Why You Should Include Numbers on Your Technical Resume

Numbers on your technical resume help you stand out and get selected for interviews by hiring managers and engineering leaders.

Published by Marc Cenedella on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Your resume is a document that helps you get interview requests. That’s its primary function. As a result, you should write your resume to maximize the chances that you’ll get selected for an interview. Secondarily, a resume is a useful page of notes, detailing your past experience, for you to use during the interview itself. Well-organized notes help you perform better in interviews when discussing your past career performance.

But the primary goal of the resume is to generate interview requests for you, and that’s our focus at Leet Resumes when we write technical resumes for technology professionals for free.

In this post, I’ll discuss why including numbers on your resume increases your chances of attracting positive attention from future bosses, HR managers and recruiters.

What people look for on a technical resume

Writing is about communicating well. Communicating well means understanding your audience – knowing what they’re looking for, and providing it to them.

Your future boss, right now, is looking for a technology professional who can fill an open role and solve some of their problems. They need more hands to help with the backlog, their AWS environment is scaling quickly and they need additional DevOps professionals, or they believe their back-end team could use a boost to improve performance. Whatever the reason, they have a need to hire someone like you.

When scanning through resumes to select candidates for interviews, those hiring managers are looking for someone who can help solve their existing and future problems. Similar to how you select a tool, a repo, a library, a pattern, to use when you want to get something done in your job, a hiring manager is looking to select interview candidates who can help them get something done in their job. So the resume review process for your future boss is to look for people who seem to have the highest likelihood of solving problems similar to the ones they have now and in the future.

You make it easy on them when you describe, in detail, the most important problems you’ve solved, or contributed to, in the past. Sharing the types of problems you’ve solved, the types of solutions you’ve implemented, and the types of accomplishments you’ve had, provide good information to the hiring manager.

This technique is most effective when you use specific numbers to demonstrate how well you solved problems and at what scale. Numbers are objective, and therefore make a better and more effective case for you. Numbers are more persuasive than merely sharing your opinion that the improvement was significant, large, or important. And the best way to share numbers is with the Action - Number - Method pattern for resume bullet points.

Action - Number - Method Pattern

You get the biggest impact from sharing your accomplishments in your resume bullet points, when you use the Action - Number - Method bullet point pattern.

This pattern describes your achievements using:

  • An Action - something grew, shrank, increased, decreased, got more efficient, cost less, was eliminated, or other similar verbs that indicate a change in state;
  • Combined with a Number - a specific number of units, dollars, or percentage points increase or decrease that happened because of your action;
  • Combined with a Method - a brief explanation of what method you used to get this result.

Commonly, technical resumes written by engineers will tend to focus only on the Method – what technology, or tools, or system you used to achieve your goal. By adding Action and Number, you make it much easier for a hiring manager to understand your impact, not just your method.

That’s important because most of the resumes hiring managers receive for technical positions are filled with methods. Your competition for a role have all shipped, wrote, developed, worked on, or were responsible for various pieces of technology. Everybody’s resume has a fairly full list of activities that took place.

What sets one resume apart from the others is using numbers to describe the change that happened because you were there. The reason Leet focuses so heavily on quantified data is that it has a significant, differentiated, and positive impact on how your resume is perceived by hiring managers. The presence of Actions and Numbers on a resume make it much, much easier for your future boss to pick your resume out of the pile for an interview.

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