Use metrics to promote achievements


Statistics, measurements, counts and other metrics sound scientific, inarguable and objective. If you bolster your resume, answers to interview questions and updates to your supervisor, LinkedIn profile and other professional documents with such metrics, they will sound scientific, inarguable and objective.

By quantifying your achievements, you will also underscore their heft and help prove that you’re an action-oriented go-getter rather than a self-promoting talker.

“Time” metrics are one way to help quantify your achievements:

  • Your years of experience or hours of training or courses.
  • Tight, non-negotiable deadlines you met, or the number of work products (such as press releases, articles, videos, reports, grants, regulations) you produced or processed within a specified time.
  • Time savings you produced by streamlining or automating procedures.
  • You can also use metrics to quantify the number of people affected by your achievements:
  • The number of interns, employees or contractors you recruited or supervise; the number of customers or clients you serve, managers you support or stakeholder groups you interact with.
  • The size of the audience reached by your publication or website, or the increase in size of audience you generated.
  • The number of attendees at presentations, conferences or training sessions you managed, or the number of events you led. Also, the number or percentage of attendees who rated your event favorably.
  • The increase in an organization’s membership or the improvements in survey results you generated.
  • Reductions in the frequencies of deaths, injuries or other adverse events you helped bring about; the number of people or organizations that must comply with regulations you implemented; the number of people using a network or other system you manage or the size of database you manage; or the number of cases you won or managed.
  • Stats that reflect the selectivity of a fellowship or other honor you received.
  • The size and diversity of membership of a group you lead, or stats proving that you increased the diversity of an office or program.

Money and efficiency metrics:

  • Your record of completing projects on time or in record time or under budget.
  • The size of budget you manage and budget increases you helped generate; the annual revenue of the organization you manage and revenue increases you helped generate; the dollar value of contracts or accounts you manage; or the dollar value of legal cases, property or equipment you manage or purchased.
  • Cost savings you generated by improving processes, negotiating skillfully or leading reorganizations; stats showing that you improved quality controls or increased efficiency.
  • The number or dollar value of promotions and bonuses you received within a specified time.

Geography metrics:

  • The number of square feet or size of acreage that you manage or consolidated.
  • The number or size of facilities, labs, offices, states, districts or countries in your jurisdiction.

If you can’t cite exact numbers in your attempt, quantify your achievements:

  • Estimate with phrases, such as: dozens of, significant increases in or 100-plus.
  • Use creative but honest accounting. For example, consider the strategy used by a federal attorney asked about her supervisory experience in her application for a managerial position. Instead of stating that, at the time, she had only been supervising three attorneys, she stated that during her 15 years as a supervisor, she had supervised dozens of attorneys. Plus, she quoted praise she had received from her staffers in thank-you cards. The result: She got the job.
  • You don’t have to be the first to climb a Himalayan peak for your achievements to warrant superlatives, such as: first, fastest, precedent-setting, pioneering or record-breaking. Your achievements warrant such descriptions if you were the first one in your office to close the books on time, write a regulation in plain English or innovate an online filing system.

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  1. Metrics can be useful but can be manipulated by dishonest supervisors. Promotions and awards in federal agencies are determined by how much the supervisor likes the employee or how attractive the employee is. I observed an outstanding employee rated as a 1 by distortion of the facts of the metrics. The employee used the agency’s data base to refute the lies of the supervisor and the rating was changed by a higher level manager to a 4.3. This outstanding employee terminated employment with the agency two months later due to extreme disillusionment with the agency.

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