You’ve been taught how to write resumes telling readers what you’re most proud of, or WIFM – What’s In it For Me.
Only one problem … employers and recruiters don’t care about what you’re most proud of.
Instead, employers/recruiters care about how you can help them achieve goals and solve problems, or WIFT – What’s In it For Them.
You’ve been taught to think that what you’re proud of (WIFM) will be important to employers. In reality, most employers couldn’t care less what you’re proud of, because it doesn’t help them solve their specific problems.
Here are 5 examples of WIFM that you can compare to 5 examples of WIFT. Compare these to your resume, so you can discard the WIFM and replace it with WIFT.
5 Examples Of Resume WIFM (What’s In it For Me):
- Awards: You think that your next employer will care that you’ve won the President’s Award or the Chairman’s Award or the Grand Poobah’s award … because you’re proud of the fact that you were recognized. News Flash – your next employer won’t care that you were recognized. Your internal recognition won’t help them solve problems or achieve goals. Plus, your next employer won’t know what the award even means – How could your reader know if the award meant you saved your company a bazillion dollars, or just shown up for work 5 days in a row.
- Job descriptions: Listing your job descriptions or responsibilities doesn’t show you’ve done these well – it just shows that you’re proud of them. Stating that you were responsible for managing a project could mean you were the worst project manager ever. Listing that you were responsible for making closing journal entries doesn’t tell your reader if you were the most accurate accountant in the history of bookkeeping, or if your work was riddled with errors.
- Qualifications and experience: Showing that you’re qualified in Excel or eCommerce doesn’t tell your reader if you’re any good – you only state you’ve done these. You may have done a remarkable job using these tools, or you may have sucked. How can your reader tell if you’re any good, or if you’re clueless?
- Skills: Showing that you have skills in .net programming doesn’t tell your reader if you’re a great programmer or the worst programmer ever. Worse yet, when you describe your skills as competent or competency, you give your reader the impression that you barely meet the minimum requirements, when you might be really outstanding.
- Non-relevant Information: When you list information that you’re proud of, but doesn’t help that specific reader, you distract their focus from the items that might interest them. If you include a long laundry list of bullet points, but hide the really relevant ones somewhere in the middle, you’re listing all the things you’re most proud of (WIFM), forcing the reader to go on a scavenger hunt to see if there’s anything they care about. In the 15 seconds your reader spends deciding whether to give you an interview or not, your reader won’t take the time to hunt. If you hide WIFT in a jungle of WIFM, expect that it won’t be seen.
5 Examples Of Resume WIFT (What’s In it For Them):
- Value: You can bet that your next hiring manager has goals that will drive value to the employer. Typically that value includes increasing revenue, decreasing costs, increasing profit, or solving a specific problem that allows other areas to increase revenue, decrease costs or increase profit. For non-profit or governmental entities, there may be goals other than revenue like increased awareness, increased participation, increased constituencies. When your resume describes that you’ve driven value to past employers that is similar to the value your hiring manager is trying to drive (by meeting goals), then you’re showing WIFT.
- Accomplishments: Your next employer won’t care that you’ve spent 99.9% of your time answering customer service calls. What they will care about is the 5 minutes you spent drafting an email to your boss, recommending a process improvement that saved your company a few million dollars – That’s WIFT.
- Relevancy: Just stating value isn’t enough – if the value you’re presenting isn’t relevant to the problems your specific hiring manager is trying to solve by meeting their goals, then your value isn’t WIFT. For example, if you list the amazing things you’ve done to increase revenue of your past employers and demonstrate the billions in revenue you raised, it won’t mean a damn to a hiring manager whose job it is to cut costs. When you make sure the problem you’re solving is the problem your specific hiring manager is trying to solve, you’re demonstrating WIFT.
- Resource Usage: Stating that you hired, trained and managed an army of workers is a job description, so it’s WIFM. Instead, when you demonstrate the great things you’ve done with that army, when you show the value you’ve driven that army to accomplish, when you show the accomplishments/value of the leaders that you’ve trained/mentored … that’s WIFT.
- What You Did With Your Responsibilities: A common executive resume mistake lists that the candidate managed P&L. While this shows a satisfaction of a typical minimum requirement, it’s WIFM … because it doesn’t show how well you’ve managed P&L. Instead, translate this into WIFT by stating that you increased profitability by 5% over the three years you managed P&L responsibility. For non-management candidates, you can use similar tactics to show you decreased office expense by 10% over 3 years by initiating a vendor review program, or that you helped improve revenue by 20% by developing a sales opportunity tracking system for your boss.
By the way, about that President’s award …
Your next employer doesn’t care about the recognition, trophy, trip, plaque or bonus you received (WIFM).
They will care about what you did to receive that award – what value did you drive for your past employers (WIFT), causing them to give you that recognition.
Candidates – please share: What other examples of WIFT can you think of?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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