Whose Language Is On Your Resume?

Apr 24 2012 in reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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It doesn’t matter if your resume is written in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, German, Dutch, or Arabic.

What does matter is whose language is on your resume. It’s just as important how you communicate on your resume, as what you communicate.

Take a good hard look at your resume and ask the question … whose language is this?

You are used to writing resumes in the language of your present and past employers, because it’s the language you’ve used on an every day basis.

What makes you think that the language of your present and past employers is the same as your target employers?

You’ve been taught to think that language doesn’t matter, that if you send any sort of description to potential employers, that they’ll figure it out. You were taught this when there was a shortage of candidates – Since you (a skilled candidate) were in short supply, let employers translate your language to their needs. When there were candidate shortages, you could have multiple companies fighting over you, without much effort on your part.

Only one problem – there aren’t candidate shortages today. They’ve been replaced by job shortages – so employers act very differently in the hiring process.

Your frustration, hiring manager frustration … same answer

I’ve heard your frustrations about employers’ dysfunctional hiring processes – how impersonal, rude and non-transparent they are.

But I’ve also heard hiring manager frustrations – how candidates don’t write resumes that easily demonstrate how you meet that specific employer’s needs.

A significant portion of this problem is language.

When employers see an average 1,000 applications for each job, HR first screens for criteria … then employers look for resumes that easily and clearly show how the candidate meets hiring manager needs. If hiring managers are frustrated that few of the mass resumes received match up to their needs – this signals a big job search opportunity for you.

If hiring managers aren’t finding many applicants whose resumes match their needs in 1,000 resumes and employers actively look for resumes that clearly show how the candidate meets hiring manager needs – this is a gap … one that you can fill.

Why not communicate using your target employer’s language?

To communicate using your target employer’s language, you’ve got to do research – lots of it. Your research will consist primarily of meeting with and talking to as many contacts inside the employer as you can.

But this type of research is a little different than fact and problem finding. In language research, you’ll want to listen to how your contacts are communicating … not just what they are saying.

Here’s 5 things to look for when trying to understand an employer’s language:

  1. Jargon: Each different employer uses its own unique jargon – or words unique to the employer. Many companies make up their own words and phrases to personalize their description and differentiate it from common language. What do your contacts at the employer call things … that are a little different than what you call them?
  2. Words and phrases: Languages (English and others) commonly offer multiple words and phrases to describe the same thing. What words and phrases are commonly used by your target company contacts? How do these differ from word choices you’re used to – because they’ve been used at current or past employers?
  3. Metrics and measurements: Different companies use different metrics and measurements of their operations. Different employers also refer the exact same metric by very different names. Take note of the metrics that your target company contacts use in conversation.
  4. Abbreviations and Acronyms: Pay particular attention to this in government, military, government/military contractors, and large companies – Abbreviations and Acronyms are rampant in these organizations. Even small companies likely use their own brand of abbreviations, that become part of the employer’s internal language.
  5. Titles and departments: These are often different from employer to employer. Some organizations have very few if any titles, some employers load up on VP titles, others have very few manager titles (and even fewer VPs), while some companies have whacky or whimsical titles that basically make fun of titles (Ex: Chief Propeller Head, referring to the company’s COO).

Employers use their own internal languages like clubs use a “secret handshake”. An organization’s internal language bonds those who share it’s common understanding and excludes outsiders.

Think about how useful this is – when employees are at lunch with your co-workers or boss, talking about work related issues, would the organization’s management want everyone around to understand exactly what was being said? Of course not, which is one reason employers have their own unique language – to keep outsiders out.

An internal employer language makes it more difficult for competitors to gain competitive intelligence, because the competitor first has to learn insider words, phrases, metrics, abbreviations, acronyms, and title names. Of course this isn’t impossible, but it makes gaining intel on competitors more difficult.

How does using the employer’s language benefit you as a candidate?

The more inside language you use, the more you give the impression that you’re part of the club, that you fit. The more of the employer’s unique language you use the more likely you are to match Applicant Tracking System search criteria, expressed in the employer’s own language. The greater use you make of the employer’s language, the more likely a hiring manager will see that your resume matches the company’s needs.

Isn’t that what you want?

Or would you rather keep describing yourself using someone else’s terms … and keep missing out on great opportunities?


Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

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Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

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Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

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