Most job seekers try to do this directly, using adjectives that say “I’m smart!”.
Since most of us have average intelligence, few employers believe direct statements – everyone feels they’re smart, while many candidates have an inflated self-view of their intelligence.
Think about it, when you’re in a group of people, how do you feel about the person who constantly tries to prove that she’s the smartest? Do you view that person as full of intelligence or BS?
So if your intelligence is something you want employers to see, how can you tell them about it, so they’ll see your intellect?
Here are 5 Ways To Brand Your Resume For Intelligence:
- Value: It’s one thing to solve problems, but it’s even more powerful when you can demonstrate the value your intelligence has brought to past employers. While it’s nice to talk about a brilliant project you completed, it’s far more powerful to include how important that project was for your employer. Employers recognize a huge difference between someone who can apply this intelligence for commercial results vs someone who isn’t able to translate intelligence to uses that businesses value. Value ends up being one of the biggest roadblocks keeping academics from business opportunities.
- Accomplishments: There are times when examples of intelligence just can’t be monetized. In most cases, I recommend that non-monetizable accomplishments are left off your resume. However, if you’re trying to demonstrate intelligence, you may want to include a couple of examples that haven’t turned into monetized results that you can identify.
- Vocabulary: The words you choose can help employers recognize intelligence. If you write at a 6th grade reading level (like I do), you’ll have a tough time making your readers recognize above average intelligence by using average vocabulary. But be careful … you want to make sure the vocabulary you choose is in the proper context, so you don’t end up sounding like Al Sharpton or Dubbya.
- Grammar and Spelling: It’s a shame I have to say this. I see so many resumes destined for the trash can because of grammatical or spelling errors. Some of these errors are obvious, while others less so.
- Understand Needs: One of the best ways to give an employer the first impression that you’re intelligent is by giving a hiring manager the impression that you’ve read his/her mind. Of course you’re not a mind reader, but you can still give a first impression that you’ve read the hiring manager’s mind by correctly anticipating the hiring manager’s needs. Odds are low that you can guess what her needs are.
Research and superior information helps you look like a mind reader. By gaining information that’s superior to your competition, you dramatically increase the odds that you’ll correctly anticipate needs. You won’t find superior information on Google, the company’s website nor from the job description – this is all public information and won’t give you an advantage over other candidates. You gain superior information from within the target company, from current employees.
Branding for intelligence requires much more than just saying “Look at me – I’m smart!”
Don’t make the mistake that education alone brands you as intelligent. Just because you’ve graduated from a good school doesn’t mean that an employer will assume intelligence – you’ve got to demonstrate value and accomplishments, expressed with intelligent grammar, spelling and vocabulary to back up your education. Don’t we all know book smart, street dumb idiots who graduated from top institutions?
For most employers, where you earned your degree and/or GPA won’t matter – most hiring managers are more interested in the value you’ve provided for past employers and that you’ve solved similar problems to the hiring manager’s priorities. Still others may look negatively on a degree from a premier school – some employers assume candidates from top schools are just overpriced. However, a Harvard degree or straight A average may help with some employers, especially for rookies searching for their first job out of college.
There are a number of ways that candidates can effectively brand themselves as intelligent.
Which ones do you use?
Phil Rosenberg is President of http://www.reCareered.com, a leading job search information website and gives complimentary job search webinars at http://ResumeWebinar.com. Phil also runs the Career Central group, one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers and has built one of the 20 largest personal networks on Linkedin globally.