Resume Writing: The Strategy of “YOU”
By Brent Warman.
In my experience as a Career Development Practitioner, I have found that certain clients are frustrated with the results of their job search activities. These clients say that they have sent out many resumes to employers, yet they do not get an invitation for an interview. Although they were well qualified for the positions where they applied, their efforts were in vain. Upon deeper review, I found that the resumes that these job seekers submitted to employers were general, not customized, and lacked focus.
Resumes do not produce jobs. Rather, the resume is like a calling card or marketing brochure used to get the client an invitation to the interview. The reason that your client may not be getting the call for an interview is that the skill sets and experiences presented in the resume are not appropriate.
Many organizations are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes without a human ever having to physically review them, and the resume without having the right key words simply disappears into cyber space. Even if the resume somehow gets through, it may not catch the attention of the hiring manager or the person assigned to short list applicants to call in for interviews.
What can be done to get results?
It is essential to get to know the client through evaluating his/her skill sets and experiences. This will enable you to work toward developing an effective resume. Here are some points to consider gathering helpful information:
- What kind of positions, paid or volunteer, did the client hold? What were the responsibilities and the scope of the roles? What did the client accomplish in his/her roles? What aspects of the positions did the client like, or even dislike?
- What education and training did the client attend or complete? What were some of the courses that the client took that could be relevant for the position that he/she is targeting? What courses did the client enjoy doing?
- What hobbies does the client enjoy? What are some of the skills that the client has developed from the hobbies? Could the skills and experiences from the hobbies be relevant for the new position?
- What are some of the personal characteristics/traits of the client? Are there any that would be advantageous to the position that the client is targeting?
The above questions get the client thinking about their value proposition, and how it can assist in developing a resume that produces invitations for job interviews. According to Sharon Graham, Executive Director of Career Professionals of Canada, “the value proposition is the message you present to clearly tell the employer the reason that he or she should select you for the position.” In other words, “why should I hire you?”
Job descriptions and postings are helpful for the client in learning about the experiences, skill sets, and personal characteristics that would be involved with the positions that he/she is targeting. Another option is to perform information interviews with people already working in the field in positions where the client is considering working. Information interviews give the client the advantage of being able to ask questions in relation to his/her own unique situation. Although it is not an expected outcome from an information interview, the discussion could lead to a potential opportunity for employment in the future.
Evaluate job postings carefully before beginning the writing process to customize the resume. The job posting gives the client ideas with regard to important buying motivators through inserting important key words and phrases. Sharon Graham explains in Best Canadian Resumes, “buying motivators are the reasons that an employer will want to hire someone.” Employers look for employees who could save time, increase revenues, and solve problems. The client has a better chance of getting his/her resume to the top of the list for an interview invitation when the employer can have the buying motivators addressed by the candidate applying for the position.
Every client has something unique to offer an employer, and the position that the employer is looking to fill is unique as well. So, it is important to note that the resume is not a static document, and it is a document that is constantly evolving and changing. Your client needs to customize and tailor the resume for each position. It is about having the client’s value proposition connecting and meeting the needs of the employer’s buying factors that will get the employer to call him/her in for an interview.