And Your Point is…?

Calvin sticking out his tongueDuring my high school and college years, one of my favorite comic strips was Calvin and Hobbes. It centered around the adventures of a mischievous little boy (Calvin) and his stuff tiger (Hobbes).

In one of the strips, Calvin and his dad were at a department store, and his dad started waxing nostalgic about the old wooden escalators from his youth. The final frame of the strip showed Calvin thinking:

“I’d hate to think that all my current experiences will someday become stories with no point.”

Now think about how you frame your experiences for your job search. Your stories and examples that you use in your cover letters, in your résumés, and during the interviews should pack a punch by:

  • emphasizing the accomplishments you’ve made,
  • outlining the value you brought to past companies, and
  • demonstrating the skills you possess that will make you instrumental in solving problems for this prospective employer and helping them take their operations to the next level.

Say you’re a hiring manager in a nonprofit, and you need find someone who will step up the game with the volunteer program. Which one of these bullet points from a résumé makes the point?

  • Developed marketing plan for tutoring program

or

  • Directed a 200% increase in active volunteers through targeted marketing of the tutor recruitment campaign

It’s pretty clear — the first example is rather weak when compared to the second one. The latter point doesn’t just simply list a duty; it shows the outcome first and then explains what was done to achieve it. If the hiring manager needs someone who has been successful with marketing, a résumé with the second example clearly indicates a good understanding of it. The candidate with the second point is more likely to score an interview and get the opportunity to further talk about how s/he can meet the company’s needs.

Don’t make HR and hiring managers dig to discover why you would be a good candidate for a position; really, they won’t go to all that bother.  If you leave them wondering what the point of your story is, they will instead go forward with the candidates who clearly spelled out their successes and contributions they can make.

How well do you make your point?

Unsure how to answer the question on every employer’s mind (“What can this person do for me?”) and to make your accomplishments shine? Contact me to schedule an initial consultation!

Image courtesy of thefranksterk

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