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This topic came to mind based on a recent article I read about the CEO of a major software company who revealed that he hires for talent rather than experience. If that is the case, those candidates who focus on past experience are missing the opportunity to showcase their talents—or the unique blend of strengths, personal traits and motivating factors that make them unique in the applicant pool.

How, exactly, do you showcase talents? By providing context for your achievements. By discussing the challenges you faced, the action(s) you took and the results you achieved. Simply saying that you exceeded sales by 125% is not enough. Telling how you achieved the result gives the reader insights into what you did with the resources you had to work with. Moreover, when you provide information regarding the number of colleagues who had the same tools but whose performance was less remarkable, you are revealing talent.

Here’s a specific example from a resume workshop I gave for a major industrial employer. One participant stated that she located material for shipping. Not very glamorous or particularly interesting. When I questioned under what circumstances she does that, she clarified with “Well, I drive around the lot until I find the specific material I’m looking for.” The lot was hundreds of acres, and the markings on the material were tiny, difficult to read and often only partially visible. The material was also critically time-sensitive for the customer. Get the drift?

Most senior executives understand the value of hiring talented performers. They know that they cannot perform in a vacuum; every business leader needs a team that has strengths s/he lacks. So when you prepare the message for a hiring manager, focus on the value you deliver and the unique way in which you provide that value. Saying you are talented is not enough, you must provide the evidence.

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC