When I write a resume and cover letter for a client, I make sure that I know what the client’s career goal is, so that my choice of words reflects that this client fits in. For example, if an operations manager is changing from the private sector to executive leadership in the not-for profit sector, my choice of language needs to show that she not only has the skills for that position, but equally as importantly, that she fits into the not-for-profit culture.
This leads us to one of the many secrets of career success: fit. It is vital that you ensure that there is a good “fit” between you and your employer. Taking charge of this piece is akin to your “hiring the right employer.” Think about it — rather than applying willy-nilly and everywhere, you exert your right to choose, and apply only to those companies whose corporate culture suits you; you send your resume only to those companies with ethics and values similar to yours.
Infusing self-marketing tools, the resume and cover, with language that communicates not only the skills that you have and the value you offer, but also your personality, style of work, focus, and so on, ensures that even if you apply to companies that are actually not a good fit, they will likely skip over your resume.
Don’t panic — this is a good thing! If your resume communicates a serious hard working supervisor, but their culture is a fun-loving and joking one, they’ll not call you for an interview. In this case, resume failure is a success. If your resume reveals that you are a highly ethical financial manager, and the company expects their staff to cut corners, resume failure is success. And if the company is a stodgy, dedicated-to-the-old-style human resource management, and you are a forward-thinking change agent, resume failure= success.