Anytime you start a career move, it’s likely you’ll have questions about your skills sets. What do you say when you meet an employer, what do they care about and how do you talk about yourself without sounding like a braggart?
Before you jump to a new employer, you first need to think like one. It will give you two immediate advantages when transitioning your skills; it helps you organize your introduction and understand what’s important to a hiring decision maker.
Here’s the real story – everyone knows it takes a great deal of time and effort to search, but few spend time focusing on how to best introduce their backgrounds and build rapport with people who could hire them.
Richard Bolles, author of New York Times Best Seller, What Color is Your Parachute uses the analogy of visiting a foreign country with learning how to think like an employer. Both take time and practice in communicating and understanding a new culture.
You may share the same set of credentials with other candidates but take the time to translate your accomplishments to the employer, as if you are traveling abroad and wanting to relate to customs and business culture.
Step One: Translate your accomplishments
A hiring manager once told me about the time it takes to review resumes where job duties and responsibilities were substituted for achievements. It took him about six seconds to sort out candidates simply based on how they presented their value.
The bottom line – listing job duties lack stories and results, they leave employers trying to fill in the blanks with reasons to hire you, leaving a hiring manager guessing while you are hoping they will dig for your accomplishments and discover a diamond in the rough.
Take the time to spell out your skills for them. Your job is to make it easy for a manager to review your background and create a vision for your set of skills. Wishing an employer would see through your job duties is a dream.
Job responsibilities describe your duties – the obligations everyone must perform to complete tasks. Trade places with an employer – would repeating a job description of tasks get your attention?
Resumes continue to change and use a “less is more” strategy when introducing your accomplishments. Your resume length and the words you choose to describe your work accomplishments is a must-have for generating attention from employers.
Your accomplishments set you apart from others while job responsibilities are the same for everyone.
Writing your resume by listing duties rather than having to think about what makes you unique takes less effort. But when you shortcut your resume by using lists instead of stories, it takes away from why people want to hire you and lengthens your search.
No doubt, it can be challenging to talk about yourself without sounding like a braggart but if you don’t talk about your accomplishments, who will?
Keep in mind the questions most interviewers want answered, “What sets you apart from others and Why should I hire you?” both are missed when you list job responsibilities instead of your accomplishments.
Take a few minutes, think about your skills. What would make them valuable to an employer? Once you identify your skills, make sure they are highlighted on your resume.
A great way to tell if your accomplishments need strengthening is to apply the “so what?” test to each bullet point on your resume. You can tell when you are merely listing responsibilities, when your “so what?” question generates a non-answer.
On the contrary when you have a good achievement listed and the “so what?” test is applied, you’ll get an answer full of details that paints a strong picture of results that an employer understands.
Career opportunities are too important to waste by writing a resume that only list duties. The key to selling your background is using language an employer can easily understand and backing it up with facts they can visualize in the workplace.
How much success have you had in your job search by listing job duties rather than spelling out your accomplishments?