The One Question Your Resume Must Answer

Note Details

When you're the employer or hiring manager, you want to know: "What's in it for me?"

Here's the problem: since our resume is about us, we tend to write it from the perspective of our own eyes. So it's only natural to want to talk about what WE want.

For example, here is a typical clunker found on too many resumes these days: "seeking challenging role in a dynamic, growth-oriented company where I can demonstrate my excellent skills in []."

Hit the delete key, please!

A Better Way to Get Noticed

The shocking fact today is that no one wants to read your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people with a long list of other things to do as well. As a result, the person who scans the hundreds of resumes that may be submitted for each position spends less time than ever on any given resume. Many staffing professionals estimate that it may be 20 seconds or less. So it makes sense to make the most of those few seconds to grab them quickly and motivate them to read more and make that phone call.

Hiring managers are looking for one element that will make them stand up and take notice of a candidate. That one element is a strong benefit to the employer. When you provide an employer benefit, you speak their language. They want to know more. Unfortunately, too many resumes lack this.

Two Approaches

Here is an example. Suppose you have the skill: "Excellent oral and written communication skills."

How can we answer the question, "So What?" in the mind of the employer?

Here's how: Offer an example of how you've used these skills in your job to the benefit of your employer by writing an employer benefit bullet like this:

"Wrote and presented successful training program for 155 company new-hires, resulting in measurable gains in company's inventory efficiency over 12 month period."

The first example statement is a cliche. The second statement leaves no room for doubt: This candidate can communicate orally (in front of a group, no less) and in writing.

Focus on the Goal

Your resume should be a hard-hitting sales tool designed to accomplish one goal: get the interview. To accomplish this, add an achievement list to your resume. Get rid of these cliches: "proven leadership & managerial capabilities", "accomplished leader", "ability to build, motivate & mentor." Turn each one into an achievement by asking the question, "So what?" after each one.

Now, describe the benefit that your employer gained from each example. When you're finished, you'll have a list of achievement statements that all answer the "What's in it for me?" question that's on the mind of every hiring manager who will read your resume in the future.

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