Naturally, your resume needs to highlight your accomplishments, and it needs to tick all of the important “boxes” (correct dates with minimal gaps, an accurate phone number and email address, etc.). And yes, you should have some key skills listed that will help you show up in searches as well as catch the eye of hiring managers who already have your resume in hand. However, many other applicants have accomplished the same things and have the same skills, and so the difference between you and those other applicants comes down to two things: who are you and what will you do if you get the job?
With this in mind, take a fresh read of your resume and while doing that ask yourself these questions:
- does my resume tell a stranger anything about me as a person?
- does my resume convey what contribution I will make to the company?
DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?
In order for your resume to communicate who you are, you have to begin with the most difficult part – knowing the answer to that very question. I’m not saying you have to sit on the floor and meditate so that the cosmic forces will magically imbue you with this knowledge (unless that is your jam, then by all means do so). I’m talking about a more concrete analysis: What are your preferences, your goals, your strengths and your opportunities for growth. The good news is that you are already in a perfect place to start. You found this post because you are likely here to take the Jung Typology Test, which is a great place to start understanding yourself.
By learning your type, and further researching the implications of that type, you are starting on a good path to realizing the strengths you have to offer a potential employer.
I have a strong preference of Feeling (F) over Thinking (T). Knowing this on paper is one thing, but I have also spent time thinking about what that actually means for me on a day to day basis. My discovery is that I am hyper-focused on the feelings of those around me, and also the implications of those feelings to my relationship with them and their relationships to others. This is a strength that I would want to highlight on my resume, which, together with my strong preference for Extraversion (E), is aligned with my focus on teamwork and how I work hard to ensure that people work smoothly together.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU BRING TO AN ORGANIZATION?
You’ve spent hours getting your resume just right. The dates align, you’ve described what you did in each job, and you described the results of your work. This is all important to get right, but this information still falls short of answering one question: what will you contribute to the organization?
What is a “contribution to an organization?”
What will you bring to the table that will make a difference to a company? What actions might you take that others will not? Even if employers don’t always realize they are looking to answer these questions, they will respond positively if you proactively answer them.
HOW DO YOU CONVEY ALL OF THIS ON YOUR RESUME?
Perhaps you have the phrase “Works well under Pressure” on your resume right now (it’s probably listed in your “Skills” section). As a hiring manager, I will likely ignore it. Why? Because it tells me nothing other than you included a phrase you think I want to see. However, if we tweak that phrase to say something like “Makes accurate decisions under pressure,” now I get a clear idea of HOW you will act in a pressurized situation. Also, I see that you have an awareness of how you will act, which tells me that you are self-aware. Finally, you have also subtly stated that you have experience in making decisions under pressure, which may lead a hiring manager to wonder what that experience is. If you can cause a hiring manger to pause and wonder something about you – even for just a couple of seconds – then you have already provided yourself an edge over other applicants.
Where do you put this information?
Assuming you have some sort of introductory/objective statement in your resume, consider how you might work these phrases into that section. Also, consider creating a section called “Contributions to an Organization.” It’s atypical, but perhaps that’s exactly the reason to do it! If a hiring manager pauses on that phrase out of curiosity, you can probably be assured that they will read on. Lastly, don’t forget the cover letter, which is also a perfect place to convey who you are and what you will bring to an organization.
BENEFITS FOR THE JOB INTERVIEW
Let’s look beyond the resume and touch on the benefits of knowing yourself and your contributions when it comes to job interviews.
Ready to prove it
Listing your contributions to an organization (such as “Makes accurate decisions under pressure”) can lead an interviewer to asking you about them. If you did you homework, you’ll be prepared with a specific example of a time you made an accurate decision under pressure. In a way, you’ve just took control of the interview before it ever started.
Answer the “what is your greatest weakness” question
Going to back to the earlier example of how my Feeling (F) preference is a strength that I will want to convey to a hiring manager, it’s also a weakness for me, because I may avoid difficult conversations or put off tough decisions out of fear of the consequences to relationships. Knowing this provides the seed I need to answer the “weakness” question.
Asking your own questions during the interview
The point here is not to come up with questions that are solely for the purpose of showing the hiring manager you did your homework or questions you think they want you to ask. An interview SHOULD be a two-way conversation: the interviewer wants to know if you fit the job and you want to know if the job fits you! If you’ve done your homework of getting to know your preferences, strengths, etc., then you’ll be able to ask questions that really matter to you. For instance, if you know that a particular type of work (e.g., data analysis) is of particular interest to you, you can ask if your job will involve work of that sort.
The more competitive the job market gets – and it’s competitive out there – the more important it is for you to be able to stand out. Being able to convey who you are on your resume, and doing it on a deeper level than just listing your experience and skills will help you gain that edge you need.
To learn more about how to stand out from the crowd, check these free ebooks.
About David Freedman
David Freedman is a Success Coach at MySuccessPlatform.com. He has more than 15 years in human resources consulting. His wide-ranging experiences include resume and career coaching, emotional intelligence training, talent acquisition, and employee engagement. MySuccessPlatform.com offers their Rock*it Resume service as well as a Competitive Edge Boot Camp - customized and highly interactive workshop designed specifically for job seekers. Parent or recent college grad? Check it out.