I came across an article by Liz Ryan, a journalist with decades of experience in Human Resources, that I thought job seekers may find helpful. Liz talks about connecting with hiring managers by explaining how you can help them solve their pain. She then recommends using a storytelling approach rather than the traditional dull boring resume. There are some great points here. Numerous sources talk about the importance of connecting with others through the art of storytelling. It reminded me of the sales adage which states that people buy from people they know and trust. Make no mistake, when you’re looking for a new job, you’re selling your services. Using the storytelling approach is a great way to start building a connection so that the hiring manager feels as though they know and can trust you, at least a bit more than the other applicants.
Liz gives a great example of using the storytelling approach with an example of a Human Resources professional who has worked in one particular industry. By simply focusing on the role of HR and ignoring the industry, the HR professional can expand her scope of opportunities. This concept echoes themes described in our post about broadening your horizons.
As much as I enjoyed Liz’s article, it struck me that her opening remarks may have left some lingering questions for job seekers. She recommends foregoing posting resumes on job boards and sending them directly to hiring managers. Readers may be left wondering, how do they find such managers? This is where the internet and social media can be of great value. Let’s say you are looking for a job as a mechanical engineer. You can go onto job posting boards and find companies that are hiring mechanical engineers. From these postings, you can identify the location. Armed with the company name and hiring location, you can explore sites such as LinkedIn. By conducting searches on the company, location, industry, and job titles you can often identify potential hiring managers. Now you can send them a message from within LinkedIn, or look up the company address and send a good old paper letter with your cover letter and resume.
Liz also talks about speaking to the hiring manager’s pain. Many of you may be asking, how do I know what their pain is? For starters, if they’re advertising for a position, you already know they have at least one pain associated with the need to hire someone. Either because they have more work than their team can manage, or they need to bring in a new skillset currently missing from their team. Another great way to identify probable pain points is to search the internet for news on the company, industry topics related to the professional area (in our example mechanical engineering), and if it’s a professional position, look for any postings or conference presentations by the hiring manager.
Research the area of interest then craft a story describing your relevant interests and skills. Make the story engaging and keep from making the focus too narrow. I recommend having others read the story and give you feedback. Once it is polished, you’ll be much better positioned to stand out from the crowd.
Have you used a similar approach in your resume? Or do you have different advice? Comment below and let us know! Help others on the job hunt by submitting a description of what your type of job is like on UltiCareer.
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