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Tell Employers What They Want to Hear

Finding a job can be a lot like running for public office ... without the lying, pandering or attack ads, that is.

To succeed in both arenas, you need to tell people what they want to hear, then convince them you're the one who can deliver as promised.

When it comes to telling employers what they want to hear, you can never go wrong if you emphasize "You-ability" in everything you do.

I've written before about Elmer Wheeler and the concept of "You-ability" he put forth in his 1937 book, "Tested Sentences That Sell."

Wheeler tested 105,000 word combinations on 19 million people over 10 years, to find the phrases that worked best in retail and door-to-door selling. (Know this: If it's possible to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door during the Depression, it's be possible to sell an employer on hiring you today.)

One of Wheeler's findings, on page 208, will help you find a job faster.

It's this: "Don't think so much about what you want to say as about what the prospect wants to hear -- then the response you get will more often be the one you are aiming for."

The prospect in this case is the employer, of course. And Wheeler's advice is right on target. Because, if you think first -- before opening your mouth -- about what an employer wants to hear, the words you need to say will become obvious.

Let's look at how this thinking will affect your resumes, cover letters and job interviewing ...

Resume example -- instead of writing this sort of piffle:

Ability to set realistic goals with staff, supervise and evaluate performance, build cohesion and maintain motivation while managing projects.

... you should write this, which is what employers want to hear, because it's chock full of specific, convincing detail:

Proven project management skills. Experienced leading teams of up to 27 employees, with perfect record of managing 88 projects to on-time, on-budget completion since 2003.

Cover letter example -- instead of writing rubbish like this:

Dear Sir or Madam,

In today's market, employers are seeking the most qualified candidate to bridge the gap between what is needed and what it takes to get the job done. My resume reflects experience and diversity, including customer service skills in diversified industries that have permitted me ...

... write something with meat on it, like this:

Dear Mr. Jones,

I'm applying for a job where my customer service skills will increase profits for you. Since 1999, I've saved an average of 14% -- up to $37,500 per year -- for three companies, by enhancing their customer service departments.

Please consider the following ...

See the difference?

Now for the interview. When you say what the hiring manager wants to hear, you almost always get a job offer. But how do you know what to say? It's simple. Ask!

You see, in every job interview -- often near the end -- the hiring authority will say: "Do you have any questions?" This is your opening! Ask: "What is the #1 thing you want the person you hire to do in this job?"

This prompts employers to tell you exactly what they want to hear. All you have to do is match your skills and experience to their #1 desire!

Let me illustrate with two examples ...

The hiring manager might say, "We want the person we hire to hit the ground running and put at least 100 leads in our pipeline within 30 days."

Ideally, you answer: "I can do that. In fact, I've done it twice in the last two years. It's mentioned on my resume, but let me tell you in detail how I can do this for you ...."

Or, the hiring manager might say: "We want someone adaptable whom we can train quickly and who will work well with our team."

You could answer: "I can do that. When I completed a six-month internship at ABC Corp. in San Diego, I had to adapt to a new city, master new accounting software and start assisting their client service team in only three days. Here's a letter of recommendation from my supervisor about how well I did that ...."

Of course, for you to perform smoothly in the interview, you must do two things beforehand. First, know yourself and your skills. Second, practice matching your experience to the requirements you think employers will have in mind. (If you're not sure what they want to hear, look hard at the job posting, if you applied in answer to one. Hiring managers put a lot of effort into writing job postings that highlight their top desires in a candidate.)

When you do emphasize "You-ability" in your resumes, cover letters and job interviews, you will almost certainly get hired faster for the job you really want.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes and the creator of GetHiredNow.TV. Since 1996, he has provided job search assistance to nearly 10,000 people. Author of "51 Ways to Find a Job Fast -- Guaranteed," Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and others. His latest product is,The Instant Job Search System

copyright (c) 2007 by Kevin Donlin