Today when job seekers work on their resumes and cover letters, their main challenge is to choose what kind of information to include and how to organize it in a way that would eventually lead to employment. In other words, the most frequently asked question is what kind of message should I convey on my application package and how should I present it to potential employers. As a matter of fact, all job seekers convey some sort of message whether they are aware of it or not. The question then is what message one's resume and/or cover letter should convey in order to generate the interest of potential employers? This is what should really bother those who are serious about tailoring their job application packages to match the needs of particular companies. In this article we are going to unveil some of the things that all effective resume share in terms of content and the way it is organized.
Questions Your Resume Must Answer
When hiring managers approach resumes, they already know what they are looking for. In their minds (or sometimes even written on a paper) they have specific criteria which they use to evaluate candidates. When reviewing resumes HRs usually ask questions that are meant to provide the answer regarding the candidate's matching level. The criteria (questions) are almost always based on company's needs as well as its culture and values. For example, some of the typical questions are: "Can this person improve our customer retention levels based on the previous experience and accomplishments?", "Can this candidate successfully perform within a large multi-cultural team?", or "Will the he/she be able to quickly adjust to ever-changing circumstances". So the questions hiring managers usually when selecting candidates are all about how well they (job seekers) can match the company's requirements. Based on that, these are some questions one's resume must answer to be selected from the pile of other resumes.
In what ways your former success (professional experience/accomplishments) can relate to what the employer needs? The answer to this question should be visible throughout the entire document whether it is a resume or a cover letter. Keep in mind employers are interested in how you can help them meet their needs. For example, if the company is looking for a successful sales manager then highlighting your sales increase accomplishments in ($ or %) on a resume can significantly boost your chances on being hired. In other words, if you already successfully did something the company needs you to be doing then make sure it is visible throughout the document.
Does your application show that you embody the culture of the company? Many job seekers underestimate the importance of employer's values and culture so the majority of candidates never mention anything that relates to the employer's philosophy. At Prime-Resume, we believe it is more important than most people think. Ability to fit into the team sharing the values of the entire company is a significant success factor. Therefore, reputable companies pay special attention how candidates relate to their vision and philosophy. Besides, if your resume and cover letter contains information that helps employers understand that you share their values, that means you have done your homework and this job opportunity is really important for you.
Does your unique experience and skill set make you a valuable asset for the company? Some career experts say you just have to prove you are a unique candidate but all candidates are unique by default. Every job seeker has a unique set skills, previous work experience, character and values. So your message shouldn't be that you are a unique candidate but rather that your uniqueness is better than that of other job candidates. As we have mentioned before, it is all about what the company needs. Your job then is to convey the idea that your unique character in addition to past experiences, skills, and attitude can bring new value to the table.
The Message Is Your Value Proposition
Job seekers should understand that the message is nothing but a value proposition. If you've got a weak one, the chances are pretty high the employers will be choosing other candidates who have strong messages. Besides, if your message is not complete (that is it doesn't answer those three aforementioned questions) your resume will likely be discarded too, especially if you are applying for a management type of job.