Out of the many resumes you send out during your working life, you receive a few dozen invites to interviews. Of these, you get selected in a dozen or less, depending on the number of times you seek change.
Now, when you send out your resume, don’t forget that hundreds of resumes could be doing the rounds and hence projecting the right image through your resume makes the difference between a call for the interview or making its way to the shredder.
Just as Image Management helps you project the right image when you are physically present, it also applies to your resume which projects your image in your absence. Your resume is advance notice of who you are and either opens the doors for you or shuts them. As such, the image you project through your resume and the First Impressions it creates are critical for success – in short a call for interview and to set the tone for a successful interview.
There are two sides to the resume equation and if you master that, your resume will project the image that creates positive First Impressions. One side of the equation is the company and its objectives. The other side is your academic background, experience and knowledge. Map the two right and you would have prepared a resume that carries the right image.
When selecting candidates, companies look for the 3Cs – competence, commitment and cultural fit. Keep in mind that these factors come into picture at the resume screening stage itself.
Take a look at yourself based on these factors. Competence is a matter of projecting your academic background and experience as well as your people skills that result in work getting done. Don’t for a moment think that stating your achievements is all about physical goals and objectives. It is as much about people – your juniors, peers, seniors and the external professionals – with whom you interact to attain the company goals.
Commitment is your ability to see things through to the last end. It is not just dogged persistence, which is a critical aspect, but also the ability to bend your traits, methods of working and giving leeway to others in critical areas to meet the team goals. The only aspect that can remain intact is your value system.
Cultural fit is the way you fit in with the company. Industries, companies and departments have a culture of their own. A service professional in the cell phone service industry projects a different image when compared to one in the finance industry. Some companies are aggressive by nature and may value target achievement over many other people aspects, while others who are equally aggressive would like to do so while retaining the team coherence intact. Sales departments carry a culture vastly different from that of purchase or finance departments.
Ask your seniors. Also look up on the Internet and you will get a feel for the company and department’s culture. If you are an experienced professional, talk to your industry colleagues to get an idea.
The meaning that is attached to each of the 3Cs can vary from company to company as well as from position to position within the same company. So do your research.
What you Project
Once you have the above picture in front of you, you are ready to prepare your resume or customize your existing resume to meet the company objectives.
In order to project the 3Cs, you need to take care of two things in your resume. Give them an idea of the person that you are – your strengths, capabilities, dedication, talent and personality type. This is to ensure that you receive a call for the interview.
But, you need to plan a step ahead of that – to set the direction for the interview. Here comes the second factor. Give them enough to question you over your strengths during the interview, because it is the information you give in your resume that guides at least the first half of an interview. Long before you enter the second half, the decision to recruit you is taken.
Now, there is a way to tell your half of the story so that it meets with what the company is looking for and helps you succeed in these two steps. Look out for our next post – Writing the Perfect the Resume – 2.