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Preparing Your Resume

If you’ve followed my networking tips in my previous article, you may already have some job leads. Power networking sometimes lets you skip the entire resume and interview process—but those are exceptions. Chances are you will still need to write a resume, and even if you’re on the inside track for your job opportunity, it’s best to maximize your chance of getting hired with a great resume.

So, where should you start? If you’re writing a resume from scratch, check out our previous articles found here on the subject. You’ll find a guide to writing the resume from scratch. The rest of this article, however, will focus on the mindset needed for a successful resume—because starting with the right mindset is crucial.

To be blunt, the vast majority of resumes are unexciting and uninspired. They’re boring. If you think that doesn’t matter, then think about the HR manager who’s hiring you. They enjoy looking through resumes probably as much as you enjoy writing them—in other words, not much. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but in general both the job seeker and employer don’t find much joy in the hiring process. Now, imagine if you could create a resume that stops the employer dead in his tracks. He stops his page flipping because he’s seen your resume, and he’s excited.

How do we create excitement? You need to market yourself—because the resume is essentially an ad that says, “Hire me!” And, like any ad, your resume needs to capture the attention of the viewer. If your resume is just like any other, it’s similar to seeing a commercial like any other on TV. You simply flip the channel. In this case, the employer flips the page and goes on to the next resume.

So, how do we capture the attention of the hirer? The first thing you must focus on is the employer’s needs, and not your own. This comes through most clearly in the resume objective. I recommend you use an objective as it conveys a lot of information with little reading. This is key—most resumes are scanned for just a few seconds. With an objective you control how those precious seconds are spent.

Let’s say you’re developing a resume to respond to an ad for a mechanic. Don’t say in your objective that you want to use this opportunity to “better myself and my skills with automobiles.” The employer could care less; she’s got her own problems to deal with. Say instead that you are “a mechanic with a reputation for excellence. Looking to contribute my ten years of experience to an organization that needs an employee that has consistently exceeded performance and customer satisfaction targets.” That’s the kind of thing that will get noticed.

This type of thinking is difficult for many people at first, because they don’t have the right mindset when writing their resume. Remember, you are a salesman, and the product is you. The objective sums up why you are the best candidate, and the rest of the resume can focus on providing evidence to support your claims. Start with the right mindset, and the rest of the resume will fall into place.

Copyright © by David Jiang


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