When applying for a position, it could be surprising to you what skills or attributes actually get you into an interview room. Therefore, it’s important to give careful consideration to the skills and special interests you include on your resume. Selling your unique value in a job interview is a very important part of your job search and can definitely help you to secure the position.
Use this to help you:
Demonstrate your ability to complete special projects and assignments
Extracurricular activities and volunteer work are often the first sections on the chopping block when job candidates want to pare down their resumes. Unfortunately, job seekers often remove special skills, interests and hobbies that are relevant to their targeted job position. The skills you’ve gained from your volunteer work and the talents you possess from your hobbies and extracurricular activities could come in handy in your new position, especially for completing special projects and assignments.
Differentiate yourself from other candidates
I often find that 50% of the resume is still in the candidate’s head after the resume is completed. I always enjoy sharing the experience of Sue, one of my past clients. Sue had spent 10 enjoyable years working at the same company, but wanted to make a leap to a more senior position in a different company where math and science skills were a must. On the second resume draft, Sue came forward with her high school and college Math awards (all five of them), and she remembered Math tutoring she did for two years while in college. By the third resume draft, she offered up two prestigious science awards. It’s important that you put all the relevant information onto paper—employers won’t know what other information is still in your head.
Make connections through common interests/backgrounds
In the competitive job market, candidates can’t afford to leave these impressive credentials off of their resumes—but there’s more. Sue spent 10 years in the Girl Scouts as a guide, and five of those years involved in pioneering a math and science program for girls. As it turns out, the employer that ultimately hired her also spent years volunteering with a similar program for Girl Scouts in a neighboring state. As Sue describes it, she and the principal immediately “clicked”.
It’s important to make those connections on your resume. Depending on which study you read, making connections based on things you have in common with the hiring manager may influence anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of hiring decisions. A few examples of the power of commonality I’ve experienced include a personal assistant being singled out, and eventually hired, by a major entertainment industry executive because the exec and candidate had attended the same high school. One employer called his soon-to-be-hired employee in for an interview and a chat about his new hobby, falconry, in which the new employee was an expert. More than “who you know” and “what you know”, what you have in common can produce interviews.
In general, you want to emphasize several key messages on your resume and not appear scattered. Choose to highlight life experiences and interests that are meaningful to you. They are likely to also be very meaningful to an employer you will be sitting across from in an interview one day.
Need additional help? Reach out to Candace for assistance!
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