Most people have no problem talking extensively about their work, often in detail far exceeding their audience’s interest. It’s natural for our experiences and responsibilities to seem far more interesting to us than they do to others.
This propensity to overshare can become dangerous when fitting one’s entire professional profile onto a single-page resume. Many jobseekers assume they should squeeze as many details, action verbs, and power phrases into their self-presentation as possible.
This is where applying with empathy comes into play. A hiring manager with 250 resumes to review just isn’t that interested in detailed lists of your many duties. The best way to stand out is by concisely showing your unique value and credibility.
Start your resume by linking your experiences and qualifications to those listed in the job description. A detail-dense resume only makes it harder for hiring managers to find those important links. Even worse, the utility of less relevant information quickly turns from diminishing returns into negative returns as hiring managers become more likely to skip a dense resume.
Instead of adding density with claims of self-excellence and unsubstantiated skills, why not stand out and establish credibility by letting others do the bragging for you? With your free SafeHire profile, you can begin gathering compelling, validated testimonials from educators & employers. Just link your SafeHire URL in your resume’s contact info section to quickly catch hiring managers’ attention and start landing quality interviews.
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Like it or not, selling is non-optional. When you apply for a job, you sell your services to a customer (the hiring manager). Hiring you is an incredibly important (and expensive) decision for the customer. Fortunately, you happen to be the world’s foremost expert on your services.
This isn’t cold sales. An open job means there is a recognized problem requiring a solution. It’s your responsibility to fully understand the employer’s need in order to present yourself as the perfect solution. You likely even have a job description to work with.
Start by matching your services and capabilities to the job description; the employer shouldn’t have to think very hard to see how you as the perfect fit.
Next, do something to grab the employer’s attention. When you and I shop for a product or service, we may look at 3-5 options. Compare that to the average job opening, wherein a hiring manager is likely to receive around 250 competing applications. The right qualifications and credentials aren't enough. You have to set yourself apart from the competition.
Many applicants mistakenly attempt to stand out visually with something like a unique resume format, which only adds hassle for the hiring manager. The key is to differentiate yourself in a way that adds value or eliminates hassle.
What do you look for when making important purchasing decisions? My wife and I always use Google reviews before eating at a restaurant and Rotten Tomatoes before watching a movie.
Would you make an expensive purchase from a company that wasn’t eager to share customer testimonials? Would you buy an expensive product with bold claims but that didn’t make evidence readily available for customers? Probably not.
As customers, we expect credible sellers to eagerly provide evidence, not just claims. Hiring managers know that most resumes contain just as many embellishments as online dating profiles, making credible candidates the best candidates.
You can become the most credible candidate by applying with validated written/video testimonials from your past employers and educators. If you have achievements to be proud of, you can do better than hoping potential employers will take your resume claims on faith. With your SafeHire profile, you can easily provide employers with upfront, compelling testimonials and evidence of your achievements. Simply link your custom SafeHire URL in the contact information section of your resume.
Best of all, you can get started by creating your free profile today.
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Your application isn’t about you. Your application is about helping a hiring manager quickly decide to move your application forward while simultaneously deleting one-hundred other resumes.
How can you help the hiring manager? Start by putting yourself in their shoes.
Hiring managers have priorities, incentives, fears, and time-constraints. When they first look at an application, they will take a few seconds to determine whether to hit delete or keep reading. Their initial decision depends upon a few questions, such as:
Most applicants fail to reflect on how quickly and directly their application addresses these concerns. This is the power of applying with empathy.
When you set yourself apart by identifying and solving hiring managers’ problems, you dramatically increase your interview chances. If problem-solving is in your nature, show it.
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Do you worry that your ethnicity, country of origin, or name hurt your chances of landing interviews?
The 2004 study, “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” studied how likely resumes with randomly assigned identifiably White and Black-sounding names were to receive callbacks. Black-sounding names received only 50% as many callbacks. Similar research has since shown applicants with Greek, Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese names, or foreign work experience, were 40% less likely to receive callbacks for an interview.
While most large employers now have express diversity goals & incentives, it would be hard not to worry that race or origin may still negatively impact your interview chances. Even worse, you hardly have the option to conceal your race. Handshake reports applicants with a profile picture receive 7x more views than those without, and LinkedIn reports a 14x increase in views with a profile picture. Recruiters are going to know your race.
As a diverse applicant, you can minimize prejudice by intentionally presenting yourself as an individual. Rapid group stereotyping can happen when recruiters are reviewing hundreds of resumes each day. This creates a prime environment for “Type-1 thinking”- Daniel Kahneman’s term for our brains’ fast and bias-prone default state. Seeing each resume as an individual requires sustained, conscious effort from recruiters. Top applicants know to do more than wish for this.
So what does it mean to present yourself as an individual? It means introducing the real you and helping recruiters escape from the monotony of text-only applications. Including a short (30-60 second) video introduction with your resume nails both targets. Recruiters welcome a reprieve from traditional resumes, and 89% say they would watch a video resume.
Psychologists suggest the best way to reduce prejudice is by contact. Acquaintance lessens prejudice, confirmed by meta-analysis on Intergroup Contact Theory. This effect is called “decategorization.”
If you use a top platform like LinkedIn or Handshake, employers are going to see your picture. Applying with a short video pitch allows them to see you as an individual, not a member of a group. Even better, it gives them the chance to connect with you as a human, which they can’t do with the other resumes.
We make creating your short video pitch easy. After creating your SafeHire profile, just customize the script we provide and read it like a teleprompter. Wherever you apply, link your SafeHire URL with your contact info and mention your video intro in your resume’s summary statement.
Most importantly, show the real you.
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So, you’ve heard video resumes are all the rage. Employers want them, and everything eventually moves over to video-based platforms. You may as well be ahead of the curve.
A video resume can help you display strengths that don’t show on a traditional resume, such as your enthusiasm, professionalism, and communication skills.
89% of recruiters say they would watch a video resume, compared to the mere 6 seconds they spend on the average resume. Your video resume earns you additional attention, while allowing you to break the monotony for recruiters and connect as a human.
You are more than your resume. It’s up to you to show them.
When the recruiter sees your enthusiasm, smile, and professionalism, it allows them to picture you handing a customer, or just being pleasant to work with. At the end of the day, recruiters want to hire someone who will make a good co-worker. Your video resume allows you to signal that’s you, and there’s strong research backing it up.
The University of Chicago studied how recruiters from Microsoft, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs responded to applicants who submitted a spoken pitch vs. a traditional written pitch.
Applicants with spoken submissions were perceived as over 50% higher in intellect, general impression (likability), and likelihood of hiring.
A 40% advantage moves the needle in a big way. Large enough that I have to ask: Why wouldn’t you include a video pitch with your application?
Watch a clip of my interview with Juliana Schroeder, a researcher on the study, below:
Recruiters constantly endure wasted interviews with unenthusiastic candidates. Your video resume is your chance to show you’re excited to get to work and won’t take an interview for granted. They won’t have this assurance from competing applicants, setting you up to win the first job interview.
Recruiters are more likely to hire someone they connect with, and they can’t connect with any of the traditional resumes coming in. When they see your enthusiasm, professionalism, and smile, it’s easy to picture you as an ideal co-worker.
While your video resume grants you additional time, you still need to be considerate. Don’t expect them to watch a 3-minute video. Give them a brief pitch by video, 30 to 45 seconds, in addition to your traditional resume to glance over.
What you say in your video pitch matters, but not as much as how you say it. If you try to memorize and recite your pitch word-for-word, showing passion may be difficult. SafeHire provides a script that you can easily customize, then read off the screen while you’re recording, like a teleprompter. You could also try going script-free, and just use bullet points to guide your video pitch.
In any case, here’s a list to help you create your video resume:
Employers don't receive video applications often. When they do, they notice.
You don't have to be just another resume. A video pitch is your chance to show the real you, and earn a 40% employment advantage.
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Below is our interview with Juliana Schroeder, a behavioral scientist and researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. Juliana's research has examined how recruiters perceive candidates who apply with verbal vs. textual applications. This research found that recruiters perceive candidates who apply with a verbal application to be 40% more likable and worthy of hiring, even if the words are the same as an identical candidate's text-based submission.
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The days of submitting a job application in-person are over, and probably for the best. Jobseekers today can apply for more jobs in less time by submitting their resume around online. This page of text is meant to summarize all an employer should need to know about you before determining whether you’re worth interviewing. This method is so commonplace that its efficacy goes unquestioned by the average jobseeker. Research has shown following the crowd when applying will lead you into making a suboptimal impression.
Your voice is the key to an outstanding first impression, according to research by the University of Chicago’s Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder. They asked recruiters to rate candidates’ qualifications from both written and spoken submissions. The method of testing utilized identical words in written and spoken submissions from different candidates. Their conclusions were dramatic.
Recruiters found candidates with oral submissions to be more thoughtful, intelligent, and rational than candidates with identical written submissions. This is contrary to the understanding most people have of their own impression when communicating. If you’ve ever heard your voice played back, you understand the nearly universal discomfort with one’s own voice.
However, this research shows your voice is the most effective form of communicating your intelligence and humanity. This is likely because we have an easier time attributing mental processing power to verbal statements than textual statements. Verbal statements can also convey conviction and happiness, while textual statements are easy to misunderstand and fail to deliver emotion.
We’ve all heard before that it doesn’t matter so much what you say, as how you say it. It appears to be so.
The takeaway for jobseekers is there is much to gain by applying with more than a resume. Employers will view you as more thoughtful, intelligent, and rational if you include a verbal message with your application. SafeHire enables you to apply anywhere with a personal video introduction, and even video testimonials from past employers/professors. So why not start applying better today?
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Gig-work deserves proud placement on resumes.
I’d argue the gig arena is a customer service meritocracy. For example, if a ride-share driver’s ratings drop below 4.6, they risk deactivation. Poor service also leads to unsustainably poor tips, allowing the strongest to survive.
There are no organizational “free-riders” among workers dependent upon tips and reviews. Gig-workers must be proactive when no one is expecting them to clock-in and value urgency during their shifts. Gig-work is not a labor of last resort; for many skilled workers, it is a transitional income choice while waiting for a job suited to their expertise.
Employers want evidence of skills, not just claims. Your hundreds of reviews allow you to out-compete applicants who merely claim customer service skills on their resume. I don’t know about you, but when if I’m choosing a restaurant, I prefer to see hundreds of 5-star reviews over a website claiming good customer service. Hiring managers feel the same way.
On your free SafeHire profile, use your Portfolio to upload evidence of your gig-work ratings, along with other achievements such as past performance reviews and awards. Just link your SafeHire URL at the top of your resume, in the contact info section.
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An unfortunate reality about the hiring process: Selling is non-optional. Wouldn’t it be better if only merit mattered? Sure, but hiring managers are only human. They can’t help but respond to good marketing and powerful anecdotes (just like you and me).
Establishing your competence is necessary, but entirely insufficient. Your dream job requires out-competing other candidates to win over the hiring manager. If equipped with nothing but self-assurance in your own competence, you’ll find yourself outmaneuvered by competitors who tell beautifully rehearsed stories of accomplishment and service. Hiring managers must buy what you’re selling.
Fortunately, landing the job isn’t “cold” sales. Access to the job description is your opportunity to understand the employer’s needs and present yourself as the perfect solution. This is where many applicants will get it wrong. Selling yourself is about understanding the needs and wants of the buyer (the hiring manager). Buyer-focused selling will give you an edge over candidates who prefer self-focused telling.
To add credibility to your claims, consider using testimonies from compelling sources, such as past supervisors and educators. Buyers prefer customer reviews over a salesperson’s claims. Hiring managers are the same way, but they don’t have the time to call and verify all (or any) applicants’ past employers. Providing letters of recommendation upfront can help you stand out as the most credible candidate.
As buyers, we expect credible sellers to provide evidence, not just claims. With resumes as likely to contain embellishments as dating profiles, hiring managers crave evidence. You can stand out and problem-solve by sharing evidence of your achievements, such as strong performance reviews, awards, and credentials.
Selling yourself begins and ends with empathy. Match yourself to the employer’s needs, as expressed in the job description. Then, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager by considering how you can add certainty to and reduce hassle from their life.
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While reference checks are the most common assessment technique for executive level hires, many employers are cutting back on reference checks for mid & low-level positions. The time-intensive nature of reference checks doesn’t mesh well with positions that receive more applications, experience higher turnover, and require faster hiring.
Time-consumption isn’t the only problem though. Everyone can get a positive reference from someone, and hiring managers know applicants won’t list references who could say something negative. The question isn’t whether someone can get a positive reference, but rather whom they can get a positive reference from. References from friends, family, or unverifiable sources are a waste of time, but references from past employers speak volumes. Who better to speak to the applicant’s competency, work ethic, and character?
Some companies save time by outsourcing their reference checks to third-parties. The tradeoff is third-parties make it easy for applicants to provide themselves references by creating new email addresses and using a Starbucks IP address or VPN. This can hurt more than it helps.
In sum, employers face two key problems: Time consumption and low-quality sources. At the same time, applicants and reference-providers have their own problems.
High quality references are normally busy and can’t be expected to provide multiple thoughtful references for the same person. This problem is further exaggerated when automated reference checks are used earlier in the hiring process.
Having reference checks at the end makes sense for minimizing time-sink and respecting references’ time, but it also means top performing applicants will slip through the cracks. The best evidence of a worker’s future work ethic and character is the experience of the past employer, and it’s a shame for applicants to have to first make it through 3 interviews before those experiences matter. The best applicants are eager to share the experiences of their past employers.
These are the problems SafeHire aims to resolve. SafeHire only accepts references from validated professional email addresses, which are published along with their reference. Reference-providers must explicitly affirm that they were the jobseeker’s workplace superior, HR officer, or professor. When top applicants use SafeHire, employers save time with upfront, validated references from past employers and reference-providers can provide just one lasting, quality reference. Most importantly, applicants who are eager to share the experiences of their past employers can stand out by linking their SafeHire profile on their resume.
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