The approach most job seekers take after learning that recruiters do “keyword” searches on resumes submitted online, is to focus on job functions in the hope that a brief description of what they do will cover all the possibilities. Say an employer receives 100 resumes for a job posting and most of the applicants have similar work experience. How does the employer know which candidate represents the best value?
The employer very likely will do what you do when you shop: consider how to get the most bang for the buck. This means that the employer looks for what sets one candidate apart from the others, in marketing terms, “competitive differentiation.”
How to accomplish that? You find ways to show that your value to a potential employer is greater than the employer’s future investment in you!
A common error candidates make on their resumes is naming an employer and immediately below that listing a sequence of bullet points. There is no explanation regarding the nature of the employer’s business or how these functions have added value, solved problems or overcome challenges, to illustrate:
- Member of pursuit team for most major sales efforts, from strategy development to customer presentation.
- Frequent speaker at industry conferences and workshops.
- Defined requirements for multimillion-dollar e-commerce solution.
By providing contextual information, a candidate gets an immediate credibility boost, e.g.:
- Provided technical support to the sales team on deals averaging $1 million+.
- Delivered presentations on destination travel to industry leaders at tradeshows and conferences including International Tourism & Travel Show, The New York Times Travel Show and World Travel Expo.
- Defined requirements for multimillion-dollar e-commerce solution targeting the worldwide luxury travel trade.
This principle holds true for entry-level, professional and executive resumes. I’ve only added a bit of contextual information to the original bullet points. Consider the impact you can make by adding challenges overcome, problems solved, value added.
If you aren’t differentiating yourself from the competition, you’re missing out on once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities. I do my best work for smart people and top performers who aspire to high-impact careers—if that sounds like you, call me!