Do you know why your resume isn’t getting you a job? Because it’s not supposed to. The goal of the resume is to make people interested enough to want to meet you. That’s it. Once you approach your resume with this goal in mind, you’re likely to double your interview rate—or better!
Writing your resume with the aim of getting a job is like hoping your eHarmony profile will convince someone to marry you. Not only would a quality company never make a final hiring decision based on even the best resume, your perception that they might do so can cause you to create a really bad marketing piece for yourself.
Much like an over-zealous love interest who talks too much and invades your personal space, your effort to make your resume all things to all employers reeks of trying too hard. It turns off the very people you want to attract.
I see this mistake manifested in resumes every day as documents that are too wordy, include irrelevant details, lack the laser focus needed to win an interview, or are otherwise off-message.
You do want to move your reader to a decision, but take the pressure off yourself. You’re not asking for a job. You’re simply helping someone make a decision about whether or not they’d like to meet you.
3 Steps To An Uber-Effective Resume
Here are three simple steps you can take today to transform your resume from “inappropriate marriage proposal” into “enticing first date invitation.”
Step 1: Identify the 3 a.m. problem.
With your ideal role in mind, ask yourself what keeps the decision makers up at night. Make a list of problems within your scope of influence that you’ve seen plaguing businesses. One or two will likely jump out as the most urgent.
Step 2: Present yourself as the solution to the 3 a.m. problem.
Now, think about how you can solve those problems. Use the top part of your resume to acknowledge the reader’s pain and define your solution(s).
For an operations executive, this might look like:
Is operations bleeding your bottom line?
Whether your operations are growing profits, having growing pains, or both… I can help. As a 3PL provider, consultant, and retainer-based COO, I bring startup and growth companies:
- The care and understanding of an owner
- The objectivity of a third party
- 20+ years of experience realizing double- and triple-digit improvements in logistics KPIs and profitability
A marketing expert might address the “keeping them up at night” pain like this:
This fragmented marketplace presents producers with uncharted challenges in reaching their consumers.
I connect the dots to form consumer-driven ideas that evoke emotion and build loyalty.
As you can see below, this candidate goes on to flesh out her insight and solution.
Step 3: Prove that you’ve solved the same problem(s) in the past.
You’ve defined the 3 a.m. problem and stated that you’re available to help. Great! Now, examine your resume through that filter. Look for things you could leave out. Be ruthless, and eliminate anything that doesn’t add value.
Now, assess your resume for things that might be missing. Think of times you’ve solved the problem you’re addressing. Are the important examples there? Don’t forget about volunteer work or avocations that might be relevant. I recently wrote a resume for an IT project manager whose volunteer work was key in addressing hiring managers’ desire to strengthen their corporate citizenship efforts.
A colleague helped a young college grad get a job as a pharmaceutical rep by showing how his side gig–taking tourists out on his boat–utilized his ability to form relationships, plan ahead, and provide superior customer service. He used the discussion of his hobby to talk about the contacts he’d made with doctors–a key selling point for his target role.
To recap, you need to identify the 3 a.m. problem, present yourself as the solution, and back it up with relevant examples from your work life, and even your personal life as appropriate.
The time you spend on this exercise will pay off tenfold in terms of convincing decision makers that they NEED to meet you. Once they do, and after a short courtship, the conditions might just be right for a long-term commitment.
This is a guest post.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock