Resume Tip #6: Prove It! Quantify Whenever Possible.

The language of business is numbers. If you want to catch the attention of a business person, use numbers.

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • When did you to it?
  • How long did it take?
  • How much time did you save?
  • How much money did you save?
  • How many people were involved?
  • How many sales did you make?
  • In what amount of time?
  • What was your contribution to the company’s bottom line?

Once you have their attention you need to back up your statement with credible, verifiable results to prove that you are capable of doing what you say you can do.

Use accomplishment statements (CAR Statements — see below) in the body of your resume to demonstrate your capabilities. Don’t just state responsibilities.  Give specific examples of how your actions have helped previous employers make or save money.

For example, every Office Manager could put on their resume that they “order, organize and monitor office supply cabinet.”  Big deal.  Nothing in that statement would be enough to get you an interview.  Just think of what might happen if, instead, you put down something like: “saved previous employer $12,000 per year by developing a process to effectively order and manage office supplies.”

I can tell you what happened, because one of my clients put that on her resume and got several interviews because of it.

We recommend the CAR Statement methodology (Condition, Activity, Resolution, Statement) to help you quantify your results and stand out from the competition. Here’s how to write your own CAR Statements:

  • First identify a specific CONDITION (problem, situation, need) you worked on in a prior job or career position. Simply describe the need or the project you worked on. What was happening that needed your attention? Why was it important to your company? What would have happened if you did nothing? Whenever possible, use numbers to define the scope of the situation. Write two or three bullet points to identify the condition you encountered.


  • Second describe the ACTIVITY or ACTION you took to address this condition. What did you do to address the problem? List steps you took. Identify tools or processes you used. Don’t worry about being too detailed here. Remember, this step is just for you. It doesn’t go on your resume. In a few bullet points describe the activity or action you took.


  • Third describe the RESOLUTION that came about as a result of your actions. What happened? Be sure to use quantifiable results – how much money did you make or save? How many people were involved? How much time was saved? How did you reduce waste or increase efficiencies? One or two bullets ought to do it.


  • Finally, write a STATEMENT that shows the impact of the action you took. Write one or two sentences that pull together the 5-9 bullet points in the first three steps. These two sentences should bring all of your points together in a concise statement. A simple format for this is: “did what”, “for whom”, “resulting in . . . “ Be sure to use numbers to show how the results were measured. This is important because managers use numbers to measure the success or failure of just about ANY business activity. When you quantify your results you are speaking their language, and that is more likely to lead to an interview for you! Numbers make the accomplishment “pop” off the page. They allow you to stand out among the competition.

I recommend come up with 3-4 CARS for each key accomplishment area in your career. Use examples of different times, jobs, and situations to show a variety from throughout your work history.

Bonus tip – use a numeral (i.e. 4, 15, 100,000) whenever you write numbers rather than spelling it out.  Spelling out the number (four, fifteen, etc…) may be grammatically correct, but using the numeral will get your resume read. Which would you prefer?

More Resume Tips

Resume Tip #1: Focus On Your Accomplishments

Resume Tip #2: Professional Summary Not Objective

Resume Tip #3: Nobody Cares What You Know… Until They Know You Care

Resume Tip #4: Look Forward Rather Than Backwards

Resume Tip #5: The Education Section

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