Darcy Paterson Blog Six resume tactics to get more interviews

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Six resume tactics to get more interviews

By on December 3rd, 2020

I’ve been on the job hunt in the past. It’s a tough and lonely slog.

You send out resume after resume and hear nothing back. Self-doubt creeps in. To top it off, you have a steady stream of people giving you advice like, “have you tried applying at company X? I heard they’re hiring.” Of course, you have. Maybe even more than once.

It’s with this knowledge that I carefully want to give you some advice. If you’re not getting interviews, consider using these six tactics of persuasion on your resume.

Now, I’m not the guy who invented these tactics but I’ve used them to sell everything from cars to, well, myself (in the best sense of the word). The six tactics are:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment/consistency
  3. Social proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity

The guy who unearthed these tactics through his 30 years of research is Robert Cialdini. His book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is on the reading list of many successful people like Charlie Munger. They’re easy to understand so let’s go through them.

Reciprocity

Reciprocity is the idea of giving something to get something in return. You see this practiced when you go to a grocery store like Costco and they give you free samples.

On your resume you could use the introduction section to say something like, “I’m [your name] and here’s a tip to help your business.” If you’re applying to be a baker, then follow with a helpful tip like how to make perfect bread dough every time.

Commitment/consistency

Commitment/consistency is the idea that by getting someone to agree to something small it will make it easier later when the ask is larger. In studies, people who were asked if they would vote the day before an election were more likely to follow through than those who were not asked.

In your resume, this can be achieved by asking the reader if they’d be willing to read on. Again, put this in the introduction. It sounds like, “I started 10 years ago kneading bread as a baker’s assistant. Since then I’ve worked as a baker at company X and company Y. If you’re willing to read on, I’ll tell you more about how my experience can benefit your company.”

They’ll likely agree to this small ask. Then later when you ask for a face-to-face interview to further explain how you’ll benefit the company, they’ve already done it once, so why not do it again?

Social proof

Social proof is the idea that if someone else has approved of a person, place or thing then it’s easier for another person to as well. You see this on e-commerce sites like Amazon where reviews are available to users. Seeing the opinions of others can pave the way to getting someone to buy a product.

On your resume, you could include a quote from a past employer saying, “[your-name] was an excellent employee. Their expertise and hard work provided great benefit to our company.”

Authority

Authority is the simple idea that its easy to trust someone who is or has authority in some particular area of expertise. For example, if someone has a question about physics then Neil deGrasse Tyson is going to be someone they could trust to get a good answer. For your resume, this is where your awards, certifications and educational achievements demonstrate your authority.

Another way to demonstrate authority is to write for a publication in your industry. The internet has lots of websites that cater to niches and they’re always looking for content. Afterwards, include a section in your resume where you can put links to articles you’ve written.

Likability

Likability is the idea that if someone or something is likable then the greater their ability to persuade. In action it looks like having something in common with someone.

For your resume, consider who is going to be reading it. If you know something about their personal interests, share it in your cover letter. For example, if the H.R. manager likes snowboarding, drop a comment in about how winter is your favourite time of year because you get to hit the slopes.

Scarcity

The last idea is scarcity. This is where people tend to value things that are in short supply. That’s why you’ll see ads with statements like, “Limited Time Offer” in their headline. It triggers appeal.

For your resume, this is where you can take advantage of the fact that there are thousands of resumes just… like… yours. Try breathing some life into it by giving it an original design and writing it in a tone of voice that is personal and yours alone. You’re a unique individual, present yourself as one.


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