After your name, job title and contact details, your Opening Statement is the first thing that the hiring manager or recruiter will see on your Resume or CV. Your Statement is the part of your resume that must concisely demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate for this role and show how your unique skills are the perfect match for this role.
You MUST re-write your opening statement for EVERY JOB YOU APPLY FOR.
Know Your Audience
The first thing to remember when writing your Opening Statement is that you must know who your target audience is. Whilst your resume is most certainly all about you, the mistake people often make is to write their resume as if it were a ‘journal entry’ with a list of day to day activities and a statement about what you want from your new job. Whilst that used to be perfectly acceptable, times have changed.
The resume is a marketing document and its purpose is to demonstrate how your unique blend of skills and experience is the perfect match to meet the needs of the hiring manager. Its sole purpose is to get you to interview stage.
When you start writing your Opening Statement, you need to put yourself in the ‘mindset’ of the hiring manager, to catch their eye in a way that encourages them to keep reading and focus on how you will be a benefit to the company.
Step 1: What Do They Want and Why?
There was a reason this position has become available (over and above that someone may have left). This role fills a need within the company and you must try to figure out what that need is. Consider the following to start you off:
Are they expanding?
Do they need to improve productivity?
Have they won a new contract and need to expand the team?
Are they behind on their sales targets?
Is there an internal project they need to roll out?
You need to try to identify where the hiring manager is coming from so that you can write your opening statement to match those requirements.
Step 2: Match Your Experience
Start by thinking about what it is you do. For example, are you a business builder, or an inspiring leader? Or do you analyse data and turn it into actionable strategies? Do you train people in specific areas to grow revenue? Do you turn businesses around?
Think about what you achieved or accomplished in each of your roles:
What did you do better than other people in a similar role?
What type of problem do people come to you to help them solve?
Are your customers satisfied with the value they receive from your company’s products or services?
Do you consistently win more business from your accounts? How much?
Were you given any special recognition or more responsibility as a result of your efforts?
Were you assigned any special projects?
Did you complete them on time and within budget?
Did you manage the project efficiently?
Did you supervise other project team members?
Next think about how you work with other people. This is important because it can tell your employer about your ‘soft skills’ which can indicate how you might fit in with the organisation.
Did you have to share ideas and solve problems by working with others?
Was there a high degree of cooperation?
Did you pitch in when others needed help, such as to meet a deadline?
Was there a strong sense of camaraderie on the team?
Did they like working with you?
What might have happened to the project if you had not been on the team?
Were you able to work effectively with people from other parts of the organization who have very different areas of expertise?
Keeping the information you have gathered above firmly in your mind, the trick here is to clearly articulate your value statement in one or two sentences that answer the hiring managers’ question, ‘What can you do for me?’.
When writing, remember that the Opening Statement is another opportunity to get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) so you should match your wording to the relevant key words from the job description to give you a chance of getting your resume infront of a person.
Here are some examples to get you started:
"I will enhance your company web site's usefulness as a marketing channel by developing it as a gathering place for those within your niche disability audience who seek opportunities to discuss issues which are important to them."
“15+ years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for Fortune 500 firms across a wide range of industries including enterprise software, digital marketing, advertising technology, e-commerce and government. Major experience lies in strategizing and leading cross-functional teams to bring about fundamental change and improvement in strategy, process, and profitability – both as a leader and expert consultant.”
“Experienced strategist, entrepreneur and start-up enthusiast with a passion for building businesses and challenging the status quo. 8+ year track-record of defining new business strategies, launching new ventures, and delivering operational impact, both as a co-founder and management consultant.”
“Marketing Manager with over eight years of experience. Proven success in running email marketing campaigns and implementing marketing strategies that have pulled in a 20% increase in qualified leads. Proficient in content, social media and inbound marketing strategies. Skilled, creative and innovative.”