If you’ve ever had to hire an employee, you know what a risk it can be. You have to ask yourself, will the person fit in with the rest of the staff? Will s/he steal from the company? Do they have a work ethic? Are they lying to me? Etc, etc, etc.

That’s why when I sit down to write a resume I think to myself, what could get a person fired in this occupation? I know it sounds nuts, but hear me out. Years ago when I was working in TV News, our station hired a whole new crew (from out of state mind you) to launch a morning show. Within 3 months of hire, one of the staff members stole a company vehicle and never showed up again. The cops finally caught up with him after about 2 weeks when they traced the station credit card that was in the glove box while it was being used to fill up with gas. I know it had to be the News Director’s worst nightmare. He trusted the guy when he hired him, and now the company had to pay for the news director’s poor judgment (or perhaps lack of due diligence when he made the hire — no one really knows.)

At any rate, you need to know going in to a job interview that the person hiring you is as nervous as you are. That’s why I try to re-assure the hiring authority by listing a few positive traits in the resume or cover letter that pertain to the occupation. News Anchors need to be approachable and friendly to their viewers when they’re out and about in the community. Photojournalists should have a clean driving record, severe weather driving experience, and be able to quickly navigate around the city. It’s more than just white balance and pointing a camera.

Let them know ALL that you have to offer against your increasing competition. It works. Because I can assure you, few job seekers are doing that. I’ve had a few folks tell me, “oh those things are a given in our industry…” Well, I’m guessing that after our company vehicle was stolen, honesty was no longer “a given” to our news director.

–Susan Geary, 1st Rate Resumes