What is a Resume For?

Getting an interview.

Sounds simple, but that’s it.  Once you arrive in person, whether you get the job will be based on your interview–the stories you tell and how relevant they are to the pain points of your hiring manager.

So how to do you guarantee that your resume will get an interview?  

You need to convince the recruiter that you won’t waste the hiring manager’s time.  

You have to use your resume to show the recruiter that you understand their needs.  

Here are three quick tips I’ve seen help.

Have a relevant positioning statement

A positioning statement is a concise statement of why you belong in the consideration set for a decision, coupled with what sets you apart from the rest of the pack .  Here’s how to write one:

I interested in the [ROLE] as a [FRAME OF REFERENCE], because of [KEY QUALIFICATION], but what set’s me apart is [POINT OF DIFFERENCE].

Your frame of reference should be the job title on the posting.  The starting point for your positioning is your frame of reference.  Once you have it, clearly state your key qualification–which should be something straightforward and widely recognized.  For example, if you are applying to be a accountant, than your accounting degree would be your qualification.  Then, after you state your frame of reference, share your point of difference.  This should be a unique distinction that speaks to the hiring manager’s needs and resonates with your personal story. Crafting a relevant positioning statement is a great way to clarify your pitch and determine a focus point for your resume.

Be low risk

Most of us think primarily about our own needs, hopes, and fears.  When we are applying for a job or creating our resume, it’s natural to think about what we want out of the job.

By contrast, good resumes will speak to what the hiring manager wants out of the candidate.

A great resume will address the prospective employer’s fears as well.

You can do this by spending some time thinking about your future manager’s pain points.  

Are there worried about turnover? Then find ways to demonstrate a long term interest in the position and company.  

Are they worried about finding a teammate who will cover a range of shifts? Look for opportunities to show them that you are flexible.

Are they worried that you won’t be able to handle the hours?  Tell them a story that shows your commitment and work ethic.

Remember, the best way to be low risk is to have already done the same job.  If you are able to draw direct parallels between your previous experience and desired role, while still demonstrating your openness to adjusting for the future, you will immediately be a leading candidate to a recruiter.

Show you know both of your jobs.

We all have two jobs in any organization we’re a part of.

The first is to do whatever our job description is.  To do well.

The second is to build the organization, to create a special place to work, to take care of the people around us.  In short, our second job is to give back.

We often forget job 2 when we’re thinking about a new role.

Job 1 is about your results.  Job 2 is about your initiative and your humanity.  It’s about how attuned you are to the things that your manager wants done, but has trouble describing.  How aware are you of concerns beyond the short term? How willing are you to do important things that are not urgent?  How flexible will you be if the context changes?  How willing are you to pivot?

When you’re applying for a role, your first concern should be job 1.  Your qualifications for Job 1 will get your resume reviewed, invited to interview, and into the final round.  But, to stand out, find a way to show that you understand job 2 as well. Job 2 will help you win a tie with the other final round candidates, and will make you stand out once you start the work.