Numbers in your CV.

As an active recruiter (I am the owner of HIREghana), my associates and I come daily through several candidates\’ CVs (we have a repository of 30000+ Ghanaian CVs). Over the years, I have also read several -unfortunately- bad books on CV writing and a lot of outdated online advice. And while there is plenty of advise on what to write and the how-to, there is rarely emphasis on adding \’cold data\’ on your CV.

So, kindly allow me to offer some brief tips coming from experience. The advice here apply possible to anyone but fresh graduates (of course every rule has its exceptions).

Possibly the best strategy to maximize your CV\’s strength is to have a professional summary of all your experiences and education that uses clear, cold and hard data to focus on and represent the results of:

  1. what have you achieved and to what degree of success, and
  2. the impact that these results have had in reference to your organization\’s goals/ mission/ objectives.

The Profound Numbers.

However profound that might be to all, we get CVs with

  1. no from-to dates for employment-time periods
  2. no dates for graduation
  3. not even a telephone number to contact the candidate!

I hope that you all understand how important is to have these numbers for any potential employer and recruiter.

The Telephone Receptionist Quantitative Example.

Suppose there is a vacancy for a Telephone Receptionist and I am to apply for it. If I were to state on my CV that:

I have 5 years working experience as a Telephone Receptionist.

==>That implies that even if I had made several mistakes, but now I am most likely an experienced Telephone Receptionist.

I have 5 years working experience as a Telephone Receptionist and I have answered over 10.000 calls

==>That implies that having talked to 10.000 people on the phone, I am probably a very good and definitely experienced Telephone Receptionist.

I have 5 years working experience as a Telephone Receptionist and I am answering over 2.000 calls per month on the average over those 5 years.

==>That implies explicitly tat I can answer over 10 calls per hour (you can do the Math please by diving the 2.000 calls over the worked hours in a month). It really means – beyond doubt- that I am not only an experience Telephone Receptionist but also a very efficient one (because I \’resolve\’ every call within minutes)

So, do you use the difference of what the right \’numerical\’ statement of your CV can do? Very powerful indeed.

Things to \’attach\’ numbers to.

Are you a Sales person? How much did you contribute to the overall revenue of the company? That can be a numerical percentage (e.g. 3%) or an estimated absolute value such as \’did sales work of 1.000.000 cedis per year\’. Did you reduce the cost of Customer Acquisition? If yes, by how much. Employers expect a Sales person to be able to provide and \’justify\’ these numbers (if you sell sports cars it is a lot easier to justify 1.000.000 cedis in revenue than just selling fish & pepper sauce in your local corner)

For almost every senior person/ manager, it is (and possibly should be) expected everything you do to have an impact on your company\’s revenue and ROI, etc… If you don\’t know these numbers, then how are your daily function and activities aligned to make your company profitable? But, this can be a discussion on its own.

Every employee has -at least in theory- some performance levels they need to meet and these are measured by relevant numerical KPIs. Voila- you got some numbers already to put on your CV from these KPIs. (If you do not have KPIs ask your manager to set them up so your performance can be measured in an objective way. Unfortunately a lot of managers don\’t know how to setup KPIs for their employees and subsequently are afraid to deal with this topic).

You can find numerical \’cold data\’ for everything you do- the only guideline is to attached /relate them to a business process. An example we see sometime in IT CVs is \’I maintained the availability of our Unix or Windows Server\’; find out what this server support and use plain English. If that server was used for supporting the Billing and Invoicing process, it is better to write that you managed the availability of the Billing Server at a lever of 99.9999 % for example.

Again, thing of what you do and find a way to attach numbers to it. It helps people understand your real seniority concerning the relevant task or business process, your effectiveness, efficiency and experience.

Some other \’not- so- numerical\’ Quantitative Date for your CV

In a simple \’word\’ just mentioned all the standards you are familiar or expert in it – assuming tat they are applicable. For example:

  • If you are an Accountant, maybe IFRS and GAAP
  • ITIL, if you are a ServiceDesk professional
  • PMP or Prince2 if you are a Project Manager
  • HACCP if you are a food specialist.
  • SCOR if you are a Supply Chain specialist.


There are so many ISO Standards, covering almost every professional activity and process. Tooooo many to list them here. And wouldn\’t you expect from a professional to know their industry standards?

In Conclusion.

Keep in mind that as resume\’s are scanned by hiring teams and by us (the recruiters), your \’numerical results\’ always help your resume to stand out.

So, please go ahead, take the time and turn your CV into a Quantitative one.

Thank you and Good Luck please.


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