career-advice

Expert Tip: When to Spell Out Numbers on a Resume

Matt Glodz
Expert Tip: When to Spell Out Numbers on a Resume

Should you write out numbers on your resume or use numerals?

When preparing your resume, aim to craft as many achievement-based bullet points as possible.

By quantifying the results you achieved using numbers, you’ll build your credibility and impress recruiters.

That said, your grammar also needs to be accurate.

In this article, we’ll discuss the standard grammar rules for writing numbers as well as recommended approaches for using numbers on resumes.

Standard Grammar Rules for Writing Numbers

According to both the AP Stylebook and The Business Style Handbook, the following rules apply when writing out numbers:

  • Numbers under 10: Spell out (two, six, eight)
  • Numbers 10 and above: Use figures (10, 55, 150)

There are a few exceptions to this general rule where you should always use figures, including the following:

  • Ages (4 years old)
  • Building numbers (5 East Erie)
  • Headlines (Developer Builds 5 New Hotels)
  • Figures with decimals (6.2 feet)
  • Percentages (12% increase)
  • Measurements (185 lbs.)
  • Money ($3M increase in revenue)
  • Time of day (5 p.m.)
  • Figures in a series (5 direct reports, 150 employees, and 30 contractors)

Resume Best Practices for Writing Numbers

On your resume, you can choose to go against standard convention and use figures for numbers 1-9 for two reasons:

1) Save space

Because you have limited space on your resume, using the number “5” instead of writing out “five” can save you just enough space to keep a bullet point from spilling onto the next line – especially if you need to squeeze in multiple numbers.

2) Help your accomplishments “pop”

Using numbers can also help your accomplishments stand out.

When you have multiple bullet points that consist primarily of text, numbers under 10 can easily blend into the rest of the content.

For example, compare the following two bullet points:

  • Completed 8 feasibility studies, resulting in 2 new hotel openings
  • Completed eight feasibility studies, resulting in two new hotel openings

It’s easy to see how the structure of the first bullet point makes the numbers more prominent.

When including numbers on your resume, the most important thing is to be consistent.

  • If you decide to follow conventional grammar rules and spell out numbers under 10, do so throughout the entire document
  • If you decide to use figures throughout, stay consistent as well

If you are preparing a resume for an academic context, however, we advise sticking to convention.

In Summary

By following the guidelines above and sticking to one approach throughout your document, you can be sure to avoid any red flags.

To create a resume that impresses recruiters, be sure to incorporate metrics and KPIs into your bullet points.

Such an approach will ensure your resume is accomplishment driven and doesn't simply list the tasks you were responsible for day-to-day.


About Resume Pilots

Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

Here's how we can help you:

Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing: After a one-hour phone consultation, one of our expert writers will prepare your top-quality personal marketing materials from scratch. 

Resume Content Review & Resume Editing: A professional pair of eyes will look over your existing resume to catch any errors and advise on areas of improvement.

Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.

To learn more, book an introductory call here or email team@resumepilots.com.

We're a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. All of our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have solid industry experience.


About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.


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