You’ve probably seen at least one article with a title somewhat like this: “5 Resume Secrets You MUST Know for a Successful Job Search.” Those of us in the career services industry who publish articles tend to use titles like that because they make attention-getting headlines.
I’ve come to the conclusion these titles present at least a few problems, and I’d like to share some insights with you.
What’s a Resume “Secret” Anyway?
According to one online definition, a secret is “something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.” Therefore, a resume secret should presumably be something about resumes that people are kept from finding out.
Of course, as we all know, secrets don’t always stay hidden. Some of them just have a way of leaking out in spite of the precautions taken. Considering how long we’ve been using resumes in our job searches, it’s pretty hard to believe there are critical secrets about them that no one has publicized by now!
Exploding the Myth about Resume “Secrets”
So here’s my take on resume secrets: The only resume secret that matters in the long run is the importance of catching the attention of your target employers with a clear and compelling communication of the value you can bring to them. If you do that really well, you have a shot at lining up job interviews. If you don’t, you probably won’t.
Succeeding in that effort, though, requires you to take some essential actions, including:
- Know your own value proposition(s) inside-out. Back your feelings about them with reality-based facts.
- Research the employer’s probable needs and match them to your value as closely as possible.
- Evaluate your competition to help you develop and communicate a strong, competitive message in your professional resume, LinkedIn profile, and other marketing tools.
Trust me, there’s nothing secret about these actions! Anyone can do them—and any serious job seeker should.