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The Bottom Line | Executive Resumes That Work

by Kim on December 8, 2014

The Bottom Line – Executive Resumes that Work

What are you selling and why should I buy? Those are two questions that most readers want to know immediately upon reviewing a resume. If your resume does not address those questions quickly and effectively, it’s quite likely that your resume won’t be considered despite what you’ve accomplished during your career.

Think back to your most recent weeks or months, and the diligence you’ve put into your search, only to wonder why there has been no response. Is it you? Is it your resume? Are there candidates who are more qualified? Was your resume even received? These types of questions can stall a job search and lead to disappointment unless you take a step back and change tactics in your approach in this ever-changing, competitive employment market.

The use of the internet for job searching has been both a blessing and a curse. You may think that job postings receive only resumes from those truly qualified for that each position. However, job board and career sites are frequently inundated with candidates applying for every single job available, despite a lack of true qualifications. People are desperate for work, and that anxiety can show in their job search, leaving employers scrambling to find that diamond in the rough. Did you know that the average company receives hundreds of resumes a day for ONE job? Google, alone, receives approximately one million resumes per year!

This competitive market should have you rethinking the purpose of today’s resume, the goal of which is to sell a product, which is YOU. Recall all of the advertisements you’ve seen on television or other media outlets and try to remember what drove you to purchase on brand over another. There are several different brands of tissue, dish shop, hot dogs or widgets – why did you choose on over the other? Was it price, convenience, taste/feel, packaging, shape, size or product claims?

Thousands, if not millions of dollars, are spent on creating a product and its associated brand image before effectively selling that product to make a profit. Without proper planning, the product may not be produced correctly, and even if makes it to production, it will likely fail against other products that benefited from more effective preparation, innovation and marketing. When a product becomes truly successful, it is primarily based on the product’s demonstrated ability to produce the desired results.

For an employer, choosing the right candidate is very similar. They have their own needs and many of those include looking for the product (YOU) that can save money, increase revenue, expand market share, open new territories, enhance operations, automate functions, boost productivity and, most importantly, improve their overall bottom line. If your executive resume cannot “show them the money” through your proven ability to contribute, you likely won’t be considered.

The most common “mistake” I see in resumes today (other than typos, grammatical errors and the unmistakable proof that a resume was hastily prepared, or worse, built with a standard Word template used by a high percentage of candidates), is a lack of focus on one’s achievements and/or the inability to promote a unique, yet compelling value proposition.

If you’re a stellar salesperson, for example, someone who routinely produces strong results, the reader still wants to know what makes you different from hundreds of other salespeople out there clamoring for the same positions. Did you devise innovative marketing programs? Were you able to cultivate/maintain strong customer relationships? Did you find creative methods of opening new territories previously impenetrable? Were you able to gain entry into a customer with a history of not taking on new products? And if so, how did you accomplish this?

Decision makers need reasons to interview candidates and want to see clear evidence that you may be the perfect person to come in and solve their problems, turn operations around and/or drive new opportunities. No matter what industry you’re in, your resume needs to prove that you possess the ability to make measurable contributions or the reader wont’ be interested. If it appears that you don’t care enough to present your strongest professional image, why would any employer think you are deserving of their significant time and monetary investment required for an interview?

Everyone has the capacity to succeed in their job search, but without the proper planning and understanding of today’s market, it is easy for one to get lost among the masses. However, with over 15 years of helping thousands of clients ramp up their interviewing opportunities, I can assure you that your opportunities will open up more doors if your career marketing documents clearly convey that what you offer is better than what everyone else is trying to sell. And that is truly the bottom line.

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