You already know that your resume is a marketing document, not a job history. You also know that your resume isn’t about you — it’s about your audience.
When working through the job search, your personal brand (and your resume) needs to speak to several audiences. It needs to speak to a computer program to get ranked high enough to be looked at by a human. It needs to make it past a 10 second resume scan and through HR’s checklist. And, then, finally, it needs to wow a hiring manager and convince them to bring you in for an interview.
Pleasing all of these audiences is a high bar for you to achieve.
But, HR and Hiring Managers are fundamentally looking for different things and think about the position in very different ways. Let’s take a look at how they think differently and how you can shape your personal brand to talk to both of them, quickly & effectively.
First, let’s talk about HR.
HR is all about reducing volume and focusing in on a few select candidates to send over to a hiring manager.
The Goal of HR is to Select a Safe, Perfectly Qualified Candidate
When you think about HR evaluating your resume, it’s important to know three things:
- HR does everything possible to reduce risk
- HR is more about rejecting than it is selecting
- HR is big into check lists and point systems
When you know these three things and think about them as you write your resume, it becomes much easier to effectively speak to HR.
Looking at the first two points above, it is very clear that HR is NOT looking for the best candidate, rather HR is looking to reduce their risk in any way possible. If HR put together an entire company, every person would be from the same industry, with an exact background match and have done well (but not made any waves) in all previous positions.
In other words, HR searches for safe mediocrity.
You’ll want your personal brand to reflect that when you are talking to HR. Think about how you can creatively shape your personal brand into a well-qualified and safe candidate.
On the other hand…
Hiring Managers Look for Rockstars That Will Get Along with the Team
Hiring Managers evaluate candidates very differently from HR. When they evaluate you, they aren’t judging based on objective criteria from a checklist. And they certainly aren’t using a scoring rubric to judge who gets the most points.
Hiring managers are judging you on three questions:
- Will you make them look great?
- Do they trust you?
- Will you get along with them and the team?
So, while with HR you want to display your very clear and specific qualifications quickly, hiring managers will want to see your potential, your communication style and more of your personality.
Mold your personal brand when you interact with hiring managers to fit. Talk about how well you’ve worked with other bosses (and how you’ve made them look great!). Ask about the team and how they work together. And, be yourself — because you want to work for a boss that wants (the real you) to work for them.
Take the time to translate your personal brand to each of their languages. You’ll be glad that you did.
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.