Part of the Career Collective monthly posts series. Job-hunting “Rules” to Break and Outdated Job-Search Tactics. Please visit other blog posts, link provided at the end of this post.
Old Habits Die Hard
Your resume is in pretty good shape. Isn’t it? You have been perusing professional samples online and you have been reading all the how to’s, when to’s, and don’ts. Well, then why no quality interview calls?
Despite unemployment rate still at 9.1% as of the end of 2010, there ARE opportunities out there. It is tougher, let's face it, but why? Because your competition is talented and highly qualified. Therefore, you, my friend, have to step up your job-search game and dare to take control of your brand on paper (resume) by not playing it safe but standing out on your own.
What am I referring to? Applying the old objective plus career chronology resume format you learned in high school isn’t going to cut it anymore. It is now imperative that your resume pop and quickly capture attention. That it convey value over others who are also extremely qualified. That you tell a story about how you rescued the company, department, location, region, initiative, client base, or project. How? Survey your career from the employer’s-eye view and promote your exclusivity.Then, you will know how to best write a resume that implicitly tells an unmatched story that hogs the job search spot light.
The Basics You Must Know
1. Presentation does matter. Seizing the attention of an employer means you have to break from the traditional and overly used resume presentation. While ultimately, content (achievements and qualifications) is what will win you an edge--by capturing attention first, you net the additional seconds necessary to entice, enthrall, guide, and compel through content (yes, content is still king). Now, know the design of your resume is conceptulized based on the industry you are targeting. Depending on your target industry, it may be necessary to keep the resume design conservative. Yet, conservative does not mean mundane. See below:
2. Write storytelling descriptions. As a career professional, I receive resume submissions daily. Most are in horrible shape but every now and then, I will find a few in my inbox that look nicely polished. (Thumbs up!) Yet, as I begin to read, the truth is discovered. The truth? The resume is an absolutely boring boilerplate; the job seeker has simply regurgitated the job description as if we don’t already know what the job entails.
Get this, your resume is not a job ad. You are not to list all the requirements to perform the job. (Employers already know what a job entails). Your resume is a candidate promotional tool and you are to tell and show…what YOU did with the opportunities under the given job title—not just that you fulfilled the job title (that is the least expected of you).
Before: Job Description
Cross-Selling Specialist, Company Name Here, 2007 to Present
Responsible for managing sales of distributor partners and direct customers. Facilitated customer relationships, leveraged marketing programs, provided sales training, and developed unique selling tools to drive sales volume, revenue and margin by translating customer needs to product solutions.
What is unique about the above? Wouldn’t others who hold this very same position describe their job this very same way?
After: Job Story (Cliffhanger, normally followed by quantifiable achievements in bullet form.)
Cross-Selling Specialist—Company Name Here, 2007 to Present
Identified, tackled, and solved the lack of a systemic processes and efficient tools necessary to uncover account cross-selling opportunities and maximize sales growth despite a down market. Engineered a unique and user-friendly tool by leveraging industry ratios as benchmark to identify product slate. Developed accompanying process. Tested, rolled out, promoted, and launched commensurate sales staff training, successfully equipping this B2B organization to better quantify, target, and aggressively close cross-selling opportunities across 14 sectors. Earned a promotion based on results; tool is recognized as a global best practice standard.
The above tells a story. Does it not? Let’s see: 1. this person faced and solved an existing problem, 2. created opportunities for growth, 3. engineered a tool that positioned the company for long-term growth. This person's work was recognized company wide. Wow! They actually produced results and not just executed the job.
Employer’s-Eye View= “This person is worth meeting. Perhaps they can come and dissolve our similar obstacles in reaching increased margins.”
Bottom line is don’t be afraid to break from the historic way of presenting yourself on your resume. True, perhaps you will surprise prospective employers and yes, perhaps you will be the only one submitting a resume likes yours. Is that a bad thing? Are you a leader or a follower?
Playing it safe and blending in does not win interviews for top-paying jobs.
Time to shoot higher and dare to break the norm.
As always, if any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas
Master Resume Writer
Nationally Certified Resume Writer
Certified Expert Resume Writer
Academy Certified Resume Writer
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