If you’re like most people, you prepare a resume specifically tailored to the position you’re applying for. You delete irrelevant accomplishments and flesh out what’s relevant. You might even spend thousands of dollars for certifications. That’s what we’ve all been taught to do.
Today, relevant skills are a dime a dozen. Demonstrating potential, not skill, is how you’re going to land your dream job. By standing out through your resume’s content and design, you’ll have a better chance of landing your dream job.
Potential is the highest skill
In a Harvard Business Review article, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz shares how he spent 30 years tracking executives and studying their performance, realizing potential is the number one predictor of success. He defines potential as “the ability to adapt to and grow into increasingly complex roles and environments.”
To demonstrate the power of potential to predict success, he shares two different experiences.
Fernández-Aráoz was in charge of hiring a new CEO for an electronics store looking to expand. With the help of the board and former CEO, he pinpointed the skills to look for in candidates. He hired someone with perfect credentials who exceeded their standards. This person could not keep up with rapid changes in the market and had to be let go.
Next, he shares his experience hiring a project manager for a small brewery in Latin America. He hired an old contact of his with no experience in retail, marketing, or sales – all key responsibilities of the job. He just knew he would be the right fit. The man received rapid promotions and helped transform the business from family-owned to a highly respected conglomerate.
Employers want to know you’re like that project manager.
Use technology to make your potential stand out
Potential can be seen in the content, design, and format of your resume. Here’s how to make it visible:
- Show – don’t tell. Saying you have potential isn’t enough; you’ve got to show it. Paint the picture of your flexibility and growth. Do it with words and your design.
Personally, the last time I updated my resume, I added a section below each of my former jobs with the headline, “What I learned from this job,” and I didn’t hold back my shortcomings. I shared lessons in teamwork, adaptation, and how being flexible caused a personal breakthrough. Adding this section led to discussions with hiring managers as if I was their peer and not just a job candidate.
- Create a one page infographic resume. Infographics condense large amounts of information into images and text, allowing essential data to be absorbed quickly.While an infographic resume is a way to show your creativity, the main goal should be to engage the reader and quickly tell your story. To get started, you don’t need to be a graphic designer. You can start with a professional template and customize it.
- Point out new skills you’ve had to learn on the fly. Did you cover for the marketing manager for a week and run the team without any prior management experience? Did you spend your first three months on the job learning a new program to catch up with the rest of the team?These are important points to make. If your boss gave you time to develop the skills necessary to fulfill your job duties, that’s proof of your potential.
- Think like an employer and note what’s important to them. Do you come up with solutions without being asked? Do you see problems as opportunities? Understand that finding solutions might be old hat to you, but it highlights your leadership potential.According to Forbes, “A leader must never view a problem as a distraction, but rather as a strategic enabler for continuous improvement and opportunities previously unseen.” This is the epitome of potential.
Employers want to know that you’re the one who will evolve, adapt, and grow into complex roles with the company. You can do this with a resume that stands out for all the right reasons.