What if you walked into a building and happened to encounter the hiring manager for the job of your dreams? And what if the two of you stepped onto the same elevator and you had 30 seconds of this person’s unbroken attention all to yourself? What would you say? How would you convince this person to hire you within these precious seconds?
Your message and the words you use to deliver it are what job search experts call an “elevator pitch,” and while you may not be lucky enough to face this scenario in real life, you certainly can—and probably will—encounter two similar moments during your job search.
One of these moments will take place in your interview, when your potential employer leans back in their chair and says: “Tell me why I should hire you.” The other will happen when an employer picks up your resume and glances over it for the first time, starting with the short summary section at the top of the page.
Make sure this short introductory paragraph delivers a winning message that’s strong enough to get you in the door. Try these five moves.
1. Concentrate on the elevator pitch
If you have 30 seconds, will you spend the first 10 of them blustering and sputtering? Or will you drop the clutter and buzzwords and get straight to the point? Don’t waste time by calling yourself “a hard-working, super-charged, success-driven go-getter with an excellent track record and a history of accomplishments, etc.” By the time she reaches the third empty descriptor, she’ll already be tuning out. Start by immediately describing yourself in specific terms that no other candidate can use.
2. Your needs don’t matter
If you have only 30 seconds, take yourself out of the picture. Get your reader’s attention by focusing on her needs and those of her company, not your own. Get to the heart of the problem—her problem. Let her know that you understand what this problem is and you have the perfect solution to offer: hiring you!
3. Answer the why
If you know what the company needs and you know how to help this organization thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace, that’s great. If you’re the man with the plan, then perfect. But why you? What makes you so special? What do you have to offer that she couldn’t find somewhere else?
4. Focus on branding
We live in interesting times, and everywhere we go these days, our memories and attention spans are taxed by multiple streams of incoming information. When it comes to selling a product (or yourself) half of your success will come from the strength of the product itself. But the other half will come from simply being remembered. If the customer or hiring manger forgets every other name in the resume stack but somehow remembers yours, you’re halfway home.
So say something that makes you stand out. Offer a personal detail, make a witty remark, or emphasize one skill or credential above all the others. If you’re remembered for just one reason, a reason that can be expressed in one word, what will that word be? Build your summary around this word.
5. Every Detail Counts
When it comes to your resume summary, every word matters. So don’t leave a single word or detail to chance. Visit LiveCareer and get the guidance you need to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.