UPDATED ON 1/17/2021
In a world where high-tech seems to be the only thing that matters, too many people are losing the human touch.
How does the famous saying from Benjamin Franklin go again?
In the world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.
With that uncertainty means change.
These days, what can be more synonymous with change than technology?
Although this pandemic has turned this job market into a seeker’s market, this phenomenon still feels like a ten-pound brick as we navigate the job application process for our next new opportunities.
Everyone tells us that the worst way to apply for a job is online. That the best method is through networking.
But how many of you, even when you attended all those mixers and parties and conferences to mingle with those insiders, were still told to apply online?
I’m raising my hand! ✋
As we all know, applying online means our resumes would have to run through the applicant tracking system, or as we “lovingly” abbreviate it, ATS.
We scrutinize our resumes, trying to restructure and massage them, making sure to include every single possible keyword mentioned in the job description just so we can pass a computer to get a human’s desk.
It’s a numbers game.
But here is where a lot of us fail:
We are so worried about passing ATS that we forget that our resumes will eventually be read by human beings.
This is our number one mistake.
So what each of us end up with is a resume that produces the so-what feeling.
The So-What Feeling
The so-what feeling occurs when the reader reads the description of an experience, and thinks, “so what?”
This usually happens when we list tasks without purpose:
- Organized emails and files for my manager
- Collaborated with cross-functional teams during a critical design review
- created standard operating procedures for my facility
Those three lines sure have a lot of keywords, but if you were the hiring manager, would they make you want to know more about the person?
My immediate reaction would be, “So what? So you can organize emails, collaborate with teams, and create SOPs. So? Why did you have to do those things? What good did those tasks do for your company and customers? How well were you able to do them?”
I would feel empty and hold out for someone better.
The so-what feeling emerges from the readers themselves, but it is the resume that instigates that. So-what descriptions make accomplishments sound insignificant as though all the person has done is busy-work no matter how significant the work might had truly been. They do not tell readers how the company can benefit from hiring this person. The candidate will also strike as emotionless and replaceable.
But we don’t want to be replaceable, do we?
Do we not want to make hiring managers feel assured and enthusiastic about hiring us?
Then we have to write and convey our optimistic, confident emotions for ourselves before anyone else can.
The Emotional Resume
If I only learned one thing about selling a screenplay, that is to send only the first ten pages to the reader. If I can captivate that reader with those ten pages so much, s/he would ask for the rest.
You might be thinking, “But a screenplay is completely different from a resume! One is creative. The other is technical. One is “mostly” fiction. One is factual.”
Well, that’s true…sort of.
But screenplays and resumes do have at least one thing in common.
They must persuade the reader to want to read more.
To want to do something is an emotion, is it not?
A impressive, well-formatted resume invites readers to read it and captures their attention within the top half of the first page.
It evokes emotions from the readers. It evokes anticipation and suspense.
You could check all your typos, keep it down to one to two pages, recount your accomplishments, and all the other things that most career coaches advise, but if the top half of the first page does not create suspense for readers and make them anticipate, eager to know more about you, then what good do all those do?
As candidates, we want the recruiters and managers think, “Huh, interesting! I want to know more about this person.”
This anticipation does not stop at the top half of the first page of your resume.
Make people anticipate throughout the entire interview process until they give you an offer.
Because it is anticipation that keeps you in the interview process.
The reason managers keep interviewing certain candidates is not only because the candidates fulfill the requirements, not only because the managers like them, but the managers are also curious about them.
And managers will continue to be curious throughout, well pass deciding to hire you, presenting you with the offer, and welcoming you into your new office.
Otherwise, if the recruiters and hitting managers are not curious about you, it would be unlikely for them to interview you again.
So let’s say you were able to do that. You were able to create anticipation on the top half of the first page so that the reader wants to keep reading.
Then how do you drive this sense of excitement and anticipation pass the interview?
But I am sure countless advisors have hit you over the head with this recommendation.
What troubles us isn’t acknowledging that we need to include accomplishments. It’s writing them.
Well, here’s how I do it.
Before putting it on paper, recognize that you are and were important. Whatever experience you might have had, you had an important role in that. When you feel important, you can write important. And when people read important, they know you will be important for them.
When writing accomplishments, understand the purpose of every task you did because knowing the purpose means you know what you did for the bottom line at your company and for your clients. Of course, the more significant the better.
How successful you were able to satisfy each purpose is the result of your contribution.
Launched a loyalty program on Facebook that increased page followers by 124% and people reached by 467% within one (1) month
What was the task? Launched a loyalty program on Facebook.
What was the purpose of the task? To increase customer engagement.
What was the result of the task? Page followers increased by 124% and people reached by 467%.
Now, if you were the digital marketing manager, wouldn’t you want to know more about this person?
So feel important to make yourself sound important.
Let me rephrase that.
Don’t just feel important. Know that you’re important.
The more you know that you are important for your former companies, the better you are able to convey your value.
And the more you are able to convey your value, the more the recruiters and hiring managers will glue themselves onto your resume.
Why can’t people take their eyes off of 800 pages of Harry Potter and yet cannot keep them on a 2-page resume?
Because JK Rowling has the gift of drawing out every possible emotion from her readers, especially suspense and anticipation.
No, I am not saying you need to write your resume like a wizard fairy tale.
What I am saying is know and feel your value at every position you have ever been, then use your value to create a resume that invites readers to stay with you.
That will get you the interview and pass it with flying colors.
Having trouble balancing the words you need for ATS while keeping the reader interested. I can help with that.