7 Strategies to Showcase Your Unique Value to Employers

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Although the job market is opening up a bit, it remains very competitive. In a tight job market, only the most unique individuals stand out. The first strategy to help separate yourself from the pack is a resume update, even if your resume is only a few years old. Attract positive interest by revamping your resume with the following tips to showcase your value to employers.

1. Replace the tired objective statement with a value outline.

A value statement is the optimal opening for your resume. It is a professional summary that outlines how you can bring value to the company. Gather all your best points in this “introduction.” It is your first impression to hiring managers. Be certain to use current terminology as well as traditional skills of value to employers, such as increasing profits, building productive teams, or streamlining operations to reduce costs. Although the value outline will not include a specific objective, the areas highlighted communicate your career goals and personal brand to the reader.

2. Re-evaluate work experience in your resume.

Remove work experiences more than 10 to 15 years old. In addition, experience that focuses only on basic technical skills, such as MS Office Suite, adds little value to any resume. Regardless of the final length of your resume, space is limited. Replace any older work experiences with more recent and relevant entries targeted at your specific career goal. These unique offerings will set you apart from the competition.

3. Use current keywords.

Keywords trigger interest in your resume for hiring managers and prospective employers, spurring them to pluck your resume out of the pile. The initial screening process has also been automated by many employers and jobsites with search tools, so if you don’t have the best keywords, your resume may not ever be seen by human eyes!  Of course every industry has its own set of keywords, but typical examples may include such phrases as business intelligence, global branding, or compliance audits.

4. Emphasize your personal brand.

Borrowing the marketing industry’s branding approach is another important tool in communicating your unique value to potential employers. Brainstorm the top 5 ways in which you have excelled during your career. Compare those skills to current needs and trends in your field. If your skills do not parallel current professional needs, you may need to pursue training to strengthen your personal brand and subsequent appeal to employers. The ideal personal brand can float your resume to the top of the “to-call” list by highlighting your unique value.

5. Research prospective employers thoroughly.

To increase the effectiveness of your resume and showcase your value, your resume must show how your skills and experiences not only add value to the potential employer, but also how you can help them accomplish their next “Big Initiative.” Use the Internet and explore business pages to discover important projects and align your experience accordingly.

6. Be ready to give specifics about past accomplishments.

Include statistics in your descriptions of past achievements. How did you help your employer reach quantifiable goals? As you prepare your resume, create effective summaries of your successes. Think of the process as telling a brief story, including the problem, your part in the solution, and the outstanding outcome. Using a storytelling approach helps you minimize jargon and display your ability to communicate complex subjects to any audience.

7. Streamline your resume.

Use bullet points to showcase accomplishments and special achievements. Organizing your resume by pulling out points of emphasis makes it easier to scan quickly for important skills and experiences that provide the details to support your value and personal brand. You may use a separate bullet point for each special project that highlights a different skill, cost-saving outcome, or profit-generating strategy.

Overall, avoid being too wordy or too focused on details that don’t emphasize your value to the employer. Make the most of your resume by carefully selecting those keywords and accomplishments that consistently highlight the value outlined in your initial summary. Your resume will be more effective and will help the reader remember the unique personal brand that sets you apart from the competition in a tight job market. Showcase your value to move toward that new job!

By Alesia Benedict

Gatekeepers Replaced by Databases

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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With the change in the economy, many professionals are suddenly finding themselves in the job market unexpectedly. There are many new aspects to job search but the same basic core process is still at the heart of the matter. Companies are seeking candidates. Job seekers are seeking employers. Recruiters help the two come together in some situations. In other situations, it is a matter of in-house HR departments finding candidates that match their needs. How this entire matchmaking process occurs has been radically affected by technology over the past decade.

Many woebegone job seekers fret over the loss of the “personal touch” in the job search and take the lack of “the human touch” as a personal affront. While job search has become rather automated, it is not because of the people who do the hiring or recruiting – it is simply because the numbers of people in market for a new job have skyrocketed. It is logistically impossible for recruiters and hiring managers to manage by hand the influx of resumes they receive daily and respond to each one individually. Job seekers truly need to understand that and not take offense at the lack of personal response.

The gatekeeper in the job search has changed. Before job search became a huge, Internet-based endeavor, people would snail mail resumes or even drop them off at the HR department of companies. Resumes would be faxed in response to a newspaper advertisement or HR departments would provide a phone number for interested candidates to call. Every company had a gatekeeper of some kind – the person whose job it was to receive resumes and talk to job seekers who called. The challenge for the job seeker was to get past the gatekeeper and get in front of the hiring manager.

Today, the gatekeeper is not a person. It is a computer database. Recruiters and hiring managers use computer databases to manage the astronomical number of resumes that are submitted to them daily. Most people understand that the big job boards such as Job.com and others are database-driven but sometimes people unfamiliar with the intricacies of modern job search assume they avoid the database if they email the resume as an attachment. “I didn’t upload it – I emailed it to the recruiter” is a common comment.

What these job seekers do not realize is that everyone uses a database to manage resumes, including recruiters. Most of the time, when a resume is sent to a recruiter, the resume is loaded into the database before the recruiter even sees it. Recruiters prize their databases as valuable depositories of potential candidates. Just as a receptionist or an administrative assistant might have collected resumes in the past, the database serves that purpose now. Filing cabinets used to store paper resumes for mandated periods of time, but now databases store them electronically and automatically purge old resumes after the legally mandated “on file” period expires.

The change in gatekeeper has two impacts on job search. First, it makes it incumbent upon job seekers to have a database-friendly, e-resume version of their resumes. The resume fails if the database cannot read it or if there are not enough relevant keywords for the database to notice it. Most job seekers have a Word format resume but they don’t realize that an e-resume can make their efforts in getting past the database much more successful.

Second, the use of databases has made job search much more of a numbers game. Job search success is still to some degree a matter of “who you know” but it is also a matter of “how many contacts” you have. That means getting the resume to as many potential companies, recruiters, and hiring managers as possible. Sending the resume to a couple of recruiters will not realize good responses.

Finding a new job can be tiresome and often frustrating but it’s the same basic core process that it has always been – job seekers are trying to beat other job seekers for open positions. Recruiters are seeking good candidates to place at companies. Companies are looking for employees who bring value and productivity to their operations. People communicating with people. The difference is at least one of the “people” in the process is a machine.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!