Marketable or Makeover (Part Two): Perfecting Your Packaging

Perfecting Your Packaging – 

Once upon a time, a resume may well have served its purpose as a chronological recounting of a candidate’s titles. It listed responsibilities, employers, and dates of employment, but that is not a helpful strategy anymore. In fact, it might be helpful to think of a resume essentially as an exclusionary document. Today a resume is more the reason you are NOT considered for a position than the reason you ARE.

Why is that you might ask?

First, most resumes are probably submitted to online advertisements on Indeed, Zip-Recruiter, perhaps LinkedIn, etc. These serve what we call the “published market” or they are sent to recruiters (the “recruiter market”). In both cases, resumes are normally scanned by an ATS system that can or cannot read the document based on its format.

What is an ATS system? “An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that manages the recruiting and hiring process, including job postings and job applications. It organizes information about job seekers and makes it searchable. As its name implies, an ATS tracks candidates through the hiring process.” [See source.]”

Typically, in addition to personal contact details, an ATS system is also looking for keywords that meet the criteria of the underlying position profile. If enough of those keywords appear in the resume, then it may be passed on to the next stage in the process. This stage is typically a junior HR person or recruiter. If not enough keywords appear, then the resume is rejected.

That is why your resume may principally serve as an exclusionary document.

That is, of course, unless you have discovered the secrets of getting through ATS systems to at least reach the human screeners on the other side. These are secrets the Barrett Group can teach you, of course.

Beyond this, as far as the “meat” of the resume is concerned, it is far more important to put yourself in the shoes of the employer. This means that you write about the positive impacts you have had on prior employers, ideally in revenue or profit terms if possible, because that financial language is most transferable from one business to another.

Also, if you are trying to change industries, you may want to emphasize your transferability aspect front and center. If you don’t, many hiring managers, particularly recruiters, will simply not recognize your applicability. After all, a recruiter has a clear profile and you either fit it or you don’t. And usually, there is no lack of candidates. The recruiter can be quite choosey about who he or she proposes to the client. So why should they take a risk on an outsider trying to enter the industry from a completely different industry or role?

Communicating the transferability of your experience persuasively then is also a key secret to success in perfecting your packaging.

Many candidates are fixated on the format of their resumes. They have the mistaken belief that one or the other will be more eye-catching. It is true that in a given industry, company, or geography, there may well be preferences. But in general, the format is less important than the content. Often, recruiters or potential employers will read only the opening executive summary anyway before forming an opinion, regardless of the format. Getting that statement right is yet another key milestone in the tortuous journey of achieving a breakthrough.

Where formatting might be more effective is in the informal use of a resume to share potentially relevant experience with a network or specific individuals who might know people in need of your talents. This is particularly pertinent in the “unpublished market” where some 75% of our clients land. [See Part Three of this series for more information: “Perceiving the Invisible Market” coming soon.] Ask us about our Personal Brand Advantage© system that takes much of the drudgery out of updating and customizing a resume.

Another key element in perfecting your package is your LinkedIn profile.

Remember, LinkedIn comprises more than 900 million users in the meantime—by far the largest business network on earth. And if you know how to use it, it can be an incredibly helpful tool in progressing your career change. There are visual aspects to an ideal LinkedIn profile, but also content elements, as well as behaviors. All of these contribute to the impression your potential employers will form of you in reviewing your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s how one landed client recently described his Barrett Group experience:

“LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool that I was not utilizing. Being in the Oil & Gas industry, I should have contacts throughout Houston. It was neat to see how I could make connections and find potential new contacts in my field. I learned a lot about LinkedIn from George [his career consultant] and have a much better idea of how to use it now.” [Eric Smith, Read more]

Coherency, for example, is critical.

If your resume and your LinkedIn profile substantively disagree, guess what? You have a legitimacy deficit. You may be excluded from consideration as a candidate as somehow questionable, or worse, an imposter.

Does it sounds as if there are more opportunities to fail in presenting a perfect package to potential employers than you might have at first recognized, then you have understood our message. Fortunately, we are adept at helping clients avoid these pitfalls. We have been doing exactly that for more than 30 years. Our clients are supported by a team of six professionals who know the way through the swamp and can guide you at every step.

That is one of the many reasons that Forbes has again recognized the Barrett Group as one of the very best in the business of helping executives land their next position—now for the fourth year in a row.

If you feel the need of a Marketing Makeover before you begin your search, why would you not choose the market leader in career change and accelerate your campaign by avoiding so many material missteps? We make it our job to help you find yours. Let us hear from you.

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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