To effectively market your skills and past job experience, craft your resume as you would an online dating profile for eHarmony or Match.com.
Your 20s are a time to explore the professional and personal passions that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
But as just about every 20-something has figured out, searching is tough. It’s stressful and uncertain. Sometimes it’d be nice to have some help narrowing down your options.
This probably explains why more than a third of those using online dating sites are Millennials. eHarmony is one of the most popular sites, due in large part to the detailed assessments all users must complete at the start of the process. Though it may seem unromantic and even scientific at times, customers believe this extensive questionnaire will lead them to the romance of their dreams.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice many of the tactics you’d use to answer eHarmony’s questions resemble items your resume should also cover.
Grill your career experience using the same logical and detail-oriented method, and you’re well on your way to romancing the next company you meet into hiring you. Specifically, keep these six pointers in mind:
1. Remember that deception doesn’t win people over
eHarmony asks you to be honest with yourself and with potential matches when you fill out their questionnaire, so why shouldn’t the same policy apply to your resume?
Preface the job history portion of your resume with a career statement or a statement of intent. Overworked hiring managers have little time and no patience for lies. Be clear about who you are, what you can do and why you’d be a perfect match for the position.
2. Don’t write to impress yourself
When you craft your online dating profile, you write with a specific kind of guy or gal in mind. Think the same way when you’re reworking that resume of yours.
Remember you’re writing (and rewriting) for the person you hope to meet or the company you hope will hire you. While you do have certain skills you’ll always include no matter what, no two jobs are identical. So you need to spin yourself in different ways for different jobs.
3. Flaunt your best assets
On any online dating site, you should try to be honest while also playing up your best traits. You want to cast the widest net and make yourself look as desirable as possible to the largest number of potential matches. Resume writing is no different. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
If you’re right out of school, weight your resume toward your academic and extracurricular accomplishments. But after a few years and a few jobs, it’s time to shift the emphasis onto the real-world proof that you’re a rock star. No one will care that you were in the honors college or performed in your university’s color guard. Shorten the education section of your resume, keep only the most important details and bump it to the bottom of the page.
4. Get a little personal
Obviously, your resume won’t have the same emphasis on your personal interests as your dating profile. But to give recruiters and HR managers a better snapshot of who you are, consider adding a miscellaneous section to your resume to highlight what you’re passionate about. Your work as a freelance writer, blogger or artist can help you stand out from other candidates.
Everyone wants a viral resume — and would probably like their dating profile to go viral among the right set, too. But instead of going for flash, emphasize your most unique and desirable work-appropriate interests and accomplishments.
5. Think Reader’s Digest, not War and Peace
When it comes to dating profiles and resumes, no one wants to read a novel. Instead, share only the most valuable and pertinent details when describing the duties and overarching goals in your work experience.
There’s a reason text fields on dating profiles have set character limits. Follow their example. Unless you’ve worked for the same company for a while or your position is difficult to explain, try to keep each job description to less than 100 words.
Use power words and keep your word choice from verging on academic. Avoid vague words like “stuff” or “things.” Write in an active voice instead of using passive verbs. Aim to be concise and sound professional.
6. Harmonize your resume with perfect pitch
When you start writing your bio on eHarmony, you should write in a voice that’s uniquely yours — after all, your overarching goal is to find someone who will adore you for you, right?
Hiring managers are a little less interested in loving you for you and a little more into loving you for how you can fit with their company. With that in mind, look at the job listing and figure out how to pitch slap the heck out of the hiring manager.
Don’t exactly copy the tone you read in the listing, but try to fold it in — harmonize with it, if you will. You’re not out to be loved as a person; you’re out to demonstrate that you and that company belong together.
Emmie Scott is a Millennial lifestyle blogger, marketing exec and founder of World By Storm Consulting LLC, which seeks to bring together panels of experts in various fields to proactively start conversations with college seniors, filling in the gaps where career centers leave off and hiring managers pick up. Connect with Emmie and World By Storm on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.