By Kevin W. Grossman
Recently a dear friend of mine asked for some resume advice. She's in a career transition and wants to open herself up for a related, but a little bit of a stretch move. I'm no resume-writing expert (or more preferred, no online profile writing expert), but I do understand the importance of making your business case in keyword rich storytelling.
She had written "qualification" statements such as:
- Dedicated and hardworking, with an unmatched drive to produce results.
- Continually recognized for an outstanding work ethic with positions of increasing responsibility.
- Strong communicator with the ability to work independently or in a team environment.
- Proven history of self-motivation and eagerness to take on new responsibilities.
Now, by no means am I making fun of her; she's a very intelligent and sought after business professional and these are admirable qualifications. However, they're non-specific best practices, and although they convey her strengths, they don't really tell me exactly:
- What results she actually produced and how they impacted the business.
- How her work ethic prompted increased responsibility.
- How her independence and collaborative skills impacted the business.
- How her initiative impacted the business.
It got me thinking more and more about the differences between talking best practice and making the business case. I recently wrote an article about the fact that during my tenure in the magnificent HR/recruiting marketing realm, both on the vendor side as well as the practitioner side, my colleagues and me spout best practices over and over again to our "buyers," that they should just "buy" because.
We're looking for our "product" to be purchased, to be acquired and/or invested in (you can choose your own analogy here). We market ourselves with our online profiles (and if you insist, our resumes), with our referrals and references, with our appearance, with our hopefully on-target interview responses.
The general best practice marketing will only go so far though unless we convince our potential "buyers" of their short and long-term return-on-investment (ROI). True it's more difficult to make the business case when you're a brand new startup with limited if any results to date, but that will come with time, and the more you work on the direct experience spin, the indirect generalities will fall away like failed business models.
Being bold and taking risks can come with making the business case as well. In fact, my dear friend is expanding her existing career – and she's starting her own business soon.
From general best practice to career business case and you're in...the door at least. No guarantees you'll get the job, but no matter what you do, don't stop making the case.
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