Based on the inquiries I receive and the resumes I see, it is clear that candidates at every level have scant idea what employers are looking for or how to express their value on paper.
Employers are not looking for people to do jobs. They are looking for qualified, talented individuals that will allow them to outperform the competition and generate a profit. If you don’t know how what you do will contribute to that effort, then you may be searching for your next job a very long time.
Resumes have evolved from a “one size fits all” format that details where you were when to a clearly articulated value proposition, so if you don’t have a target position in mind, you are unlikely to win interviews.
Recruiters won’t take the time to read through your resume to figure out what to do with you. You must clearly express whatever strengths you have that the employer needs and how you expect to add value. This is basic marketing—and a resume is your personal marketing tool.
You don’t expect to walk into a car dealer’s showroom and find products that aren’t designed with the needs and expectations of a specific type of buyer in mind. Think sports car enthusiasts, growing families, safety-conscious buyers and construction workers who want trucks that have enough room to carry tools and heavy loads. Showroom literature targets the buyers likely to be interested in each type of vehicle on the sales floor and caters to their specific wants, needs and performance expectations.
You can be that buyers who don’t like what they see and test drive will buy elsewhere. Similarly, employers have wants, needs and performance expectations based on industry challenges, competitive pressures, level of work that needs to be done, complexity of products and services, who their customers are and whether or not their industry is heavily regulated.
If you want to attract an employer’s attention, then you must speak in language that the employer understands. And nothing speaks more clearly to employers than the value you are prepared to add at a specific level and in a specific discipline or job function.
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC