Tailoring Your Message

I’m often amazed at the resistance clients, even highly successful ones, have to crafting different versions of their resume. I’ve seen that the resistance stems first from a reluctance to invest the time needed to artfully target a resume to a particular job opening and second to a mindset that thinks of describing work experience as a mere factual recitation rather than as something closer to a sales pitch.
The analogy I use to convince people of the need to tailor their resumes to particular situations comes from the world of politics. When a politician is running for election he or she will have a core set of ideas and principles – a platform- on which to run. That would undoubtedly be posted on the candidate’s website.  But on the stump a smart politician will tailor that platform to the audience being addressed, so that a church congregation or local business group will hear a version of the platform that is subtly or maybe even greatly different from the version that attendees of the Teamsters, American Medical Association, NASCAR or NRA conventions will hear. So the prominence of various platform planks, and even the tone in which they’re described, shifts to reflect the audience.
Another analogy: a good car salesman will emphasize the aspects of the vehicle – efficiency, features, price, reliability, durability, etc. – that the customer has expressed an interest in, and not just make a “one size fits all” sales pitch.
Job interviews need to be adjusted according to the same principle: tailor what you say to maximize its appeal to your audience. Emphasize the ‘features” of your background, and what you bring to the table, that are most relevant to the position. Please don’t make the mistake that so many people make right off the bat, having a standard answer to the interviewer’s frequent opening question: “So can you tell me a little about yourself”?
The answer you give to that question needs to directly address what the hiring organization is looking for, not your chronological life story, and should have the appropriate tone of voice: Animated? Serious? Lighthearted? Inquisitive? Irreverent?
Contact me if you want to learn more about how to adjust your pitch, whether written in a resume or verbal in an interview. As a former adman I know just how to do it