers and never realize it. Yet that transposition will prevent hiring managers and recruiters from contacting you. Never assume that familiar numbers are correct.
• Bad calculations. Let’s say you contributed 25% of the sales in your group, totaling $130,000. Your share is therefore $32,500—it is not $3,250 or $97,500 or any other figure. Always double-check your math—or better yet, have someone else check it.
• Inconsistent numbers. There are two types of inconsistency, in form and in content. If you start out writing $1M, do not change the form to $1 million or $1MM. If you start out listing your percent to quota (PTQ) in both percentages and dollars, do not suddenly drop dollars in the middle of the list. If your resume says you helped 35 customers every day, then your cover letter should say 35, not 30+ or 35.0.
• Wrong numbers. You probably never worked full-time for two different companies in two widely separated cities over the same spread of years. You probably never started your 27-year career when you were 8 years old. Make sure the numbers you give make sense, especially dates.
• Missing numbers. Now is the time—before you leave your job—to gather numbers, whether they are the number of employees on your team, the overall size of the company, the number of people you mentored, your grade point average or your ranking in key performance metrics, such as sales targets or number of new accounts.
When you use numbers properly, they make you stand out from the competition. Anyone can exceed new account targets, but you exceeded by 130%. Anyone can advance “quickly,” but you achieved 3 promotions in 5 years.