Earlier this week, I read an interesting headline in an Inc. Magazine blog under the banner "Your resume is a waste of time". What I know from hundreds and hundreds of discussions with both my students on one end of the under 25 age scale, and with 55 year old sales veterans on the other, is that the headline is very accurate. Of course, most people need a resume, since it is a badge of a sort, but...
- We spend way too much wasted time on resumes
- Most resumes are read in less than 30 seconds; no one takes more than 60
- In enterprise-size companies, most resumes are machine read first
- Absolutely no one reads that carefully crafted "objective" section at the top that took hours to create
- Everyone counts the years/per job over the past 10 years and makes some type of judgment
- Everyone looks at the most recent job or two and then skips down to the education background
And, most importantly...
...the primary reason that HR screeners, managers and also the actual hiring managers spend even 30 seconds looking at the resume is to be able to accurately type the spelling of the name into Linked In.
- If the applicant is a sales or marketing person, and the Linked In page is not representative, does not sound like, feel like, or look like that of a salesperson or a marketing professional, then that opportunity of spending an additional 30 seconds of consideration is immediately lost forever.
On the flip side, if the LI page bullets down your sales or marketing achievements and awards, contains no less than five and preferably up to eight solid recommendations, then everything in the assessment process slows down just a bit , and further consideration is made as to whether that resume moves to the "Yes", the "Maybe", or the "No" pile.
- Using LI, the hiring manager can immediately assess who else the applicant knows that you know, and in less than 30 seconds, the applicant can be cross referenced and quickly checked out.
Your resume is about "You"; Your Value Proposition is about "Your Value"
That resume that you've labored over for hours, carefully checked every word of for grammar and spelling, and just so slightly tweaked to conform with very specific needs in the job posting opening is exactly like a product spec sheet for the product or service you're selling. It gives the facts as statements measured by time, but what you're inadvertently asking the reader is to connect their own dots, create their own linkages, make their own judgment calls and come to their own conclusions as to a decision between you and the available job. Or, you and the product or service that you're trying to sell to a prospect.
The same thing occurs when your selling process is overly focused on your product specs. Of course, at some point, you're going to talk about and compare features and price, but in the end, you're not selling a product; you're selling business value. That value is always going to directly affect some business driver on the buyer's side of the table, and it's going to be measured in definable metrics which have an impact on their business along some timeline that conforms to their need. Some of those metrics might be hard ROI financials, while others might encompass business drivers such as "risk mitigation" and "brand enhancement". But, every one of those drivers will be about creating real or perceived value to that prospect, and not about you.
Don't focus on you or your company, only on the value you will create
- Only you know the value that you will actually bring to the hiring company for that position that you're applying for and that you want to close.
- Similarly, only you know the value that your product or your service will bring to the company that you are working on in order to close the sale.
Just focus on bringing the buyer or the hiring manager directly through your own selling process using simple language to openly talk about the value that you will bring to their company whether that's for the job that you want or the deal you want to close.
Want to learn more about Value Propositions, click HERE. Correctly done, the data shows that the ability to use Value Propositions is the #1 determinant of success between "A" and "B" level sales professionals.
Join me this fall at Tufts for a semester-long project which will bring a team of experienced sales and marketing students to your company to create detailed operating plans, do market research and provide you with fresh and innovative solutions.
I have the privilege of being a professor at Tufts where I teach a course in "The Art & Science of Sales", and another in "Inbound Marketing". If you're Interested, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a one pager detailing the arrangement.
Have a Great Day Selling !