How Your Resume Can “Make You A Star!”

What the book: “Competency-Based Resumes: How To Get Your Resume To The Top Of The Pile,” Can Teach You.

Competency-based resumes do something really well. What they do really well is, they focus on performance and what are the most essential characteristics and tasks involved in successful performance, at a particular job.

A competency based resume sets one up for a successful career because it also is focused immediately on the employers needs, first. In the job search and its various stages, one has solid knowledge and strong understanding of the specific qualifications for best performance of the job. From the resume, to the interview, to the development of their career, the client can be guided by, and, live up to, a  job that blossoms in front of them. In a chosen career they will excel in the future, because they know it and all its intricacies, and know it well. This is the gist of Robin Kessler and Linda A. Strasburg’s book called: “Competency-Based Resumes: How to Bring Your Resume to the Top of The  Pile.”  What is interesting about this book  is that because of its focus on competencies and capabilities, as well as on the employer, one gets a picture of an approach to a changing job world. The job seeker has a clear, yet specific image of all the job entails. Keywords, appropriate language, and what this job really takes, as well as, the employers needs, are understood wholly by the developers.

We will consider if this approach reveals a holistic worldview, and, method for considering a workplace. The book describes the change from the industrial age to an information age as a basis for the excitement around competency-based approaches to the job search. In order to better present ourselves we must  get in touch with the information age culture that is involved in career searches and career development processes. They claim that job search tools have changed. Competency-based situations that define jobs, training, and its method of selection and promotion of employees, are the wave of the future. “An individual competency is a written description of measurable work habits and personal skills, used to achieve  work objectives.” Many organizations develop core competency lists and include the most relevant ones in the list, developed for groups and individual positions. Organizations are trying to hire candidates to specifically build the competencies needed for the organization. Core competencies and core competency focus can improve a job search and resume, yet, this approach should be taken with a grain of salt and the consequences considered. Core competencies help focus, are powerful and concise, yet alone they do not create a holistic search system where values, mission and vision are essential.

The good things about core competencies is that when we look for core competencies and core competency groups, we are becoming more productive by using information to better our work, and workplace. Competency lists and data can help us grow professionally. The authors liken this to a detective finding clues.  These clues help the person to get noticed because, the searcher has found the treasure, what the job involves and what it is really all about.

In this age this is important because different skills and professions can keep changing, or be too ambiguous, and, we need these tools to be more efficient and concentrate on productivity in the workplace. According to the authors we must become more aware of the competition, be smarter, and attentive to changes.  Competencies help people at their jobs. Job scope and essential definitions, help people to succeed and overcome such a changing work world.

Consider however, that identifying and satisfying employers and their needs first, causes our goals to become muddled. Competency-based resumes pick up on a competitive and changing job world, and, create situations where what we value might be left out of life altogether. Competencies can help you manage your career but it won’t help you necessarily in managing your life.

This book explains how a searcher needs to know what competencies they need to strengthen their job match, and strengthening competency gaps. The edge they will have is focus on the evidence employers need, and fulfilling the competencies. With this knowledge they can promote themselves, and display their personal brand. Here, individual  uniqueness is regarded well. The person is not left out completely.  The competency-based approach is a fresh approach, and helpful in that, the number of skills needed does not get out of hand. “Showing your best side,” is what employers need. One has to remember to still be their whole selves, and maintain their culture and relationships, while, honing in on what the job is and what it encompasses, for one to become proficient at it. Knowledge, skills and attitudes that affect a part of the job can be measured against standards, and, be improved by training and development.

On the resume make it easier for the employers to see your skills, business goals, increased profit, or saving of time or money. The focus is on the company’s needs. Prioritize competencies so that you know what is most important about the job.  Develop accomplishment statements for as many of the competencies as you can and what you have done that demonstrates them. This presents you better to employers and gives you a better fit because you match their core competencies, values, and mission.  Yes, one should never forget to put these latter things first. Is it still all about the profits, the job, and skill set, and no longer about what really matters in life relationships?  It strikes me that relationships are pushed to the background and only influence, and, development take precedence. What about what we most hold dear, the forming and maintaining of relationships with one another. The competency based format leaves something to be desired, who we are behind the job mask, what do we stand for, what really guides us, what about emotion, humanity, sentiment? There are many dimensions of a person and their ways of life. What about the environment we want in and out of the job world?  Let’s cut our losses and preserve the dimensions of people; a striving for the extraordinary and refusing to put up for sale what is essential to life, simply put, that life is never up for sale.

In your summaries, the authors feel you should give the readers a good first impression. If using competency-based functional format use 3-6 accomplishments in this heading. Prioritize competencies in your summary section. Emphasize strengths that match key competencies and highlight how you meet the most critical competencies for the position. Like a detective, do the research, examine the evidence, provide evidence strong enough to convict the suspect. Give specific competencies in areas needed by the employer. For every competency you have you should know and be able to communicate, how it will achieve results that matter to the company.

Use the PAR system. Describe the situation, action you took to change it or improve it, and, the result or outcome. Includes specific details when writing accomplishment statements. Don’t be too general or vague. Make it credible, go into details that prove the experience in a particular area. Don’t overdo it will details, though. Provide evidence that you have accomplished your claims. Then go back, review and polish your statements. Say as much as you can in few words, and, be specific, so the employer is clear about what you have done.

Make sure each word adds something to the content. Keep it brief and to the point. What did I do? What problem was solved? How did I resolve a situation? How did it benefit the organization?  Write as many as you can for each competency. Then add grammar, punctuation and tone. Rank competencies in order. Is the style of the company’s website formal?  Energetic?  Highly technical?  Try to be consistent in styles.

How your resume looks matters. This book shows what all the resume styles are in a competency-based resume.  They consider the employers needs first. As you gain more experience you will become an even better match for the organization.  As mentioned earlier, the authors are very big on always reviewing and polishing  the resumes. Review  resumes from the employers point of view. Look at your skills, competencies and other attributes from many different points of view and only leave in what is essential. Show them you are the kind of person they want to hire.  You are marketing your image as well so show what is unique about your background and experience. Have stories that match the competencies you need to demonstrate. Know well the competencies you have a practice presenting them they are second nature to you. Always be developing competencies, record and review them periodically.

A resume should show balance between who you are and what you do, and what  a person will do for the employer.  It is less inclined toward personality and what the person brings uniquely to the table. This is both its glory and its downfall. The authors of the book do achieve much in this book, and they show a keen sense of drive toward results for the employer, they just leave some of the humanity out of the equation.

Results and profits ca n make people too near-sighted.  This is where the job search can become too overly competitive and focused only on needed results. It puts the people involved, second. Where are the values in that?  This resume style needs to be combined with other  traditional kinds because it can make the employee and employer self-centred, carbon copy types if it doesn’t include an inclusive work culture.

Competency-based resumes alone focus too much on knowledge, skills and abilities than on the characteristics of the person and the kind of workplace. I’ve asked many questions in this blog and I tried to answer some of them. Most organizations are not solely out for profit, but in the work world, seekers really need to be careful, to know themselves, their beliefs, and, their priorities.

A competency-based approach should remain merely an approach, not a narrow guide. If you can answer these questions, you are on your way toward creating a wonderfully diverse and smooth running workplace.



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