The Compass
Guidance for your creative career and hiring strategies

First Impressions – The Resume With A Hook

When was the last time you finished reading anything that didn’t grab your attention within the first few sentences? Can you imagine reading an article that started slow and grew less interesting with each passing sentence? 

Welcome to a regular part of being a hiring manager. Today’s resume is often guided by antiquated prescriptions that almost guarantee it will lull the reader to sleep. Thankfully, creative folks like you have the ability to kick convention in the face and create a professional resume that intrigues, informs and convinces, without that pesky drowsiness. The first step: lead with an effective opening hook.

Whether you call it your bio, objective or professional summary, here are three ways to create the perfect hook for your resume. 

1) Target every time.  

Applying the One-Size-Fits all approach to your resume strategy is like arriving at a party and referring to each person as Sam. You might meet one person with that name, but everyone else won’t appreciate it. For each position you target, open your resume with a new objective, profile or quick bio that connects you directly to that specific company. Mirror the job description in your word choice or make a subtle reference to the brand/product. However you do it, your goal should be to make the reader feel like the only job you want is the one they posted.

Targeted Example: “Accomplished Creative Director with 10+ years agency success producing powerful online retail experiences for cosmetics and beauty brands.” 

2) Be the solution.

Why do companies post job openings online and spend money on recruiters? They have problems that need to be solved by people who aren’t already on staff. This simple reality of hiring is your best bet for hooking the reader. In each opener you write, speak to the solutions you provide. Whether it’s your keen ability to create captivating packaging solutions, or your knack for leading creative teams to award winning victory, research what challenges your target company is facing and open your resume with why you are the solution. 

Solution Example: “Senior Apparel Designer seeks fast-paced agency environment in which to translate market insight into profitable and cutting edge outerwear designs.

3) Say it concisely. 

You only have a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention and interest, so brevity is crucial. Resist the temptation to make your opener an all-inclusive statement, as all of those details will be revealed later on. If you aren’t the greatest wordsmith or simply have trouble keeping it short, there’s absolutely no shame in asking someone to tighten up your hook for you. 

Concise Example: “I transform great ideas into functional, consumer-centric designs that define trends and capture new market share.

Bonus Tip: Avoid mentioning the opportunity you seek, the skills you want to improve, or anything else that speaks only to what YOU want in your hook. The person reading your resume already knows what you want (a job), and would rather learn what you’ll do for them instead. 

Applying these tips to your resume hook may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Plus, all those hiring managers and recruiters that read it will thank you. Good luck! 

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