I always tell people that if a single resume could get you a job, then why do you have to go on a series of interviews after submitting it? Most resumes lack important information for hiring managers, such as actually results achieved, endorsements and proof of expertise. Because of the lack of important information on a resume, a cover letter was invented, and then a references document and so on. While resumes are the standard document that is accepted at most companies, they don’t differentiate candidates. Recruiters don’t enjoy reviewing them because they all look the same and most of them are in a typical template you would find for free online. This means that candidates that want to stand out have to do things differently. If you want to be a unique candidate, then there are two things you can do that will immediately separate you from the pack.
1. Write a book. This might seem like a lot of work, but build a successful career is a lot of work! When you write a book, you are cementing your expertise in a document that is trusted by society. If you walk into an interview with a book, the hiring manager will immediately be impressed and perceive you as more than just another candidate – you will be a true subject matter expert in their eyes. Remember that companies are looking to hire specialists, not generals, and books prove that you’ve focused your expertise on a single topic (if you’re smart).
I could never give you the advice to write a book ten years ago because it would have been too expensive and too hard to get a publishing contract. In today’s self-publishing era, writing and publishing a book is both time and cost effective so the average person can do it as long as they are willing to put the work in. For instance, one of my friends spent $2,000 to publish his book, $1,200 on an editor and $800 on a design. The effort it takes to write a book is why it’s rare to see a job seeker who actually has one in an interview. Writing a book once can help you with job searching throughout the rest of your life and that’s how you need to view it. I still benefit off of the book I write when I graduated college.
2. Build a case study. Employers hire the least risky candidate or the candidate that has shown that they can do exactly what the company needs the first day of the job. Creating a case study is an incredibly powerful way to showcase your real value in a way that makes you this low risk candidate. Just like a consultant would come into a sales meeting with a case study proving that they’ve already achieved results/success with a current client, you as a job seeker should do the same when pitching hiring managers. A case study should highlight a project you previously worked on, the results you achieved after finishing that project and a written testimonial from the company who hired you to do that project.
The case study shows that you are a serious candidate and it proves that if the company hires you, you can deliver similar results on those projects. From the hiring managers perspective, you have eliminated the fear that you won’t be capable of doing the work, adding to the bottom line and that they might have to spend more resources to train you. The typical results that you will see on a case study focus on hard numbers. Did you increase revenue? Did you lower expenses? Did you increase productivity? Like writing a book, this single case study can help you throughout the rest of your life. These small investments can make a huge life impact!