In the supply chain world we rightfully worry about the packaging which protects our cargo. We ask: Is it safe, effective, economical, & practical? Does it contain consumer-directed messages that shout “Pick Me!”, “Pick Me!”? Does it communicate the correct messages to its critical supply chain links? How we as individuals are seen by the placement world is just as important, so you need to know: How effective is my personal packaging, and what messages am I sending to potential hiring companies?

    Our personal packaging these days is dispersed across a variety of channels. The most controllable is the customized cover letter plus resume that you send in response to a job posting. And the content of those two documents should closely parallel your existing online packaging, such as your Linked-In page and all other social networking sites you might be using to brand yourself. The last thing you want to happen as a candidate is for someone in HR, or even your potential new boss, to run an Internet search on you and find information that contradicts what you have submitted on an application, provided in an interview, or posted on your own social networking sites. That kind of conflict will kill a candidacy. While we’re on the subject, you should periodically run detailed web searches on yourself. You’ll be amazed at what’s available online about you that you did not place there yourself! You might have some explaining to do.

    There are two major approaches to maximizing the impact of the personal packaging in your resume: one camp believes that your standard resume should not change as you apply for various positions, leaving any customization to your cover letters. The other view holds that resumes should be flexible, and tailored to each position you apply for, paired with shorter cover letters. There’s no right or wrong answer here, just an issue you need to settle for yourself. But I can tell you, from the personal experience of hiring the wrong person because I accepted a second, revised resume, that some hiring managers are rightfully wary of a candidate who has more than one packaged version of themselves. In my case, the original resume of the person we hired indicated a definite misfit, and I should have followed my first impression instead of accepting revised packaging.

    Let’s get back to you: How do you make your personal packaging interesting enough to a new company to get that first, critical interview? This is relatively easy - just make sure it clearly showcases your accomplishments. Don’t just list responsibilities in your cover letter or resume. Those can follow and enhance, but they should not dominate, your message. Instead, lead with your major accomplishments - the significant problems you solved and the specific dollars you saved while solving those problems. To get your foot in the door with a “Pick Me!”, “Pick Me!” strategy, potential employers must see that you can help them solve their current and future problems, quickly and significantly. And you should do this with as few words as possible using language anyone can understand. If your resume is over two pages long, or too busy, or loaded with jargon the reader has to look up, you’ve provided proof that you’re not efficient and not worth interviewing.

    To get a feel for how you’re perceived by the outside world, take a critical look at your resume and cover letter as a potential employer would - not just as HR would view it, but more importantly as the department head might read it. And have a couple of your friends do the same to see if your important message(s) come across as you intend. The results might surprise (and inform) you.

    In conclusion, as we often do in this series of articles, we end with the ultimate question you need to answer for yourself: Does your personal packaging shout “Pick Me!” – and provide good reasons to do so?



    This article is part of the monthly series authored by ISM’s Logistics & Transportation Group Board Members, who are current practitioners, consultants, trainers, and educators. In future columns, they will continue sharing their views on a number of Supply Chain topics.

    George Yarusavage, CTL, C.P.M., CICSM, is a principal in Fortress Consulting, LLC, specializing in Transportation, Logistics, and Sourcing issues and training. He is also the Treasurer of ISM’s Logistics & Transportation Group and can be reached at gyarusavage@yahoo.com, or (203) 984-4957. Membership in the L&T Group is open to all ISM members who are responsible for or have an interest in Logistics & Transportation.
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