The Critical Resume Question

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People have asked me often how to write a resume, or how to write a good resume, or what sets good resumes apart.

I always give the same answer.

Great resumes, the only kind you ever want to have if you want an effective job search, answer one critical question for any potential employer who looks at it:


If your resume doesn't answer that question in a few seconds, it's garbage. It's worse than worthless for you, because it can lock you out of that prospect.

Nice paper, or an Ivy League education, or fancy titles won't impress as much as answering that single question quickly, and in a compelling way.

Ask yourself how people read a resume.

Has an obnoxious salesman ever tried to sell you something in a retail store? He wants to tell you about how great it is, how it's a “steal, " and how it's. . . blue! Did you care? Not a whit. You had a need, and you wanted it met.

Prospective employers are the customers in the retail store. You're the salesman. The employer won't buy something that doesn't meet a current, or known future need.

A prospective employer certainly wants to know the high points of what you've done, but only so he can determine if you'll contribute to his organization in the way he wants you to. Achievements are good, but achievements matching needs are what you're after.

So, when you start to write or revamp a resume, ask what the target employer needs. Then describe how you meet that need.

Make the most compelling case for being the person uniquely capabable of meeting that need, and you'll get the job.

Copyright (c) by Roy Miller

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