Prove It And Get Hired

Posted November 09, 2006 by

Think you’re qualified for that job you want?
Prove it!
If you do, it’s a sure bet that you’ll get hired faster.
Here’s how to do it by improving your resume and job interview skills in just one afternoon …

1) First, prove the claims in your resume
Sadly, most resumes are full of puffed-up language and empty assertions – enough to make a hiring manager tear his or her hair out.
To illustrate, here’s example language from a resume I recently got:
“Proven track record of developing and driving sales teams to deliver increased sales through organizational optimization, channel growth and major account expansion.”
The technical term for such unsubstantiated verbiage, which manages to say almost nothing in 22 words, is crap.
Instead, you can improve your resume, prove your claims and get more interest from hiring managers, if you replace empty claims with specific facts.
Here’s how I would revise that first bit, using the same 22 words:
“Experienced increasing revenue up to $342,500 per year by leading sales teams of 10-35 personnel, while managing/penetrating up to 34 major accounts.”
See the difference? Specifics prove your claims, because readers assume a revenue gain of $342,500 actually happened, whereas they might be wary of assertions that you “delivered increased sales.” Just be sure you can back up all specifics in writing!
Which leads me to another way to improve your resume – have others do the talking for you, via testimonials.
“Increasingly, I am seeing resumes in Word format that include testimonials about the candidate at the end of the document. The most effective of them have live links to profiles of the people providing the endorsements,” says executive recruiter Harry Joiner at
All you need do is set up a free account at Then ask former managers, clients and co-workers to endorse you. “Ideally, you should have testimonials for each job you have held,” says Joiner.
Endorsements get posted to your profile. You can then embed links to them in the Microsoft Word version of your resume. When readers click on the link, they are taken directly to your profile, where the testimonial is displayed in full.
For example, you might include a testimonial like this at the end of your resume:
“Mary Jones consulted for our company as the Online Merchandising Manager. The skill set and vision she brought to the project were outstanding. I would highly recommend her as an employee for any company.” (July 7, 2006) Jeffrey Smith, managed Mary at Target.
The hyperlink to your profile would come at the end, under Jeffrey Smith’s name.
Why is this so effective?
“Most HR professionals know that testimonials are impossible to manipulate. That lends an air of authenticity to them, which I love. Linked-in testimonials legitimize your claims of expertise, and they help a hiring manager understand exactly how you created value in the past,” says Joiner.
2) Second, prove your claims in the interview
Candidates for sales jobs have long used “brag books” to highlight their accomplishments, according to Lisa Alexander, author of “PharmRepSelect: Your Complete Guide to Getting a Job in Pharmaceutical Sales” (
But you don’t have to be looking for a sales job to use one. In fact, a brag book is a great way to prove you’re the one to hire, no matter what industry you’re in.
What’s a brag book? It’s simply a three-ring binder that documents your claims.
“To build your brag book, take a look at your resume. Note each achievement and gather documentation that supports it. For example, if your resume says you won the President’s Award in your present job, include a copy of the award certificate in your book,” says Alexander.
Here are some other items you may want to include, assuming they tell a positive story:
* Letters of recommendation
* Copy of your college transcript(s)
* Copy of your background check and/or credit history
Practice using your brag book by role playing. Have a friend ask you interview questions and refer to your book as you answer.
“In a real interview, always take your cues from the interviewer. At the start, tell the interviewer you have prepared a book to illustrate your past successes. Ask if she wants you to see it during the interview. If she says no, put the book away and offer it for review at the end,” suggests Alexander.
A good brag book will boost your confidence during an interview, while demonstrating to the hiring manager how well prepared and successful you are. And by proving your claims, your brag book could dramatically shorten your next job search.
Now, go out and make your own luck!

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