Make mine the special

07/16/2009

Here, have something to nobble on.

Why are you making it so hard for people?

When you approach the counter or drive-through window of a fast food chain, what are the most prominent items on the menu? Promotions and value meals. Things that make it easy for you to choose if you don’t already know what you want. What about when you sit down at a restaurant? The server tells you what the specials are and sometimes what vegetables/sides are in season. Even the most indecisive person can make a selection in a hurry when presented with prepared options.

By the same token, why don’t we market and brand ourselves and our businesses in the same way? I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of resumes, small business and personal websites that don’t get to the heart of the matter: what it is that the person or business does. Isn’t this what’s most important? Studies have shown that visitors will leave a website in about seven seconds if they don’t find what they’re looking for, and also that recruiters scan resumes in the blink of an eye.

What makes you so special? Why are you making it hard for people to understand your value? Disparate bullet points with no overarching theme whatsoever. A laundry list of useless skills that, without context, are useless. Instead of that silly objective statement at the top of your resume, why not summarize your career path or aspirations into a statement that summarizes your experience and professional goals? Why not come clean about what your company does instead of using industry jargon given by your marketing team?

If you haven’t made things clear for your intended audience, you’ve already lost them.