Here’s a simple piece of career advice that can put any employee on the fast track to success: make your boss’s job as easy as possible. Don’t just tackle your own work—tackle hers as well. This simple exercise can bring down an avalanche of promotions, praise, and employee-of-the-month awards. And as it turns out, this philosophy actually begins before you land your job in the first place.
Your potential boss has a task on her to-do list: filling this position. So take the wheel and help her knock out this chore so she can get on with the rest of her day. Start by answering these five questions as you create your resume.
1. What does this position require?
What are the daily tasks that you’ll need to complete in this role, and what kinds of traits will an ideal employee successful have at this job? Will this ideal employee be a strong leader? An obedient follower? An independent worker? A team player? Someone who can be trusted with specific types of dangerous machinery? Someone who knows how to charm reluctant clients? Your “boss” will be looking for signs of these traits. Provide them!
2. Why is this position hard to staff?
Think carefully. Why does your boss dread this chore? Why is she clearing her schedule for the week so she can search for the perfect candidate the way she would search for a needle in a haystack? “Hard workers” may be easy to find. Her line of hard working applicants may wind out the door. But what about the line for “XTML programmers who happen to have food service experience and who also happen to speak fluent French?” There aren’t very many people standing in this line at all…except for you. Help her find you, the rare unicorn, and you’ll make her very happy.
3. How will she be using this pair of hands?
What is the larger project that you’ll be contributing to if you step into this role? Your boss may need a widget stamp operator, but why? How will a great widget stamper round out the larger picture and contribute to broader company goals? If you understand how this piece fits in with the other pieces that make up this business model, say so! Brag about this. Not every applicant understands the pressure she’s facing the way you do.
4. Where can she find the resume information she needs?
Every candidate will have a degree of some type. Every candidate will be a hard worker. And it’s safe to assume that most candidates will have the minimum requirements specifically requested in the post (a local address, five years of experience, etc.). So your reviewer will be skimming through all of this until she gets to the good stuff: the information that sets each candidate in the stack apart from the others. Help her find this information in your case by presenting clear subheadings and beautifully formatted sections. Draw her eye directly where it needs to go. She’ll appreciate this.