Ok, you’ve just spent the last few hours updating your resume and writing a cover letter for your dream job, which you just found out is available. You used the latest resume design from Canva, checked your spelling, and followed our guide How to Write An Irresistible Cover Letter. The i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. But wait, you may be forgetting the most important element – Trust. Trust? Trust is that element that’s going to inspire confidence in the employer that you’re the right candidate for the job.
Trust is at the core of every relational exchange between people – David Amerland
When you send your application to an employer, you’re asking much more than “will you hire me?”. You’re asking for that employer to allow you to contribute to a team of people within the structure of the business. A business is not made up of things, but of people and those people come to work everyday with different life experiences, backgrounds, and motives. For the business to succeed, these relationships will have to co-exist for the common good of the company. That’s a lot to consider when hiring a new employee.
Resumes, cover letters, CV’s, etc., are much more than documents of ink and paper, or digital characters on a screen. They are the first opportunities to make a human connection. That human connection must be one that inspires confidence in the employer or hiring manager that they are making the right choice bringing you into the business. To accomplish this, you need to establish TRUST.
Employers perform a risk-assessment for every application that comes across their desk. They are looking for answers to the question, “is it safe to hire this candidate”? The risks of hiring the wrong person are numerous and these barriers have to be overcome before trust is established. The hiring process is one of the biggest business risks for employers and so the more trust you can establish upfront with your resume and cover letter, the lower the risk you become – and the likelier you are to be invited to an interview.
Risks Employers Take When Hiring A New Employee
- The risk of misinformation. Employers are taking the risk that a job seeker has falsified information. That they have misrepresented themselves in claiming experience and skills they actually do not possess.
- The risk of company culture clash. It is important that new employees fit the company’s values and purpose. If there is a culture clash, it can hurt the cohesiveness of the team, hindering productivity and job satisfaction.
- The risk of time and money. The hiring and training of new employees takes time and costs money. An employer has to determine if the job seeker is worth the effort. Max Messmer, author of Motivating Employees for Dummies, warns that “bad hires are costly, not just for the drain they place on the budget but also in terms of lost moral, productivity, and time.”
Ultimately each and every definition of trust can be boiled down to one specific thing: Confidence. – David Amerland
Not only are employers doing a risk assessment of your resume, but they are also hoping to understand the kind of person you are. The more clearly you can communicate (your story, your experience, your goals and vision, etc), the more assurance an employer will have in hiring you. In other words, you have the ability to establish trust between you and the hiring manager by how well you present yourself in your application, resulting in the employer feeling confident that bringing you into the business will have the outcomes (i.e. benefits) they desire.
All of these factors are leading to one thing – Trust. How can I create a sense of trust within my resume, lowering my risk factor and inspiring confidence that I’m the perfect candidate for the job?
In David Amerland’s book The Tribe That Discovered Trust, he states that trust is calculated by three factors: Motive, Capability, and Reliability. Let’s take these factors and apply them to a resume.
Motive – Clearly expressing your motive when applying for a job lets the employer know your intent. This articulates your value to the employer. Avoid being vague or general in your resume or cover letter. Specifically mentioning the company and position you’re applying for in the introduction of your resume and cover letter is the first step to building trust.
Capability – Clearly defining your qualifications, you’re capabilities, amplifies the confidence of the employer that you’re the right candidate for the job. In Cindy Molchany’s book Apply Yourself: A Manual For Meaningful Work, she breaks down these qualifications into four categories.
- Basic Skills: These are skills employers expect to see on your resume. (Attention to detail, punctual, organized, ability to meet goals and deadlines, etc.)
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Speaking and writing skills are fundamental for this category. More advanced skills would be experience with negotiations, interviewing staff, or the ability to edit company documents. Interpersonal skills are as basic as being a good listener to the more advanced skill of being a team motivator.
- Data / Research / and Planning Skills: These skills go beyond just being good with numbers. Experience with forecasting, budgeting, and auditing are fundamental. However, can you use that data to identify problems and offer solutions? No that’s a skill every employer wants on their team.
- Management and Leadership Skills: Leadership skills are highly sought after by employers today. The ability to take initiative to solve problems, delegate the workload, and supervise staff makes you a prime candidate.
Reliability – David makes the observation that the simplest measure of reliability is dependability. Inconsistencies in your job history may be interpreted in a negative way, that you’re not dependable. If there are gaps in your work history, don’t be afraid to offer explanations. Back it up with examples of dependability. Did you make yourself available for overtime, or working weekends? If there is inconsistency in your job history, explain the circumstances. Job hopping is not a trustworthy trait, so make sure employers can see the motivation behind multiple jobs listed in a short amount of time. (For example: Opportunities for increased salary, better working environments, or working closer to home, etc.)
Tips For Inspiring Trust
If we do not understand trust, then it will be difficult to capture it within the context of a resume, cover letter, or interview. Here are a few simple solutions to bring the trust element front and center.
Provide accurate resources to verify the information you share.
- Contact information: Triple check your contact information to make sure it is accurate. If an employer decides to make contact with you, typically there are no second chances if the information you provide is not correct.
- References: Numerous character references go a long way as an element of trust. Direct contact information to past employers or educators communicates to new employers that you have nothing to hide.
- Use Hyperlinks: All references and contact information for previous employers should be hyperlinked. Providing this convenience is a great way to establish trust and confidence that you’re a top candidate for the job.
Provide ways employers can confirm you’re a company culture match.
- Social Media: Share your social networks, (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Google + or Twitter). Give employers a peek into who you are when interacting socially with friends and family.
- Warning: Be careful what you post! Many job opportunities have been cut short with social rants, inappropriate posts of drug and alcohol abuse, and other criminal behavior.
Share real-life examples of your skills in action. Avoid being vague when expressing your job skills.
- Avoid phrases such as; I’m a people person; team player, or self-motivated. Rather, include real-life events where your people skills and motivation closed a deal, or brought new business to the company you were working for. Real-life events with details that can be verified are are great way to establish trust.
- Highlight accomplishments over duties. For example:
- Were you responsible for production at your last job? Share how you increased production. What were the accomplishments of your duties there?
- Were you promoted to a job with more responsibilities? Share why you received the promotion. What were the results of recommendations you made in your new position?
These are just a few tips to add trust to your resume, cover letter, or interview. Don’t forget, this is much more than an exchange of information. You’re establishing grounds for a successful relationship with a new employer. These steps build confidence in the employer, hiring manager or recruiter that you’re the right choice for the job.
Trust Building Your Resume Worksheet
When we realize that the hiring process is an exercise in trust-building, it changes the perspective of how we share our information with potential employers. To often, well qualified job seekers fail to get the call for an interview because they’re not able to inspire trust through their resume and cover letter.
To ensure these trust elements are present in your resume and cover letter, we’ve created a worksheet to help you inventory your documents for trust.
Before beginning the trust-building exercise consider these suggestions from David Amerland,
Second, Have I done enough to add my own voice? The personality of the person must somehow shine through a piece of writing that tends to be formulaic at best and devoid of all personality at its worst. Given the fact that the effective element of the contact with someone forges the connection that may lead to a hire, working to create a real voice is time well spent.
Ready to get started? Grab a pen and Click here to download your free Trust Building Worksheet
The Tribe That Discovered Trust
A special thanks to author, and friend of CBJ, David Amerland, whose book The Tribe That Discovered Trust was the inspiration for this post.
Because trust is considered so vital, it has been studied extensively and we now have the data necessary to see how it works. How it can be created. How it is propagated across social networks. How it can be lost when things go dreadfully wrong and then how it can be regained. David Amerland – Business Journalist, Author & International Speaker.
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