People love stories. Stories sell! So, if you’re a candidate trying to sell yourself or an employer trying to sell your company and your job you really need to have stories about your successes. People always remember stories.
But if stories sell, numbers tell! This seems to be one of the hardest but most simple ideas to communicate to people, especially jobseekers. People love to see and hear numbers. Job seekers who know how to use numbers to their advantage in their cover letters, on their résumés and especially in their interviews, always have a phenomenal advantage.
People always sound more authoritative and sure of themselves when they use numbers to demonstrate their successes. This is especially true when it comes to any individual impact on increase in revenue and/or profits or decrease in overhead.
Getting in the habit of “proving” your success with the stories you tell in the interviewing process with numbers really sets you apart from others. It’s one thing to say in the interview that “I am/was a really good performer.” It’s another thing to state, “I am/was a really great performer because:
• “I decreased bad debt 35%.
• “I was 130% of sales quota this year, 125% last year, and 150% the year before that.
• “I decreased shrinkage 28%.
• “I was able to decrease payroll costs by 10% while increasing production 7%.
• “I saved the company $123,000 in inventory costs.”
I’m sure you get the idea by now. You can even combine stories and numbers by explaining in the story how the numbers were reached. People will remember your story better when it’s reinforced by numbers. When you have the numbers on your résumé they often lead to great stories.
I get between 75 and 100 resumes a day. The gobbledygook and fluff that I see in 98% of these resumes is astounding. Every time I read, “good written and oral communication skills,” I just want to throw up. It doesn’t get any dumber than that. The numbers also need to be significant. “Increasing sales by 2%” is useless. I would also recommend bolding your numbers so that they stand out.
Remember that your resume doesn’t really get read. It gets scanned. The people scanning the resume are simply looking for three or four things: Who did you work for? (Do I know what they do?) What did you do? (Do I understand exactly the job this person did?) How long were they there? (Simply the dates.) And, How well did they do… What was their performance? (And there is no better way to communicate your performance than by stating numbers.