Imagine you’ve met someone at a party. After brief introductions, the person you’ve just been introduced to launches into a lengthy discussion about himself, his interests, and his goals.
“Hey, what about me?” you may be thinking. “Aren’t you interested in hearing what I have to say?” Apparently the answer is “no.” He doesn’t care about you or your needs. And because of that, it’s unlikely you’ll want to talk to him again, and you certainly won’t want to develop a friendship with him.
It’s obvious that being completely self-absorbed isn’t effective in social situations. That’s why it’s amazing that so many people make the mistake of sounding self-absorbed when applying for a job.
Of course a potential employer wants your resume and cover letter to have information about you, including your work experience, education and achievements. But to make the short list and get an interview, a potential employer wants to know the benefits of choosing you over the numerous other qualified people who have applied for the job.
For example, an employer doesn’t want to hear that your career objective is “to have a rewarding, high-paying position where I can learn and move up in an organization”. After all, don’t most people want something like that? This type of statement doesn’t tell your employer anything about what you will do for their organization or what the benefits are of hiring you instead of someone else.
To have a huge advantage over the other applicants for your job, do something radically different than what most job-seekers do: focus on what value you can bring to the employer instead of what they can do for you.
When you are preparing your resume, imagine the employer has asked you to answer the question “What’s in it for me if I hire you?”
For example, to make your resume stand out when you’re applying to the XYZ corporation, try using a powerful objective statement such as the following:
“OBJECTIVE: To utilize my five years of record breaking sales experience to increase the sales and profitability of XYZ Corporation by 10% each year.”
This is a strong statement because it includes specifics. Avoid stating a generic objective such as “to contribute to an organization,” which will not make your resume stand out from the crowd.
An alternative to stating your objective within your resume is to use a “summary statement.” Katina Z. Jones, President of GetGoingPlaces.com, a company that provides nontraditional resume services, says “I tell my resume clients to throw out the objective altogether and replace it with an enticing summary statement.”
Jones says a good example of a strong summary statement would be something like: “Dynamic, driven sales management professional seeks opportunity to make things happen. Futurist with sensitivity to cost control.”
So the next time you send out your resume, take the time to research what would appeal to your dream employer and include either an objective focused on the benefits you will bring them or a strong summary statement.
When they offer you the job you can ask for all those things that you want. Then the next time you’re at a party and someone asks, “What do you do?” you can talk about how you landed your great new job.