I was struck by comments I heard on National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) Morning Edition today. Bill Frezza, venture capitalist and Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute summed up what I’ve been telling my clients for years: “People run businesses because they want to satisfy their customers, they want to grow, and they want to make money.”
To paraphrase, companies are in business to make money, not hire people; so unless you make a convincing argument that hiring you will impact the bottom-line, no company will feel compelled to hire you.
As harsh as this sounds, you can easily turn this into your competitive advantage. Here’s how:
1. Showcase your business value. It’s time to start marketing yourself as high-ROI (Return on Investment). Sure it’s great that you learned a lot about mergers and acquisitions in your last job, but how did your work identifying and suggesting suitable acquisitions impact your company’s bottom line? Or say you’re an IT engineer who built a new network to link your Sales organization with its customers? How did that network impact total sales revenues, market share, and profits? Employers want high-impact employees who generate more value for the company than they cost in salary and compensation. If you were paid $100,000 in your last job you’ll attract a lot more attention if you can show you saved the company $1,000,000 (10-fold ROI) or generated an additional $10,000,000 in sales (100-fold ROI).
2. Eliminate the details. The details of your job might be important to you, but at this stage of your job search, they mean nothing to recruiters and hiring managers. What matters is that you helped your company reach its goal of earning a profit. Eliminate the finer details and just stick to the big picture – the immediate goals of your job, the actions you took in meeting those goals, and the bottom-line value that you helped generate.
3. Create a coherent story. I always look for recurring themes in my clients’ careers and use those themes to create value stories. Perhaps you have a long-standing history of restructuring organizations and making them more efficient, or perhaps you consistently use your relationship building skills to increase customer loyalty and grow sales territories. It’s this consistency in creating value that makes you an attractive hire. Build your resume around consistent value generation and you’ll build credibility with recruiters and hiring managers, land more interviews, and get hired faster.
4. Separate job roles from achievements. Here’s a resume problem I see every day. Whether you’re a fan of paragraphs, all bullets, somewhere in between, or simply don’t have an opinion on the matter, how you format your job descriptions is critical. For value statements (aka, your achievements) to really jump off the page, they must be separated from your job roles, otherwise you force employers to absorb your entire job description in order to get to the one thing that really matters – did you help your company satisfy its customers, grow its business, and make more money? Always remember that employers will scan your resume first, looking for compelling reasons to actually read your resume. If achievements don’t pop off the page, you’ll never get beyond that initial scan.
5. Focus on the employers’ needs. Remember, employers hire for three reasons – to satisfy their customers’ needs, to grow, and to make more money. When you focus your resume on these three needs you are effectively saying to employers, “I share your goals and will help you achieve them.” Focus on anything else and you’re telling employers that you are not aligned with their goals and, worse yet, that your personal career goals are more important than their business goals. No way that message is getting you the interview.
As Bill Frezza put it, “jobs are an input [cost]” of doing business. Turn that cost into a conversation about the high return on investment you’ll deliver and you’ll transform your resume into an interview-generating machine virtually overnight.
Kevin Morris is a globally recognized resume expert who knows how to generate interviews. Visit the Free Downloads page at http://www.myEliteResume.com to get your free copies of the interview-generating resume and cover letter samples that earned Kevin 3 nominations for the Career industry’s most coveted resume writing award – the 2011 Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award.