Everyone sends a resume, but few people go beyond to prepare an addenda. So next time you’re applying for a job you really want, you may want to come up with an extra or two to capture the hiring manager’s attention.
An addenda serves as your “distinct marketing materials” and allows you to tell a story about some success or the ways you’ll fit into the culture of your future employer, said Sunitha Narayanan, a career coach with OI Partners and at Xavier University in Cincinnati. She leads workshops in creating them, and helps her clients see how they can use one to propel themselves ahead of the competition.
“How can I create that little window of opportunity to fish where no one else is fishing?” she asks. What one or two skills does the candidate need to demonstrate to get hired?
Sometimes the addenda are sent in early in the search, and other times they are taken along to the interview. Other times they tag along with the ‘thank you’ after the first round of interviews. Sometimes people take it to the interview and present it.
The trick is to find the right button that must be pushed and then use your one-page document to do that. This requires some research and thinking about what the needs are and what the hiring manager really wants to accomplish with the new person, said Narayanan.
Sometimes they are a biography or a give-back statement showing charitable involvement. Or it could show how you radiate the three key attributes sought.
They can help keep your resume more concise and focused, but remember, not everyone will like them or even read them. In a blog post by Katharine Hansen on A Storied Career, the author warns that some recruiters choose not to open them, or will only open a few from top candidates.
Still, they can work wonders. One of Narayanan clients, whose whole department was being eliminated in a merger, decided to try using a marketing addenda to see if he could stay on. She asked him: “What might your unique promise be?” They decided it was client loyalty, since he had been in sales for many years. So they wrote a little story about that, which showed tangible results. He pulled out an endorsement by another client and created a document. Then he emailed the new manager and offered to help with the transition, to make it smooth and to make sure things worked out. “He was the only one of the previous sales team to get rehired,” Narayanan said.
Other times she’s helped clients create a cultural fit document – which were in essence three PowerPoint slides. That showed how the candidate could be productive and engaged and succeed, by mirroring the language the employer used to describe its culture.
She asks them questions such as “What could resonate? What could be meaningful?” Or else “How can you appeal to that person?” and “How do you show your value and productivity?”
The best ones have visual elements, perhaps a chart or a photo or some color to add pizzazz, she said. They must be concise – one page only. Storytelling and creativity matter. So does carefully matching the message to the job and the decision-makers. The audience will be small, perhaps just two or three people, but the impact could be big.
Take a look below at just two sample addendas to see how career highlights can be shared in addition to a resume: