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June 12, 2009
Value Add
You have three seconds to impress me.
You get 30 more if I like what I see at a glance.
It does indeed sound like dating, doesn’t it? And you should think of it that way; it’s in the interests of both parties to feel a little giddy and a lot excited about the prospect of “getting hitched.”
Recruiters want to know what you bring to the table. It’s even more the case these days. When you hear numbers like 2000 people have applied for one job at an institution used to receiving 20 applications per position, you know there is some very fast scanning of resumes going on.
So, what makes you special? Give it to us straight, up front, your 30-second elevator pitch in a neat and tidy summary at the top of your resume. An Objective is well, just alright—many of us tend to ignore those because they are usually rather generic sounding. We much prefer a concise yet explicit Summary.
It’s not enough to simply say you’re “multi-channel” or “multi-media” and leave it at that. What are your specialties? Give me the keywords I might be looking for: interactive, Web, online, digital, print, television, broadcast, direct, radio, video, traditional, packaging, branding, outdoor, out-of-home, guerilla, social media, iphone applications, mobile, technology, financial services, healthcare, beauty, automotive, consumer goods, Flash, Ajax, Javascript, CSS, MS Project, Visio, wireframes, and so on.
If you’ve got too many buzzwords for the summary, you can use “multi-media” or “traditional and digital” in your 30-second summary as long as you elaborate within the Experience section. We like details in the experience section because it helps us determine how many years exposure you have to a particular medium or client vertical. (Include dates for your work history—it only makes us suspicious if you don’t!)
You might think there’s nothing terribly outstanding in your experience, maybe just the usual stuff those roles entail? Look for the details, the golden nuggets. Don’t sell yourself short, *BUT please, please, PLEASE, DON’T say you’re “The Best” or brilliant or exceptional or cutting-edge, or anything that raises expectations so much that the only way is down! (Back to that dating analogy, does anyone like sitting across the table from a braggart? Don’t the self-proclamations frequently prove false? So, don’t set us up for disappointment. Be cool, be honest, be clear.)
Here’s a old trick, let friends and family read your resume and ask them to tell you what you do! If they can’t, ask them if it was too dull of a read or if perhaps they simply found it vague. Either way, it’s valuable feedback and warrants addressing. Now do the exact same thing on Linkedin,com—a missed treasure ship if you aren’t on it and using it to its fullest.
Make the first three seconds great and the next 30 even better. You’ll have a love connection going much sooner.

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Joselle Spinoza is both a contract sourcer and a contingency recruiter (co-owner of ProCreative which specializes in the placement of advertising professionals from coast to coast, mostly in the digital space.) View her LinkedIn profile and follow her on Twitter. View more job-seeking tips and resources on her blog.

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