If you’ve recently updated your resume, you’ve probably become frustrated with trying to incorporate quantifiable accomplishments.
Quantifiable accomplishments are all the resume rage because numbers convey impact quickly, efficiently, and can transcend language.
As a resume writer, I’m always looking for ways to quantify the results my clients have created in their careers. But slapping a number on an accomplishment just to quantify it doesn’t suddenly make it more relevant and powerful. The use of a number needs to make sense, and often, it doesn’t. There are many situations where you can’t quantify an accomplishment, and some cases where you shouldn’t even try.
Why do we even need to think about accomplishments anyway?
We know that if our resume makes it past the applicant tracking system and into the hands of a human, it gets very little time in front of their eyeballs. That means we need to bring the reader’s attention to what they need to know about us, and how we’ll add value to their organization, fast.
In this post, I’ll share with you some categories of common unquantifiable accomplishments, questions that will prompt you to think about conveying impact without measuring it, and 17 examples of how non-quantifiable accomplishments might look on your resume.
The most impressive aspect your leadership might be that you lead big teams, which is quantifiable, but that’s a lackluster accomplishment in itself. Leadership is typically about people and information, so your accomplishments will be a bit more abstract in this case. Instead of just team size, ponder:
- What have I led my team to achieve?
- How have I facilitated cross-functional collaboration between my team and other departments? What’s the impact?
- How have I mentored an employee to develop or achieve a promotion? What new milestone did they reach?
- Why am I trusted as a subject-matter expert? How and what did I contribute?
- Why was I invited to contribute to a think tank or take part in exclusive training?
- How did I train others?
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Relationship management and partnerships accomplishments
Similar to leadership, relationship management and partnerships involve the softer side of business. While we could draw a conclusion that our relationships have resulted in an increase in revenue, for example, we aren’t all sales people. That doesn’t make our commitment to building connection any less important or impactful. Rather than force a number, consider:
- Where have I built new relationships that never existed for my company before? What opportunities did this create?
- How did I repair an important relationship either externally or internally? What was the impact?
- How have I partnered with another team or organization to move important initiatives forward? What was the result?
Innovation and business transformation accomplishments
While it should be easy to measure the result of innovation and change, depending on the organization, sometimes there are no metrics or KPIs, or we might just not be privy to them.
But we can still highlight how we’ve made our companies run like well-oiled machines, even without numbers. Ask yourself:
- How did I automate a process? With the time it freed up, what opportunities could be pursued instead?
- What process did I proactively build from scratch? What inspired this innovation?
- How did I influence change? Why did this make a difference in my organization?
- How did I facilitate adoption of a new tool or technology? What efficiency did this create?
Recognition and merit
Occasionally we’re just immeasurably awesome, and if we’re lucky, we’re recognized for it. Reflecting back on each role, recall:
- Promotions: When did I earn them and why did I earn them?
- Awards: Why did I receive an award and who was also eligible for it? (ie. who did I beat?) Was it a department award? Company-wide award?
- Praise: Why was I praised and who praised me?
17 non-quantifiable accomplishments examples
Let’s bring this all together with examples of how some non-quantifiable accomplishments could be written on your resume:
- Led help desk to partner with customers, spending more time providing clear and actionable instructions, empowering clients to self-troubleshoot issues in the future
- Initiated a “lunch and learn” series to facilitate knowledge and best practice sharing between the sales, client services, and project management departments
- Mentored analyst to earn promotion to Project Manager by identifying cross-training and development opportunities
- Worked closely with a Data Analyst struggling to perform—identified strengths in client service and facilitated a lateral role change to the account management team, where he now excels
- Designated as the ERP subject-matter expert—contributed to vendor negotiations and was instrumental in securing a lower solution cost
- Invited to serve on the Change Management committee to evaluate change requests from a risk management perspective, working closing with senior leadership
- Completed the prestigious Leadership Training program, a development opportunity offered only to employees identified as top talent
- Developed a customer call framework and training program, delivering the training to all call center staff with the intention of improving customer satisfaction and speed of resolution
- Joined the local CPA professional association chapter, and connected with the organizers to become corporate sponsors for the upcoming regional conference
- Repaired critical relationship with key client by assigning dedicated analysts to their project—resulted in bid approval
- Fully automated the inbound inquiry assignment process, freeing up the account coordinator to follow-up with clients
- Built a production issue priority framework from scratch to more efficiently identify and resolve business critical issues
- Delivered a webinar showcasing the benefits of Agile which is supporting a shift away from Waterfall methods
- Shifting company towards completely paperless operations—developed a quick scan method which eliminated the need for mail distribution
- Promoted from senior analyst to team lead by demonstrating leadership potential and proactively training junior analysts
- Received the World-Class Customer Service award for contributing to a key client’s renewal—selected from all customer service staff in New York
- Praised by [Client or Leader Name], [Client or Leader Title], [Company Name]: “[Direct quote about why you’re awesome]”
While quantifying adds power to your resume, it only works when numbers make sense. If a number doesn’t add, or even, detracts from the impact, leave it out, and communicate your accomplishment with clear and concise language.
Looking for more? Check out these 39 (quantifiable) accomplishment examples
Editor’s note: The Jobscan resume match report includes checks for measurable results based things like on numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts. The examples above are unlikely to be considered by this check.
And that’s OK! Having quantifiable results are great if you have them, but as this article describes, not everyone does. Instead, use Jobscan to uncover the most impactful hard skills and keywords to use within your non-quantifiable accomplishments.
Kamara Toffolo is a resume writer, LinkedIn consultant, and job search strategist who helps established professionals worldwide DARE to do work differently and land great-fitting gigs. Kamara has been featured in media including Forbes, Business Insider, Inc., and The Daily Muse to name a few, and was published in the book YouMap®: Find Yourself. Blaze Your Path. Show the World! Watch Kamara’s LinkedIn video series #TuesdayTen, where she shares actionable job search advice every week.
Kamara was named Jobscan’s top person to follow on LinkedIn for 2019.