Are You a Buyable Candidate?

If you went to your local Honda dealership today and the salesman were to show you two brand new red Accord coupes  that cost $20,000 (coincidentally, you have $20,000 to spend) which car would you choose to buy based on the descriptions below?

Red Honda Accord CoupeHe tells you that CAR A has four seats, four tires, and a steering wheel. It might have more features/benefits, but he doesn’t mention them.

The salesman then tells you that CAR B has the features of  CAR A plus leather, a twelve speaker stereo system, six airbags, adaptive cruise control, and navigation system.

For the same price it’s an easy decision, right?

To put it in job-search terms, there are two types of candidates out there that recruiters and hiring managers see every day.

The first type of candidate (the CAR A candidate) fills their résumés with job description items and doesn’t differentiate themselves from the crowd. These candidates typically don’t get very many interviews and the ones they do get they spend talking about (you guessed it) job description items which nets zero offers. 

These candidates typically have much more to offer, but just like with CAR A the salesman (in this case YOU) doesn’t spell it out.

The second type of candidate (the CAR B candidate) fills their résumés with achievements, accomplishments, results, percentages, and dollar amounts that differentiate them from the crowd. They do get interviews when they do the right things (network, network, network) and spend their time in their interviews talking about (you guessed it) how their past success predicts their future success.

Which candidate would you hire? Which of these candidates are you?

Good luck and good hunting!


9 responses to “Are You a Buyable Candidate?

  1. You listed features, but also need to show the benefit of each to the customer. Yes, it has a navigation system, which is a feature. The benefit to the customer is to easily find strange destinations with greater safety, convenience and travel time. Is that the kind of luxury you would like in your next car?

    The same comes with the resume, cover letter or interview. Great that you have X, Y, and Z, but how will that benefit the employer. Help paint the mental picture for them so they can see you in the role being successful.

    • Great point Rick!! You can have all of the features in the world but if you don’t show how it will benefit the employer it still might not have an impact. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

  2. Very true about the $, #’s, results, etc. You gave me that helpful advice this past summer, and I would say it worked out pretty nice for me! The combination of networking and my resume (not a job description- task statement oriented one, but a results, focus on the #’s one) setting me apart is what got me in the door.

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  5. Barbara King

    This is a terrific example of the necessity of a results based resume. Companies have always wanted to know what you can do for them but in this economy it is imperative that a candidate shows what sets them a part frm the other candidates. I am happy to know what your core skills are but more importantly I want to know how you have put them to use in the past and what the results were. Additionally how that translates to my organization. Resumes often show job responsibilities and not what was done within those responsibilities……C-A-R ( cause, action, results ) These are the resumes that grap my attention.

    • How specific do the examples have to be? My jobs don’t give me many tasks to do. What would be a good example of using my core skills and where would i put it on my resume?

  6. This is really informative and I’m going to implement some of the suggestions into my CV. Thanks for giving the C-A-R too!

    I’ve never done anything which can be quanfitied in terms of money or percentages so can only look at achievements, accomplishments and results. For me the trick is identifying them as I’m used to thinking about what my job role was, not what it achieved. Luckily I do already put down how my skills match what they are looking for, on that long wish list of essential and desired skills!


    (PS Shouldn’t “A Recruiters Guide to the Universe” have an apostrophe? “Recruiter’s”

  7. I was a living example of this discussion. My original resume was that of 75% description and 25% achievement. My new resume is 75% achievement and 25% description. In just a few days with my new resume I’ve scheduled 2 interviews. This type of resume holds especially true for sales people. Great example….

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