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How to Sell Yourself to an Employer

Have you ever seen a couple and thought, "How did he get her?" or vice versa? Obviously, the person deemed less physically attractive knew how to sell his/her other great qualities to compensate for what he/she lacked in the looks department. You've also probably known someone who seems to have it all - good looks, charm, intelligence, etc. - yet sits at home dateless on Saturday nights. Clearly, that person is lacking when it comes to self-promotion.

If there were strict rules about dating, the "tall, dark, and handsome" guy would always get the girl, and the "nice" guy would always be left out in the cold. Likewise, if there were strict rules about how your credentials must be presented, then the same people (those with great credentials) would always get the good jobs, and the others (those with less than great credentials) would be forever stuck in bad jobs.

Self-marketing is what makes the difference. Your resume and cover letter give you an opportunity to level the playing field. The worst thing you can do is to take someone else's resume and simply fill in the blanks with your information. Not only that, it's bound to backfire on you!

Your friend might have a 3.9 GPA and therefore doesn't need to flesh out his/her work experience quite so much. A colleague might have been promoted to a high- ranking position and therefore doesn't need to do as much selling of his/her experience. You need to view your resume and cover letter as an opportunity to show what you DO have that your competitors DO NOT.

Learn How to Think Like an Employer

The best way to get a good idea of what makes an effective resume and cover letter is to be on the other side of the hiring process. When you are in the position of hiring someone, you will see firsthand what employers like and dislike in applicants.

When Resume Apple goes through the process of hiring professional resume writers, we learn even more about what should and should not be in a resume and cover letter. Even among the pros - the people who write resumes for a living - there are resumes that stand out and those that are mediocre. We hire only the cream of the crop to join our team and learn more from them about how to write truly exceptional resumes.

If you are beginning a job search, try to put yourself in either a real hiring situation (for instance, volunteer to participate in interviewing/screening candidates at your current job) or a virtual hiring process in which you should try to imagine a scenario in which you would need to hire someone. Think of your ideal intern, colleague, or manager. Jot down a brief job description. Then think of what you would want to see in that person's resume and cover letter.

You will find that there are a few key qualities you are looking for in your employee. Say those things are: 1. a degree from a reputable school in a particular subject; 2. strong organizational skills; 3. experience in a particular part of your industry; and 4. evidence of strong writing skills. If you find candidates with these credentials, you will look more closely at their resumes. If they have few or none of these qualities, you will toss their resumes.

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