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“What Do I Want?” Ask THIS Question Instead

by Stacy Pursell, The VET Recruiter®

As an experienced Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter for more than 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of resumes. Thousands upon thousands of resumes. As a result, I’ve seen just about everything when it comes to resumes.

I saw something on a resume recently that I’d like to address. That’s because I believe it to be a bit misguided. In other words, it set the wrong tone for the resume.

The resume started with a question. That question was, “What do I want?”

That question sends the wrong message to whoever is reading the resume. It sends the wrong message to the hiring manager, and if you’re working with a recruiter, it sends the wrong message to them, as well.

A theme with three central elements

I must preface this article by stating that I’ve discussed this theme and these elements before in previous articles and blog posts. However, they merit repeating. That’s because they can have a direct impact on whether or not you’re able to grow your career within the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession.

The first element of the theme is that of motivation. There are many rules associated with human nature, and here is one of them: people do what they are motivated to do. This rule applies to yourself and also everyone with whom you come into contact. Just about everything that happens does so because someone is motivated to make it happen.

The second element is that of value, especially as it pertains to the employment marketplace. The degree to which you’re a viable candidate depends upon the amount of value that you can provide to a potential new employer. In fact, your worth as employee with your present employer boils down to the amount of value that you currently provide. (I hope that you’re providing a LOT of value.)

The third element deals with what is called the “Principle of Reciprocity.”This means when someone gives you something, you feel compelled to give them something in return. Conversely, when you first give something to someone else, they will feel compelled to give something to you in return.

So I will now view the beginning of this resume through the lens of these three elements.

The prize: a new employment opportunity

How motivated will a hiring manager be to give you what you want? At the beginning of reading your resume, they will not be motivated at all. How could they be? They don’t even know anything about you yet. All they know is that they have a job opening to fill, and they want to fill it with the best candidate possible. That is their primary motivation, and nothing else is close. (Blindly meeting your needs is not even within shouting distance.)

The first step is NOT telling the hiring manager (or recruiter) what you want. The first step is articulating the value that you could provide to a new employer. The hiring manager is not motivated by what you want. They’re motivated by what you have. Specifically, they’re motivated by the talent, skills, and experience that you possess. That’s because your talent, skills, and experience constitute the value that you could conceivably provide if the organization hires you.

I know that the “Principle of Reciprocity” works. That’s why I mention it so often. If you want to get what you want, then you must give other people what they want. In this case, it means giving the hiring manager what they want. And what do they want? They want value! They want your value, and if you have enough value, then they will be motivated by that value. What will they be motivated to do?

If they believe that you have enough value to meet their hiring need, then they will give you what you want in a new employment opportunity.

“What do I offer?”

So what adjustments do we need to make with the beginning of this resume? We need to make a subtle change, really, but it’s a huge change in terms of the impact it will make with whoever is reading the resume. Don’t begin with “What do I want?” Instead, start with this question instead:

“What do I offer?”

By doing this, you shift the focus from what you want to what the other person wants. And as we’ve pointed out, when you focus on what other people want, you stand a better chance of getting what YOU want.

Now, I understand that while this is a subtle shift, it’s not always the easiest one to make. After all, you’re you . . . which means you’re hard-wired to think about yourself first. You naturally tend to contemplate the things that you want and need. However, to set yourself up for more success in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession, you also need to contemplate the things that employers want and need.

And yes, I fully understand that we’re in a candidates’ job market. That means there are more job openings and more opportunities than qualified candidates to fill them. But that is not an excuse to approach employers in a “you-centric” fashion. Even if a hiring manage is desperate for qualified candidates, you will not impress them with such an approach. Remember that hiring managers would rather hire no one than make a bad hire. Although leaving a position open can be costly, making a bad hire is even more costly.

As you might have already realized, there is a fourth element that’s woven throughout this discussion. That element is personal branding.

When you interact with a hiring manager (or recruiter), including with your resume, you need to brand yourself the right way. Brand yourself as someone who understands what motivates others. Brand yourself as someone who solves problems and provides value. And brand yourself as someone who gives first before asking for something.

When you’re able to do that, you won’t even have to ask, “What do I want?” Because other people will be asking you what you want instead.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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