Millions of Americans' professional lives took a turn during the coronavirus pandemic, whether they were let go from a job, left for personal reasons, or simply realized it might be time for a career change. A quarter of Americans say they are now more likely to pivot to work in an entirely new field, and 27% say they are more likely to find a new job, according to a January 2021 National Association of Personal Financial Advisors survey of 2,006 adults.
If you're considering a shift in career, whatever your motivation, it's important to advocate for yourself with your potential new employer in order to demonstrate your value. Translating your value into numbers can help. "It's not embedded in work culture today to measure your results," says Angelique Rewers, founder of The Corporate Agent, a consulting firm that helps small businesses land corporate clients. But that's the kind of habit that will help you build a case to future employers as you look for your next job.
Here are three figures Rewers recommends using to help you stand out as a candidate.
When it comes to advocating for themselves, "we have our clients create a brag list," says Rewers. She begins by having them "map out how many hours they've been doing the thing they've been doing."
Video by Courtney Stith
Consider the number of hours you've worked per year and then multiply that by the number of years you've been working in your field or job. It doesn't have to be exact. Approximate numbers are fine.
"That's going to be a whopper of a number," says Rewers, "So you're going to end up saying, 'I have 10,000 hours of experience doing X.'" Make sure to mention that in interviews.
On your resume, use bullet points to detail these kinds of accomplishments.
You also "want to look at the number of people that have been impacted by your work," says Rewers. "We have had clients come to us and say, 'Well, I didn't really do that much.' Turns out they actually put together a half-day event that 700 employees participated in."
Consider how many people you worked with at your various jobs, including both bosses and people you've managed, and how many customers you've been in contact with or sold to. Plus, think about any presentations you might have given or events you've organized.
Your work has likely positively affected more people than you realize, and mentioning that as you seek out new work opportunities can go a long way in proving you're a quality hire.
"Percentages are your friend," says Rewers. When considering the impact of your work in a given company, numbers help. "You want to look at percent increase and percent decrease, because when you calculate that the numbers are always impressive."
Say, for example, when you started a job at your sales team it was making 30 sales per year, and after a year on the job, your team was making 50 sales per year. Those 20 additional sales means you contributed to a 67% increase for your team's numbers.
Video by Courtney Stith
To figure out the percentages relevant to your experience, "you only need a starting point, an end point, and a free percentage calculator," the latter of which you can find online through a Google search. Make sure to mention those kinds of figures when you're talking about your background and experience in interviews and on your resume.
The point of doing any of this is to "track your success," says Rewers. "If you just gave a presentation to 50 people, if you just accelerated a project timeline, if you just helped hire five new rock stars, if you just landed a new customer — document it, capture it."
That allows you to communicate what's most impressive about what you've achieved. "Essentially, you're creating your success portfolio," she says, which is exactly what future clients and employers will want to see as they consider you for the job.
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