Is there a more maligned group of marketers than real estate agents? They're famous - and frequently mocked - for their ability to spin straw into gold. But read through a few real estate listings and you'll see strategies that are amazingly useful when writing a resume.
1) It's not a house, it's a whole new life
Real estate agents know that when you're looking to move, you're looking for more than just a bigger space, or an extra bedroom. You're looking for a new life. So they talk about houses in ways that help you picture that new life. Here's a great example:
With sweeping ocean views from multiple decks and balconies, this multi level oceanfront home is the perfect year-round residence or vacation getaway. Designed to embrace family and friends, it offers a wonderful ocean view kitchen and dining area, spacious sunroom with walls of glass opening to an expansive deck, six bedrooms, five baths, playroom, fire-lit living room, and spiral staircase leading to the roof deck entertaining area. Swim, kayak or fish from your own slice of the rocky Maine coast.
Can't you just imagine yourself swimming in your own bit of the ocean? If that's the kind of life you dream of, you have to go see this house. (Provided you also have $2.4M to spare of course!)
2) Don't Try to Appeal to Everyone.
Notice the end of the last point. I said 'if that's the kind of life you dream of ... Of course, it won't be the life everyone dreams of. Some people would much rather live in the middle of a big city in a high-rise apartment, and this description won't appeal to them at all. But that's OK. The real estate agent has selected a target customer and is writing for that person.
You must do the same. When you write your resume, try to imagine the person who will be reading it. Don't just picture a generic manager, picture a real one. Decide what she does all day. Think about what matters to her. Put yourself in her shoes. Maybe you're imaging a person, or maybe you're thinking about an old boss. It doesn't matter as long as you know exactly who you are writing for. Because now you know your audience, you can tailor your message to appeal to them.
3) Frame the Photo to Highlight the Good Stuff
This house looks nice enough and it's quite low-priced for the area. But notice how closely cropped the photo is. Bet you a hundred dollars that when you see this house in reality, it's hemmed in by buildings on either side. The agent isn't lying - she's simply showing you the best parts of the house and minimizing the stuff that's less desirable. Her job is to get you to at least give the house a chance - once you go see it, you can decide whether the setting is wrong for you.
You must do the same with your resume. What are the things you want to highlight? How can you crop the frame to make sure that's what people see while hiding the stuff that won't help you?
In the end, writing a resume is no different from writing any other kind of advertisement. Real estate agents may be a maligned bunch, but they know what they're doing when it comes to selling.