Don’t abbreviate the word million. Spell it out.
Many people want to abbreviate million, but it opens the door to confusion.
For example, I asked Google for guidance on how to abbreviate million here and got a page full of conflicting search results.
Abbreviation for Million
When business people read reports, and when recruiters read resumes, it’s common to see something like this — $1M.
While recruiters love to see numbers on resumes, they like them to be accurate (more on that here) and make sense.
When they see $1M, many readers have no idea if the writer means $1,000 or $1 million. That’s a considerable difference ($999,000, to be exact).
Let’s say you’re talking about sales growth of $1 million. If you use $1M, some of your readers might think sales grew $1,000 instead of $1 million. You go from being a hero to being perceived as an underperformer without even realizing it.
Numbers produce anxiety and confusion in many people. Avoid that by making your quantifications crystal clear.
If you’re talking millions, use the word — $1 million.
If you’re working on a report or your resume, and you’re desperate for space,
use $1MM, not “M.” Again, it’s understood that “MM” means million. Nope, see the comments below. “MM” won’t work in the UK. It can mean “billion” there.
Abbreviation for Thousand
If you’re talking thousands, use the number: $1,000.
Again, if you’re desperate for space, use $1K for $1,000. Most people understand that “K” means thousand. If they don’t, they can Google it and get a straight answer. I checked. But why use an abbreviation that your readers have to Google?
The Confusing Single “M”
A single “M” can mean either thousand or million. You want your business writing to be clear, not confusing. Spell “million” and “thousand.” Don’t try to abbreviate them.
Abbreviation for Billion
Click here to find samples that show you how to present large numbers on your resume.
Read on to the comments below for more information and global insights on how to abbreviate thousand, million, and billion.
Image: Fotolia/Ieva Geneviciene
Updated January 2021
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
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