Create Curb Appeal to Attract Interviews

curb appealNever so much did the term, “Resume Real Estate” resonate until I was tasked to sell my home.

“I want to sell my home ‘as-is,’” I firmly asserted to my real estate agent.  It’s a beautiful home in a great neighborhood and is an ideal opportunity for the right buyer. Standing head and shoulders among its peer group, I felt, this home offered a unique opportunity that would be obvious to the right buyer, and they would know to make an offer – and quickly!

Not only was the home of high quality, positioned in an established neighborhood with a track record of success (e.g., the neighborhood quiet, the homeowners’ association upkeep consistent, the reputation for the city’s upscale attitude broad-ranging, the schools high-caliber – the list goes on), but it also was uniquely located off of a key corridor in the community – easy to get everywhere else from here. Its value speaks for itself!

So … why the continual stream of visitors but no offers?

Hooking the Buyer With First Impressions

Over the next several weeks and months I gained clarity — through a series of buyer feedback messages and conversations with my professional real estate agent, here’s what I discovered: Other homeowners were going an extra few miles to market themselves and “hook” the buyer, and it was making a big difference! Further, the extra miles they pursued were based directly on the target market’s needs. Moreover, the marketing strategies included appealing to buyers’ emotions – a key component to their ultimate decision to buy.

These competitors were not discounting the value of creating a “wow” first impression, beyond the inherent value that the visitors were able to seek out after initially being hooked in.

These competitors of mine were investing in their marketing – from buying new carpet to painting the entire interior to installing new appliances and more. And first impressions were counting! The seller wasn’t expecting the buyer to “envision” or “imagine” the potential of the home – they were underscoring the home’s magnificence by placing an up-front investment with the confidence and hope that the investment would pay off – that an ROI was in store. When that would happen was not known or even guaranteed to happen. These home sellers were taking a calculated risk.

Targeting Buyers’ Real Needs

Further, the competing home sellers’ marketing approach was based on the target buyers’ real (rather than perceived) needs. I discovered I hadn’t been honing in on my target market’s real needs. One of my mantras regarding the value of my home was: “I just invested in a new air conditioning and heating system, so of course the buyer will immediately and intellectually interpret the value of these items just as much as if I had painted the walls or added carpet.” However, my target market (single individual/couple/parent and child) seemed to be more transient in nature, and fulfilling long-term needs such as the need for a reliable, long lasting AC/heating system was lower priority.

In short, if the buyers’ areas of pain include a need to buy a freshly carpeted/painted home so that they may immediately settle into a comfortable routine (without the burden of installing carpet and painting walls) then that is what I must address. Without this focus, I was being weeded out of the buyers’ processes before I had a chance to really engage them beyond first impressions with the subtle qualities and nuances of my special home.

Parallels Between Home Sellers and Job Searchers

This experience struck a cord with me in how my attitude has paralleled that of some my (less-informed) resume prospects! They are ready for a job search, and they want to initiate it NOW – “as-is” with little preparation or respect for the processes or preparation for creating their “curb appeal,” as it were in order to really wow “their” buyers – the employers.

Those job seekers who haven’t been educated about the importance of communicating value drivers and focus just want a “simple” resume that outlines, without any flash or exaggeration “who I am and what I do / have achieved.” No pomp and circumstance and no real up-front investment of time or money should be necessary – “the employer will be able to read between the lines the value I offer them if I simply outline where I worked, my titles and a bulleted listing of responsibilities and accomplishments. They should be ‘hooked into’ me, though my presentation is plain vanilla and uninspiring.”

Their resume marketing, therefore, lacks emotional appeal – how will they, as the employee, influence the employer that they are immediately qualified to solve specific PAIN? To do this, they must identify a target market and then go out on a limb, market to a specific audience and address particular needs (not just overpower the employer with ideas of what is assumed they most wish to hear).

For example, a sales professional may wish to transition their focus to opportunities that are more product development focused than sales focused. However, they may miss the boat by quickly writing a resume that speaks heavily to sales goals, sales teams, territory growth and more because that seems to be the easiest and most natural way to outline their reverse chronological history of experience.

As a result, the experiences listing may deemphasize product development/launch or present it in a low-level way, burying the candidates’ value to the target company, and making it too much work for the hiring authority to understand that indeed, the candidate is a perfect match. The hiring authority, therefore, will most likely move on to a candidate that showcases the product development information in a “wow first impression” way, attending to the company’s specific needs.

In summary, the components of marketing oneself to sell special value in a job search and marketing one’s home to sell in the real estate market are strikingly similar. Although negotiating the final sale/job is about much more than initial curb appeal and marketing enticement, without that initial hook and “wow first impression” to entice the buyer, home sellers and job seekers most likely will stall the attainment of their ultimate goal.

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14 Comments on “Create Curb Appeal to Attract Interviews”

  1. Kristi Daeda Says:

    I love this piece!

    Analogies like this can help us all understand better marketing practices. What works in one venue can often be adapted to work in others. Thinking critically about what makes us buy in other situations can be really useful for figuring out how to sell ourselves. And hiring a new staff member is just as critical a decision for a business as buying a new home. Great thoughts!

  2. careertrend Says:

    Well put, Kristi! You make a great point about ‘thinking critically’ about triggers for ‘buying’ in other situations and adapting those practices when selling ourselves.

    The lovely ‘aha’ moments we have when engaged in various activities never cease to amaze me.

    So pleased you liked this blog post; please stop by again!


  3. Great piece Jacqui. In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. In job search, I am fond of saying that it is all about follow up, follow up, follow up because out of touch is out of mind and off the radar gives some more persistent candidate the lucky chance to get the job offer that should be your new opportunity.

    • careertrend Says:

      You certainly make a good case for following up during job search (or in all business initiatives, for that matter!). Out of sight sometimes ‘is’ out of mind! As well, I like the word ‘persistent,’ and when someone is politely persistent, it can help them out-compete less persistent others.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Debra!


  4. I never thought of the parallels between these two marketing campaigns, but certainly the similarities are there. As with any marketing exercise, it comes down to providing the right message.
    What does the audience take away after hearing/seeing what you have to offer? Does your message communicate clearly (and loudly–aka, in an obvious way) that your offering meets all the needs?

  5. careertrend Says:

    Glad I could come up with something you hadn’t heard already a million times!

    You’re right, it’s about the audience’s take-aways. A clear, loud message that is focused on the reader’s needs IS needed to effectively market one’s career message. (I like the idea of loud/obvious!)

    Appreciate your thoughts!

  6. Great points!

    I’d also add that, just as with selling a house, the superficial stuff matters. Your resume design needs to be appealing with lots of white space to make sure that the readers sees your unique value.

    Too many people want to cram everything in to their resume and the end result is that it all gets lost.

  7. Oops – meant ‘reader’ not ‘readers’. Shouldn’t write before first cup of coffee!

    • That’s true! So engrossed in what “I” believed would attract a home buyer, I lost sight that first impressions DO matter. What seemed superfluous to me (painting the walls), was actually the hook that drew buyers in to further discover the home’s unique value.

      Likewise, when job seekers design a resume, they should bear in mind that cramped layouts are off-putting. Attractive designs, reinforced by content focused on the hiring manager’s needs will create an emotional appeal that prompts interviews.

      Thanks for stopping by, Louise!


  8. Hello there,

    I am Yousuf Siddiqui and I provide coaching to leaders and organizations.
    I refer to my work as Business Performance Coaching. I increase my clients’ effectiveness by thinking through their most burning issues with them and creating plans to get tangible, measurable and specific results.

    I want to connect with you and follow you on your blog. I hope to learn from you and exchange thoughts with you.

    Yousuf Siddiqui

  9. Marianna Says:

    Jacqui, you have the gift of telling a story – one that often contains many powerful lessons that are transferrable to various aspects of one’s life – not only the resume.

    Excellent post that reminds us that we all have different values and as such, need to take the time to unearth them.

    • Thanks Marianna!

      You’re right, this story’s lessons can transfer to other aspects of our lives, beyond the resume. We all offer unique value in our day-to-day interactions, both personally and professionally. It is important to be introspective from time to time, mapping our value and impact outward, beyond our own set of self-imposed ‘blinders.’


  10. This is great advice for resume writers and job searchers. I plan to retweet this to call attention to what you have written.

    • careertrend Says:


      Many thanks for your interest in this post and your retweeting it. It’s nice when life learnings translate well to resume writing and job search strategy.

      Thank you for affirming the story’s relevance!


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