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I am currently in my third year in a Computer Science major Bachelor's degree program. I am applying for internships these days. I have no work experience but I have made a few apps and launched them. One is an android app and another is a web app with 1537 API requests. I have heard that it is good practice to include "numbers" on your resume.

Are 1537 API requests worth of putting on my resume? Can it turn out to be a negative point instead?

Thanks

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Mention every significant outcome of your projects

I'd say it depends on what position you are applying for. But since you notice that you are currently a student, I'm sure it's sort of junior engineering position. In this case, you should definitely put this number among other outcomes for the project mentioned.

There are no formulae to calculate appropriateness of putting numbers, but I'll try to give away some ideas:

  • if it's a side project you've built in your spare time, and you yourself are proud of it, put the numbers if you feel that it will impress people (say, 1 API request isn't cool, 100 so-so, 1000 requests are cool),
  • if it's a project you've built solely by your hands and experience, without a team, put the numbers that are 5–20 times greater,
  • if it's a project you've built as a member of a team, put the numbers that are even greater by the size of the team (for the team of two, 20,000 API requests is somewhat okay).

What you should keep in mind is that static numbers rarely interest people. You got 1,500 API requests during what period of time? Give some information about dynamics. For example, you got only 1 request at the first day after the launch, then 10 at the second day, then 100 by the end of the week. This picture seems far more impressive because makes people extend approximation further, no matter if they make a gross error in that. In this example case, exponential growth is being shown, which is kinda rad and make people want to hire you right away.

Good practices and numbers

Now, about good practices. Of course, it's significantly more indicative when you put some numbers next to things you have been doing. But there are many sorts of numbers. Say, if you pushed 15 employees to leave the organization because of your difficult nature, this particular way of showing off in numbers isn't practically useful.

Try to use the STAR method. This method is basically invented to stand out on an interview but you can apply it to your resume too.

  1. Put out the situation. Why did you start that project? What is the all-world problem you've tried to solve? A short sentence or two, like, “I found out that there will be a global shortage of food by 2030, and ones who own farms will be interested in selling their goods for highest price.”
  2. Then task. What you'd done to solve the problem? Again, a short passage like, “After some consideration, I've come up with an idea that it'd be win-win to connect two audiences, farmers and their end customers.”
  3. After that, your action. What you actually did, in what manner? Like, “So I created this simple service that would allow farmers post their goods in one tap, add photos and determine marketable quantities, and to stand out against competitors.”
  4. And as the received outcome, your result. This is where you must shine most and perfect place to put the numbers. Like, “I've launched an MVP in 4 weeks which then gained X users, having produced 1,500 API requests in the course of Y months and growing by Й percent weekly.”

So, in the end, I'd say that amount of numbers should be roughly 1/4 of your resume.

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It is a good practice to include numbers on your CV under two circumstances.

  1. The numbers are relevant.
  2. The numbers are impressive.

If you're applying to work as a chef, the number of app downloads you've got is irrelevant. If your internship is with a software house then, yes, putting down some hard numbers is a good idea.

The next question is - are they impressive? 1,500 API requests doesn't sound impressive. You could do that in an afternoon of idly clicking your mouse.

Try saying something like...

I have created an Android app which calculates $foo using the $bar API. It has been used by over 100 people and has served over 1,500 request in the last month. This experience has taught me....

  • I agree it doesn't sound impressive at all but I am a student who doesn't earn a penny. I couldn't spend on its advertising. It was difficult for me to even buy the domain it is hosted on. You make excellent points: 1. Relevancy of numbers. 2. The last line is perfect. Thank you sir! :) – Akshay Arora Jul 22 '15 at 8:03
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I'd definitely avoid using the exact number (1537) on your resume. If I saw that, the first thing I'd think is "the frequency of API calls is low enough that you can put an exact count on this resume". Using something like "over 1,500" carries the implication that the number increases too quickly for you to state an exact number on a resume and have it still be accurate by the time someone reads it.

Also, as @RishatMuhametshin mentioned, a total is not as impressive as a rate of increase. I'm guessing that "calls per day" isn't a terribly impressive number for your API at this point, so focus instead on growth rate. Has your call count increased by 25% per month? Or if it's only been up for 2 months and 90% of the volume was in month 2 you might not feel honest in claiming a 10x month over month increase, but maybe you find that over the 2 months you can calculate an average growth of 10% per week, which would be more accurate as an average of 8 data points instead of 2, and also both believable and impressive.

Finally, there's one very important number here: 1. If you designed, wrote, tested, and published the API completely on your own, that shows that you understand all of those components and how they interact; it highlights your ability to see the big picture, and finish what you start, important skills in any industry. It can also help to provide context to the other figures, i.e., "if he can do that on his own, how much more could he do as part of our foo team?"

  • Very good advice. One other thing is that saying you got 1537 requests will (hopefully) be an outdated number, assuming the API is still available. As a recruiter, I always advise people to avoid subjective terms. For example, saying you "managed a large budget" means nothing because a large budget for a start up could easily be a rounding error to a company the size of P&G, Google or Boeing! An actual number is better. Even better than an actual number is the actual number placed into context. For example: "Managed an annual budget of $2 million which represented 80% of all marketing spend" – ChrisL Jul 22 '15 at 18:02
  • Thank you sir for this answer! Yes, I have done everything on my own. Frontend, Backend and publicity (Facebook page with 500+ likes) :) – Akshay Arora Jul 23 '15 at 4:25

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