Want a job? Provide what employers need

Linda Davidson
Linda Davidson

How do you make a potential employer fall in love with you? Want the answer short and sweet? Here it is: Be what the employer needs.

Have time to read more to find out how? Good. Follow along with me. I know the job seeker-hiring manager mating dance well. I write resumes for job seekers and coach them through the job search. I know hiring managers from my work as a business coach.

If you thought it was hard to impress that cute boy or girl in high school, it’s nothing compared to catching the attention of a hiring manager. The applicant pool is big and the hiring manager busy. You’ve got a couple of minutes to catch his or her eye with your resume. And first impressions count in a job interview.

Your resume has to be good. Really good. That means well-written, clean, clear, concise and no mistakes. List more accomplishment statements than job duties. Include a profile at the top that showcases your applicable qualifications. The body of the resume offers the backup for the profile.

No doubt about it, writing your own resume is difficult. Enlist the aid of a friend — or better yet, a professional resume writer — to help you formulate your accomplishments as well as eliminate those endless job duties you think should be included. To get an idea of format, see a before and after resume sample at www.resumes2impress.com.

Target the cover letter or e-mail message that accompanies your resume to the job. Follow this template. In the first paragraph, make the connection. Did a friend or colleague suggest you apply? Use it. In the middle paragraph, show how your qualifications match the job requirements. Close with a statement about looking forward to talking to them. It’s short.

In the interview, hiring managers want to be sold. If that’s a scary thought for you, I understand it can be. If you respond to that challenge with, “That’s easy for me,” you might think you can wing it. You can’t. Selling yourself doesn’t mean a hard sell, nor does it mean being too shy. It’s a balance. Think of it this way: Your job is simply to make it clear you CAN do the job, you WILL do the job and show them you’re a FIT. Imbue your answers with the passion and enthusiasm you naturally have for your work and for people and you’re in.

Can-will-fit is at the top of the list of ways to prove to the prospective employer you have what’s needed. “Can” is easy. Use stories that show you at work. Make it personal. “Will” means showing you will do the job, you have a good work ethic, a good attitude and passion for your work. The hiring manager will be constantly, and mostly unconsciously, gauging your “fit” with him or her, the people and organization. You will be qualifying them, too.

If you’re not a fit, you’re not — accept it. You are who you are. Keep looking. Continue learning how to make the employer fall in love with you. Keep smiling. You’re going to hear, “You’re hired!” before you know it.

Getting a job takes effort. When you’re avoiding working on your job search, think of this cool quote Crossroads Fitness displays: “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” Meanwhile, consider these tips:

For  your resume as well as for interviewing, prepare three to five P-A-R stories. Google “PAR interview.”

To better understand what it means to sell yourself in an interview — and life — read Daniel H. Pink’s “To Sell is Human.”

Practice for the interview by Googling “typical interview questions” and “top five interview questions.” You might not be asked any of them, but the practice will get you ready to think on your feet.

Become more aware of your body language. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk.