Friday, September 14, 2012

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

We live in world where image is everything. High definition pictures tell 10,000 words. It seems like everyone’s vying to catch our eye with vibrant, shocking, breathtaking, meaningful and persuasive design or film. From billboards, to magazines, television, the movies and youtube, we are bombarded with pictures all day long.  Some pass by us with little impact, a mere flash of distraction. Others, however, demand our attention and we can't help but be hooked into further contemplation.  
It takes 15 seconds or less to decide if we’ll lend our attention further, or divert it to other things. These flash methods must work, or companies would not invest so heavily in them.

In a perfect world, job seekers would follow the lead of corporations and advertising agencies. They could  use tried and true ways to sell their best assets. They might find success when submitting a professionally produced 15-second commercial that hooks a hiring team into clicking a link to their personal website.

In this perfect world, the website would be brimming with impressive images and content. It would sell the jobseeker in the most creative and entertaining way imaginable.  Perhaps full-length interviews with former employers could feature Diane Sawyer or Oprah might asking heavy questions, like “How hard was it to see Jim walk out the door for the very last time?” Or, “What’s morale like now?” On another page, the visitor might scroll through a photo slideshow that highlights professionally edited photographs of every award and accolade accumulated.

Most job seekers, however, are restricted to an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper upon which they are asked to contain a career and present their four dimensional, vibrant and impressive education and experience in flat black and white.

Yet, the same 15-second rule of engagement applies.

Career research indicates that employers will give a résumé a 10-15 second glance before proceeding to the next candidate in the pile.

So, how do job seekers effectively use their résumé to rock their 15 seconds of fame and catch their employers attention?

Here are my top five tips:

1.       Use a professional and neat format with a splash of creativity
2.       Lead with top skills, traits and successes
3.      Summarize duties; bullet point accomplishments
4.       Target! Never use the same résumé twice
5.       Wow the crowd with verifiable facts and hard numbers

In future blog posts I’ll expand on each tip in further detail and share specifics on how you can design a résumé that best markets you in context to the job you to which you are applying. 

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