I frequently discuss the importance of including metrics in your resume, during your interviews, in your self-assessments / accomplishment reports, and anywhere you can. People are always telling me that they don’t have these numbers or can’t remember them.

Numbers are important because they give context to your work and they prove your accomplishments. If you say that you lead a team or manage a budget or generate reports, I have no way of knowing whether that team is 2 or 200, your budget is $1 or $100M, or you generate 1 report a quarter or 1 per week.

When you are in the middle of doing your job, it’s easy to forget the impact of your work. And of course readers of your resume, interviewers, etc., will not have the framework for knowing that context. It is important for you to keep track and share both the context of your work and your impact with others.

One way to think about this is to answer the question, “how many, how much, and how often.”

To be more specific, here are some questions to consider to help you identify numbers to use in your career documents:
• Size of your budget
• Size of your team (and for those of you who are supervisors, how many direct reports, indirect reports?)
• How large is your territory? How many states / countries do you cover?
• How many people do you support?
• How many projects do you oversee at one time? What is their dollar value?
• How long are your reports? How often do you write them?
• Are all of your team members in one place or are they geographically dispersed? And if so, over how many states / countries / time zones?
• How much money did you save?
• By what percentage (or number of days) did you reduce processing time?
• How many customers do you have?
• Can you show a “before” and “after” comparison to demonstrate your impact—and quantify it?
• How many contracts did you approve? What was their total dollar value?
• How much growth did you see in customers? In sales? In something else?
• How quickly were you promoted?
• Did you complete something ahead of schedule? If so, by how many days / months?
• Did you bring a project in under budget? If so, by how much in dollars?
• How many audit findings did you identify? How many did you resolve?
• What is your response time? Does that represent an improvement?
• Did you reduce complaints? By how much?
• Did you increase “clicks,” engagement? Morale? Something else? Be specific.
• Did you reduce turnover / improve retention?
• Did you increase profits / sales revenue / donations?
• What was the average rating of classes you taught? How many classes? How many participants?
• Did you reduce the error rate? By how much?

You get the idea! And of course, when using numbers in your accomplishments, be sure to use actions verbs: increased, shortened, improved, reduced, generated, etc. Be sure to track your numbers throughout your career so you have them available when needed. Using numbers in your resume, during interviews, and elsewhere to tout your accomplishments and provide context to your work is a real differentiator and will make you standout.

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.