Competing in a job search today is like preparing to win a race. Just as any athlete takes time and diligence to train in advance, a job seeker needs to prepare in a similar manner. There are certain parts of a job search that you plan for and practice well in advance, like your elevator speech or your interview answers.
But, your job search training should begin long before the interview stages. Many job seekers would have a better chance at a successful job search if they started their basic training and conditioning with their initial documents, specifically the resume.
Is your resume still in training, or has it advanced to sprint to the finish? How does it measure up in the stack of hundreds of resumes racing for the same position?
Here are four questions your resume should answer (answers to the first three should be evident in less than 20 seconds):
- What are you qualified to do that will be of value to the new company?
- What results and contributions make you better than other qualified candidates?
- What skills and qualifications do you bring that prove you can produce the results you claim you can produce?
- What examples of specific previous results indicate you can produce similar results in the future?
Examine these three components of a winning resume to see how yours will measure up:
Have you researched the company and evaluated your qualifications to show in your resume that you can fit the position from an employer’s point-of-view? When you truly understand the needs and requirements of the position, and write your resume based upon that, then you have focused the resume in the correct perspective.
New employers want to know how you will solve their problems, not how you want to advance through their programs or training. More than 95 percent of resumes do not answer this question for employers. Job candidates do not write their resume to provide the value that the employer is looking for.
This is the proof, and where all the work in writing culminates. Many resumes list achievements, but don’t take it one step further to outshine nearly 90 percent of the resumes currently circulating.
In order to really understand your achievements, the employer needs to understand the benefit of those achievements. What is the benchmark? What comparison of results can you explain for those achievements? And, just as important, what did it accomplish for the company overall?
Understanding, in advance, what the employer wants to see in a resume will ensure that your resume is ready to win in the job search race.