I have to hire many people to accomplish what I do. Naturally, I want good, clean, straight-forward resumes. I want to see what the applicant has done and, by extension, what he or she might be able to do for me. From my perspective, it’s all about what I need in order to grow my business.
Most applicants look at it from the other perspective: what will the application and interview process do for them? Too often, it seems to me, they look at the resume, the application, and the cover letter as the end of the process. Well, for them – and for me – it is only the beginning. If you don’t look at it in the same way, then it will be the end.
And the most important item that never shows up is confidence. It’s not educational experience; not work experience; not references. Most of the people who apply for work have those things already in place. What they often fail to show me on paper or in the interview is the confidence they have in themselves to get the job, do the job and grow in the job.
If you bring your confidence and your faith in yourself, most employers will see exactly what they are seeking in you. Then, all the weaknesses and shortcomings on your resume will disappear. Lack of experience, mediocre grades in school, youth – all the things that you think of as disadvantages – will be diminished.
Be confident on Paper
The first place you can demonstrate confidence is in a cover letter. I’m sure you’ve heard that the cover letter tells the employer those important things that a resume can’t communicate. Well, the most important is your belief in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should I believe that you’re the one for the job I have in mind?
So, when you “fill in the gaps” in your resume, be sure that you explain why you are sure that you can do this job; even more importantly, that you are the right person for this job. Tell me how experiences that don’t show up on the resume help you have confidence in yourself. Some life experiences that show personal confidence and a health self-esteem are:
Membership or leadership in scouting or youth groups
Success on sports teams
Accomplishment of a personal goal, such as running a marathon, or building a soapbox racer.
Playing a musical instrument (the long years of practice and learning only come to those who believe in themselves).
These are things that may never show up on a resume, but which tell me something about your belief in yourself; your discipline, your faith in your own future. Those are the kinds of people any employer should be seeking.
And don’t be afraid to say it clearly: “I believe that I am the right person for this position, and I look forward to the opportunity to prove it to you.”
Be Confident in Person
Whether you’re on the phone or in a face-to-face meeting, be confident that you are the one. Before a phone or personal interview, look into a mirror and tell yourself why you believe you will succeed in the interview; why you will get the job; why you will prove to everyone that your are the right choice for this position. In a way, you are your own coach, giving yourself a great pep talk before the game.
But it is not a game; the interview is serious business. That’s why you must have good reasons to support your belief in yourself. “I want,” “I really need,” and “I’ve been rejected so many times,” are not the reasons you’re looking for, and they are not the reasons that will persuade an employer. Remember, the person who is hiring has needs, too; the needs for a competent, reliable, honest, dedicated worker who believes in his or her ability to do the job, and to be a part of the team.
So convince yourself of your worth and your ability. Be confident on paper and in person. Believe in yourself, and let your self-confidence come through in the way you sit, the way you answer questions, and in the kinds of questions you ask. Show that you’re the one who is looking forward to joining this organization.
And believe it; don’t try to fake it. If you don’t have the confidence you need, then go out and get it. Get more education; get wider experience by volunteering or taking on extra jobs; get involved in church or community activities to test your ability to work with others and get the interpersonal experience you need.
But, more than anything else believe in you. If you do, your confidence will come through in every aspect of your writing and speaking. You will be showing me and any other employer that you are the one.
Dewitt Shotts is the Founder of Marketing Solutions, Inc. which serves the proprietary school industry as a full service company for television, media buying, direct mail and hosts the site College & Career Source.