The product your resume sells? That is YOU!
Any advertising pro will tell you that ad copy does not have to appeal to the promoter, senior management or company selling the product. Ad copy is for one person and one person only—the consumer.
Give your resume a fresh look; who is it written for? Who is the audience for your resume?
Who is YOUR customer?
The language of the job market.
On a job search—whether it is for your first job, or a mid-career change—several people will be judging your resume. Your personal brand needs to talk to various audiences, each one with a distinct “language” or manner of communication.
No, you will not have to translate your career history into Chinese or Greek (that is, unless your plans include relocating!)
The first “language” is for a computer program. Employment keywords, properly interspersed in your resume based on your skills, accomplishments and responsibilities, are used to rank submitted resumes. Apply the right combination of words and it can be ranked high enough to go to next step—looked at by real-life humans.
The first human review is a 10 second glance by an HR staffer, so the wording of the resume must satisfy the human resources checklist.
Lastly, it needs to stand out to a hiring manager, appealing enough for them to bring you in for an interview.
The language of HR.
The primary function of HR in the hiring process is to determine the candidate that is both the most qualified and the “safest.” That means picking the person with the least liability or risk, and follows either a rigid checklist or point system.
It is necessary to note that the job of HR is not to choose the best candidate, but the one that represents the safest pick—at least from an HR standpoint.
This is one of your toughest “customers,” since your personal brand must be presented as a good, safe choice. If your resume can be modified to reflect a sense of safety, beyond the basic qualifications, chances are better your HR “customer” will respond.
The language of hiring managers.
HR may use a list of bullet points or a point system to review your resume; hiring managers have an entirely different purpose. They want someone not only competent enough to do the job, but they will assess a candidate’s ability to work as part of the team. At this level, the ability to work well with others and being a good fit for the corporate culture take precedence.
When your resume speaks to a hiring manager, just like with HR, your qualifications have to be clear and precise. However, with hiring managers, there is an added dimension.
Your brand has to include the soft skills that reflect your personal style and personality. You have to show teamwork, the ability to co-operate and to become a member of a team. At first, it may seem difficult to relate these characteristics on paper, but this is the point where your communication skills will shine.
The language of hiring managers includes emphasis on contributions to collaborative projects and responsibilities to others in an organization. Don’t fail to emphasize the times you made bosses and supervisors look good!
Knowing the language of business—and the customers your resume is trying to sell to—can show that you have a firm grip on your job search, and possess skills that will benefit any company.