Education Career Services

March 13, 2009

Paper equals perception, what message does your résumé portray?

Many years ago, while at graduate school, one of my professors stated “presentation is more important than the package.” Being young and naïve, I thought little of the lecture or the consequence of ignoring her words of wisdom. Flashing forward, the past ten years I have had the pleasure of developing faculty and instructing graduating students in career management.  Not sure what has proven to be more difficult, developing, teaching, or overseeing.


One ingredient remains a constant in all three roles; the manner in which a document is written determines believability.  More than ever, this concept of believability includes your employment portfolio, especially with unemployment closing in on 9%.


This, in turn guides me to what Jay Block (PRWA) makes clear: in terms of credibility, what we SEE accounts for 93% of believability and what we SAY accounts for 7% of believability. Hmm, take this one step further and introduce that concept into our career marketing material. After all, I can tell you anything but if words are all I have, what do I truly offer? Is this making sense yet? On the first day of class I typically introduce myself and inform the students I was a star basketball player in college and almost made it to the pros. At this time all but the extremely green students begin laughing at the absurdity (at my height and weight, I expect a chuckle or two).


If I say so, it must be true, I explain once student postures return to normal. When it comes to marketing, words truly are only words. So, how does one express value to an employer if it is not what is being said?


What I see must be the logical choice. In the world of perception, what does the element of sight “see” on the page?


Tell you what, as this is getting rather complicated, let’s take a breather for a day or so.  I will go on to the true meaning of this submission Monday.  In the meantime, think about the element of “sight” when it comes to pen and paper.  How does one instill upon a reader the qualities being offered? 


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

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