How Painting By Numbers Colors Your Resume

By Simon Ward

We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”? Well, hopefully we are all in agreement that you never, ever lie on your resume – period.

However, numbers, and especially the right numbers, can play an incredibly powerful role in getting key messages across on your resume, and getting them across in a way that really catches the eye of the hiring manager.

Using numbers to quantify your achievements, your skills, your attendance record or your personal development, can have incredible impact, and after all, impact is what you’re aiming for isn’t it?

Speaking the Employer’s Language

Look at it this way: numbers are just another language.

It’s not rocket science. All we’re doing is using the same language to describe our achievements that employers use to evaluate staff performance.

Just about every single one of us has our performance at work assessed using statistics, or Key Performance Indicators as they are known in the work place – you know the kind of thing I’m talking about:

  • How many deliveries a day did you make?
  • What was your sales revenue?
  • How many calls did you (or your team) make in a week?
  • What was the percentage of positive responses to a customer service campaign?

The list goes on and on.

So, using the right numbers, in your resume can be very, very powerful indeed. Just take these two statements from a retail job application and make up your own mind:

  • The shop was very busy and I served customers non-stop all day. Our store got less customer complaints than any other.


  • I served an average of 105 customers every day. Our store was consistently 1st in the customer satisfaction survey, averaging just 6.3 complaints each month against a company average of 11.9

Now put yourself in the position of the hiring manager……… which of these two sentences provides the best evidence to help you make an informed decision about the candidate’s capability.

It’s the second one by miles, right?

The Role of Statistics In Decision-Making

John Pullinger of the Royal Statistical Society (yes, there is such a thing) has said, “Statistics are essential to good decision making”.

Decisions – especially hiring decisions – are supposed to be rational and well-informed, and statistical evidence appeals to our rational side. In fact, statistics can help ensure that whether the recruitment decision is a yes or a no, it’s made for the right reasons and can be justified .

After all, if you’re not the right person for a job, better to know that as early as possible and spend your time and energy on more likely prospects.

It’s not just about using stats to make a good impression with your resume, it’s about ensuring they understand that hiring you is the right decision.

Using Statistics to Send The Right Messages– Powerfully And Succinctly

Using statistics in your resume shows an employer that you are not only the kind of employee who understands the importance of being measured, but that you actually relish it – and employers just love that kind of attitude!!

Here are four more quick examples of just how you can use numbers to illustrate your value:

  • To show the extent of your responsibilities –

“The warehouse was 160,000 sq. feet, my team managed 210 deliveries a day and handled 1.2m products at any one time.”

  • To show the positive impact of your management style –

“During my time in the role, our team’s performance improved from 6.3 errors per 1000 transactions to 2.6, making us the fastest improving team in the business.”

  • To show the value of your innovative thinking –

“The new stationery ordering process that I designed saved over 120 hours work per month and saved the company $73,500.”

  • To show your commitment to your employer –

“Over the past three and a half years of working at XYZ Incorporated I have only taken two and a half days off work due to sickness”

All of these statements have real impact, are really memorable, will set you apart from your competition AND they may just be the difference between you being invited to that all important interview, or just being another ‘run of the mill’ candidate.

In our annual survey of hiring managers, 83% said that the ‘Do Not Use 100 Words Where 10 Numbers Will Do’ rule was important enough a ‘Do Not’ to take its place in our incredibly popular new eBook ‘The 10 Golden Do Not’s of Resume Writing’, and we’re not going to argue with that!

Get your free Copy Of ‘The 10 Golden Do Nots of Resume Writing’ Right Now!

To see what other nine ‘Do Nots’ made it into ‘The 10 Golden Do Not’s of Resume Writing’, fill in the form, and your free eBook will be in your inbox in a couple of seconds.

We’re sure that ‘The 10 Golden Do Not’s of Resume Writing’ will make a real difference to your resume, so good luck, and happy job hunting.