An article I read on LinkedIn today, “Why Smart People Don’t Get Hired,” seemed to rattle many LI members and I concur with some of the comments. However, there were a few good takeaways with regard to the way we position ourselves in our own mind and how that comes across in a resume.
A job seeker once asked me to create a winning title for a LinkedIn profile. My response was that the job seeker is the product being sold and therefore their name and actual occupation, whether Financial Intern or CFO, is the appropriate title. As Maurice Ewing, PhD, pointed out, flashy titles like “financial wizard” are unlikely to draw attention in search results by recruiters or applicant tracking systems.
Although it may seem like a tactical move to exclude irrelevant work history and skills, some experiences not directly connected to the targeted position offer pertinent information. Illustrate how your experience demonstrates the knowledge, skills, disposition, ingenuity or drive essential to success in the proposed role. Experience may include school groups, clubs and volunteer activities.
Even though a job description may read as though the responsibilities extend beyond your capability or experience, consider if it is a doable stretch. Read past the activity bullet points and compare the skill and knowledge prerequisites to your own. Good opportunities are not always obvious.
Focus on the employer’s need
Of all the advice in the article, my favorite is the recommendation to convey “accomplishments, talents and skills in succinct ways that speak directly to how they can help an employer.” Remember, from the hiring manager’s perspective, it is not about what you need but why they need you.
Show your value
Being humble has its place, but not while you are selling yourself. Sometimes the most qualified people miss opportunities because they don’t appreciate their own talent. This is your time to shine, so accentuate your accomplishments on your resume and during interviews.
Please leave a comment to let me know what works for you and if you have other suggestions.