Seeking a new job is a sales task. Your resume is an advertisement that describes the benefits of buying your services to the buyer, AKA the Hiring Manager. The purpose of the resume and cover letter are to entice this decision-maker to want to interview you.
So it's important to find out what the hiring manager's problems are. Why are they hiring? What needs to be done? The more you know about what the problem is, the better able you are to describe yourself in terms of being the solution to the problem.
The actual problems are rarely described adequately in job descriptions. The greatest success in winning interviews is achieved by those who talk directly to the decision-maker in an informal way before submitting their resume. This is how to pinpoint the real needs and show how you can fix them. And that is what sales is all about, discovering a need and selling to it!
When creating your advertisements, think like the hiring manager. Put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself "If I were the hiring manager what would I want to see on my resume that would make me want to interview this person?"
Your accomplishments and the results of your work are the answers to the question. Your responsibilities and the companies you may have worked for are important but may not get you an interview by themselves. It's very important to provide evidence of how well you performed your job.
The takeaway is this: Find out why the job is open. Describe why you are the solution to a problem. Sell the benefits of hiring you. Make the resume easy to read quickly. Cull out words and statements that don’t really address the requirements of the job. Leave out fluff, things that are not relevant to the job. Once people begin to read fluff they tend to lose interest quickly which makes your sale much more difficult. By the way, fluff includes those self-assessing adjectives that say how great you are. Instead of making those statements, describe your accomplishments and work results to demonstrate how good you are without saying so.
Karl Liechty a resume writer who was a hiring manager at Xerox, Shugart, Maxtor, and Sablestone for many years.
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