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How to increase your chances of getting a job interview.

How to increase your chances of getting a job interview.

In a competitive job market, you have to attract the attention of Recruiters and Hiring Managers in the first few seconds and then keep it. One sure fired way of differentiating from all other job seekers and candidates is to show the value you contributed to your previous employers.

Your résumé and LinkedIn profile are your passports for getting a job interview.

However, too many résumés and LinkedIn profiles are full of a laundry list of responsibilities. The main problem with featuring responsibilities is that it does not go to the value question: why should I employ you over and above the other applicants and candidates for the same role?

How to increase your chances of getting a job interview. | The First Few Seconds

Make it clear to the Recruiter and Hiring Manager why they should seriously consider you, and what you have been doing with those responsibilities you have been tasked with.

So how do you demonstrate value?

I coach people to draw from the SMART goal paradigm of:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

However, to only use three of the initials, namely SMT:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Time Bound

SMT_How to increase your chances of getting a job interview. | The First Few Seconds

So instead of featuring a responsibility like:

Responsible for implementing the introduction of the company sustainability program.

Use the SMT paradigm so your achievements show the specific, measurable, and time bound value you contributed:

Designed and executed the corporate sustainability program, significantly reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions resulting in savings over $1.5 million in Year1 and $2 million in Year 2.

So instead of featuring a responsibility like:

Oversaw worker compensation insurance for the Group.

Use the SMT paradigm so your achievements show the specific, measurable, and time bound value you contributed:

Reduced workers compensation premiums by 20 percent in 2015, equating to 25 percent less than the industry average.

Can you see how they give the reader a Specific, Measurable, and Time Bound sense of what you have achieved?

Depending on how commercially sensitive value statements might be, you can use relative value statements (expressed most often as a percentage) or absolutely value statements, in terms of a specific number.

Use the ‘So what?’ test:

So that you ensure your achievements demonstrate the value you provided to your employer, always ask yourself “So what?”

So what_How to increase your chances of getting a job interview. | The First Few Seconds

The answers to the “So what?” question are most often found in answering how you: either made money, and/or saved time, and/or reduced waste and/or improved productivity for your employer.

How might this work in practice? An example of an incomplete achievement might have easily been:

Implemented a comprehensive group procurement process, reducing costs.

But after asking “So what?”, it begs you to finish your achievement with a much more precise value statement:

Implemented a comprehensive group procurement process, reducing costs by over 30 percent, improving maintenance and asset life by 40 percent and saving the company over $5 million in a 2-year period.

Use Strong Action Verbs

Sentences that use ‘strong action’ verbs give the reader a sense of dynamism when crafting SMT value statements.

Here is my abbreviated, yet powerful list of popular ‘strong action’ verbs you can use:

  • Administered
  • Developed
  • Enhanced
  • Handled
  • Improved
  • Influenced
  • Launched
  • Mentored
  • Marketed
  • Negotiated
  • Organised
  • Projected
  • Researched
  • Restored
  • Sharpened
  • Streamlined
  • Strengthened
  • Trained
  • Updated

Start each achievement with a strong action verb

Verbs give the reader an immediate idea of the thing you did. Aim to start each achievement with a strong action verb. Verbs at the start help the reader scan your résumé and LinkedIn profile easily and find clues to your value more readily.

So instead of crafting an achievement to read:

  • Through individual analysis of both client and support worker resources, ensured 100% of clients received 100% support at the appropriate levels of need.

Start the achievement with the verb:

  • Ensured 100 percent of clients received 100 percent support at the appropriate levels of need through individual analysis of both client and support worker resources.

So there you have it: you now have guidelines for writing succinct value statements:

  1. Use the SMT paradigm.
  2. Ask “So What?” to hone in on the value (made money, saved time, reduced waste, improved productivity.)
  3. Use verbs at the start of each achievement.

Doing so will help the Recruiters and Hiring Managers decide why should they employ you over and above the other applicants and candidates for the same role.

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About the author:

Greg Weiss is the Founder of The First Few Seconds and CareerSupport365. He has almost 30 years success in HR and in career coaching people.  The First Few Seconds job readiness modules can be found here.

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