2.18.2010

Resumes and the 30-second Advertising Spot

snow day 004

When its looks like this outside and all you want to do is stay home, nice and cozy by the fire … take advantage of your down time by revamping your resume. I know, we all dread it, but I think it’s because we’re not sure exactly how to set our resumes apart from the scads of impressive resumes floating around in an ever-tightening job market.

Here’s a tip: treat your resume like a 30-second television advertising spot. Copywriters are paid big, Madison Avenue bucks to distill a message using the most captivating words and phrases to convince the consumer do one thing: buy their product. And they only have 30 seconds to make it happen -which is about the same amount of time you have to capture the attention of your potential boss. Here are a few tricks of the trade to give your resume the edge over the competition:

Develop a clear objective. Have you ever seen a commercial and wondered “are they selling apple juice, facial cream, or trying to convince me miniature pigs are delightful household companions?” Make it easy for your audience: state your objective in clear, simple terms. Want a leadership role as a health care recruiter? Say so. Looking for an entry-level position as a public relations specialist? Put it in writing. Main goal in life to be a trainer of miniature pigs? Ah …. I might leave that out.

Be results oriented. There’s a reason advertisers spout statistics like “preferred by 4 out of 5 dentists”: it proves positive results. You’re more likely to capture attention if you say “led team to a 40 percent increase in sales in the last 12 months” than if you simply say “increased sales.” In this situation, you want solid numbers where you increased profits for the company, or saved them a lot of cash.

Discover and use “Flash Words.” Target audiences tend to have “flash words” – words that make them take notice, make their heart race … and make them want to jump in their car and rush to buy what the advertiser is selling. Good flash words for any resume are: leader, results-oriented, award-winning, and summa cum laude. (I’m just saying, that couldn’t hurt.)

Be a Benefit. Effective commercials start by telling you how their product will improve your life, and your resume should focus on how your skills will improve your new place of business. Ask around and see if you can discover anything about the job you seek – did the last assistant show up late every morning, resulting in her ultimate demise? Emphasize your attention to detail, organization, and punctuality. Are they seeking someone to lead a team in a new endeavor? Clearly state your recent experiences in leadership in new product development.

Brag, and be quick about it. Once you’ve shown them how much they need you, it’s time for your hard sell. Your resume is one place where it is essential to boast about your accomplishments. This is not the time to hide the fact you were quoted as an expert in the Wall Street Journal on page 3, deep in the “personal interests” section. Nope, that goes right up at the top of the resume – set the tone quickly so the reader is intrigued enough to keep reading.

Resumes are your calling card into the business world. Keep yours up-to-date with your most recent accomplishments, and when you review yours ask yourself: if this were a 30-second commercial, would I jump in my car, rush to the store, and buy this product? Using the above tips will vault your resume into the “must interview” list – no matter what your dream job.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Hi Amy - found your blog via your Twitter, and seriously this might be my new favorite list of resume suggestions. I'm working on revamping my resume now. Thanks for offering your insight!