Master Your Message Blog

Wanna Get a Job? Try This!

NOTE: This terrific article comes from Judy Carter and gives a great example of why it’s so important to start any presentation, email, or other persuasive business communication with a problem …
There’s a secret to have your resume rise to the top of a job pile. It’s the same technique that makes a comedy club audience laugh, or that gets everyone at your next meeting to stop texting and start listening to you. You get people’s attention by making your cover letter, your first joke, or your opening remarks about THEM.
I posted a job on Craigslist and LinkedIn recently — and I was immediately swamped with over 100 applicants.
I deleted some of the applications as soon as I read them. Why? Because they all had two things in common: they were all boilerplate, and the writers focused on themselves – instead of what they could do for my company. Almost every sentence started “I.”
But — about 10% of the people did something different. They took the time to look at my websites, and crafted emails that were about the problems I was dealing with – and how they could help me solve those problems.
Jackpot! These were the people who I called in for interviews.
The “I understand your problems — and I am your solution” approach is the backbone of connecting to other people. Those that understood this made themselves aware of the challenges I’m facing, made me feel important, and made themselves look smart.
It might seem interesting to your friends that you “like working with creative types” or that you are “excited to take on new experiences.” But – these types of vague declarations of personal likes and dislikes don’t tell an employer you are focused on their needs.
I apply for a lot of speaking gigs, and what makes the difference in getting hired for many of them is that I customize each EPK (Electronic Press Kit) so it’s specific to the needs of the client. For example, if I’m applying for a gig in Kansas — where most companies do NOT want the racy humor that a New York or LA audience might enjoy — I’ll pull a quote from another client in middle America thanking me for doing clean comedy.
You’ll almost always hit a home run we you communicate an understanding of other people’s needs – instead of your own. But — it’s a skill that you have to practice and develop.
Judy Carter speaks on the power of humor & personal stories as a leadership tool. She is the author of The Comedy Bible (Simon & Schuster) and her latest book, The Message of You, (St. Martin’s Press). Find out more about Judy at

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