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Good Things Come to Those Who Bait

Even if you’ve never pulled on a pair of waders, you know that to hook the right fish you need the right lure. Why do so many people forget this when angling for jobs? It’s all about specificity. About what sets off your strengths to make it obvious you’re particularly perfect for a particular job.

Think metrics. After many years of placing high-level commercialization people, I still puzzle over why business leaders who live and die by sales and revenue numbers so often leave metrics off their resumes. In my experience, there is a direct correlation between your showing good metrics, and my clients’ being interested in speaking with you. Whenever possible, bait your line with numbers: sales numbers, product line revenues, quota achievements. You will get many more call backs.

Tell and show. One of my candidates, a successful marketing director in the medical device field, took his excellent resume one step further by creating a professional-quality website to market himself. The site gave employers a full portfolio of the candidate’s white papers, marketing brochures, and PR pieces. Perhaps as important, however, the site showcased those materials in a way that demonstrated my candidate’s marketing skill – and thus his suitability for the position he sought. Employers were able give him a virtual test drive. By the way, he got the interview and the offer.

Consider graphics, but stint on the stunts. I have seen a few rainbow-colored resumes in my time, and a few wild fonts, as well. Need I mention that I’m not a fan? There is, however, a place for different kinds of resumes that include thoughtful, well-executed visual information. One mechanical engineer I placed illustrated his resume with CAD designs of next gen sequencers and robotic equipment, and captioned the visuals with just the right amount of descriptive text. This inventive resume allowed employers to see in a glance what the candidate had designed and built, and allowed them to judge for themselves the candidate’s experience with microfluidics, optics, etc. Since I’ve placed this engineer in two jobs in eight years, we can safely conclude that resume works.

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