From a LinkedIn profile I came across last week:
“I am a qualified professional with a diversified skill set seeking employment that will allow further career enhancement and personal growth. I am highly adaptable with excellent communication skills. I am able to develop and implement project plans with attention to detail to ensure timely project performance. I aspire to utilize my creativity and expertise in a competitive environment. I am looking to explore new opportunities.”
Picture yourself as a hiring manager, or as the owner of a small company, looking to fill a specific position (ummmm…aren’t we ALWAYS looking to fill a specific role??). You come across this kind of opening summary on a profile or resume. What do you do?
1. Immediately see the incredible “fit” this candidate represents for the role.
2. Feel so intrigued by the description that this candidate floats right to the top, warranting an in-depth phone interview.
I would venture to guess than in 999 cases out of 1,000, the answer is (3) (the one exception might be that this is the only application submitted :>).
Why? Because we have no idea what this person can do. The profile may as well read, “Will Work for Food.”
What we want to do is get right to the point – explain in the first few sentences exactly what we’re seeking, why we’re qualified, and giving the reader a clear WIIFM.
Let’s say you come across the LinkedIn profile of my friend Brian Moran. Here’s his one sentence description, and the first paragraph of his summary:
Helping entrepreneurs & marketers navigate the SMB marketplace. Got questions? We have the answers.
Brian has spent the last 20+ years helping America’s entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Prior to starting his latest ventures, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the financial and small business markets across the WSJ franchise.
Why is this a far better example?
- The target audience is immediately defined – entrepreneurs and marketers. SMB. There are 567 other markets that Brian is NOT aiming for.
- Brian positions himself as a go-to resource, not just another drone to fill an undefined role.
- Relevant, long experience is outlined, including appropriate name-dropping (WSJ).
- There is an aspirational (WIIFM) element – realize dreams.
Now, Brian is a consultant, while the unnamed candidate above is seeking – well, I guess some kind of corporate position. But no matter what professional direction you’re pursuing, the point is this: you only have a few words, a few moments, to make an impact and intrigue people. Instead of throwing a fishhook out into the ocean hoping that someone, somewhere, will nibble, we do far better to spell out exactly what we do, who we do it for, and how we differentiate.
If you’re a toothpick, a generic description will do. But you’re not a generic role-filler. You need to tell us what you’re great at, and where you’re going (it’s not the hiring manager’s job to figure that out for you).
(Oh, and by the way – the marketplace doesn’t exist to further your career enhancement and personal growth. That’s the “what’s in it for YOU.”)
So, give me a clear What’s In It For Me in the first minute. Wipe the fog from the window and give me a clear picture. You may, in fact, be a great hire – but if I don’t see it, I can’t make an informed offer.
Also on the blog: Who is Clarity Therapy For?
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