Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
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Metaphor Minute: A Pinch Of Salt

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

January 14, 2015

A Pinch Of Salt

If you were looking for a job, you would want to know Dawn McKenna, the Founder of ResumeSalt, a unique resume writing company. Dawn is one creative lady who looks for that metaphorical “pinch of salt” to add to the usual bland resumes of candidates to make them and their applications more appealing to employers—even when the fit is not perfect.

A little salt goes a long way…

The Utility Infielder

Situation: My client, a senior level Risk Manager for a global bank had asked me to recruit a VP level credit professional who could “step in and step up” to various roles as demanded by the tenuous circumstances the group and the bank were enduring at the time.

Winning Metaphor: Presenting this candidate was a stretch as he did not have all of the requisite experience my client wanted. However, having written his resume the year prior, I knew him very well and was confident in his abilities. Knowing that the hiring manager was a baseball fan, I profiled the candidate as a “Utility Infielder”--- a utility infielder is a baseball player who can play multiple positions equally well. This metaphor worked because while the candidate did not have everything the hiring manager was looking for, he appreciated the fact that not knowing where his group or the bank would be in six months, this individual could successfully cover a number of important roles within his group. He turned out to be a fantastic hire.

The Symphony Conductor

Situation: I recently re-wrote the resume of a senior level insurance executive who had left the company after 15 years. During the re-write process, I learned that the individual was charged with consolidating six business units into one centralized regional group. As the process continued, I came to understand that she had a gift for visualizing the end result of large scale projects, understanding how all of the moving parts needed be synchronized with one another to make the transition seamless.

Winning Metaphor: In preparation for an upcoming job interview with a company who was in the midst of a merger, we came up with the “Symphony Conductor” metaphor as a way of describing her ability to unify a team, set the tempo for the organizational change, execute plans effectively, and shape/guide the outcome for both the senior managers and subordinates affected in the process. Using this metaphor, she was able to demonstrate how and why she was a great fit for a senior leadership role without going into long and detailed descriptions of what she did in her prior role. They were intrigued by her description which led to a highly productive conversation about how she would enact change given the circumstance they were about to face.

Behind Dawn’s Thinking

  • The best metaphors leverage the other person’s interests or experiences. In the first case, it was the Risk Manager’s love of baseball that helped close the deal.

  • Appreciate that the right metaphor can trump initial requirements or specs. Again, in the first case, the hire was not 100% qualified, but the associative strengths and emotional appeal of an infielder overcame that obstacle.

  • Listening carefully to the facts makes it easier to step back and seek parallels in other worlds for the best metaphor. Dawn got her ammunition for the symphony conductor metaphor because she listened very carefully to the insurance executive’s background.

How Did Dawn Find Her Own Corporate Metaphor?

My former Executive Search Manager was amazed at my ability to quickly gain the confidence and trust of perspective candidates and clients. Soon after I met them, they felt quite comfortable divulging very personal information about themselves to me over the phone.

He once told me, I was like a “Pinch of Salt”, I had the ability to enhance the natural flavor of candidates -- similar to how salt brings out the natural flavor of food. In coming up with the name for my resume writing business, I recalled that conversation with my former boss and the phrase ResumeSalt appeared in my mind.

When writing an individual’s resume, I immerse myself into their situation, background, and ultimately help them rephrase themselves in conversation and on paper by demonstrating their inherent value to an organization. Essentially, by adding a pinch of salt to their bland resumes, I am making them and their candidacy more appealing.

I use metaphors constantly in my practice. They ignite the visual in an instant!
(I could not agree more)

I hope Dawn’s story inspires you to use the beautiful and powerful tool that is metaphor to build your business in 2015

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.

P.S. Dawn Mckenna places finance professionals in major domestic and global banks, finance companies and investment banks. Her specialty is filling mid-to-senior level positions for Lenders, Risk Managers, and subject matter experts in Quantitative Analysis. For more information visit

Below is her brief history of salt and how she ties that back to her brand.

The word “salary” is derived from the word “salt", a good person is "the salt of the earth”, and a successful person is often referred to being "worth their salt".

More than the white granules we use to enhance the flavor of our food, salt is an essential element in our diet. We need salt to regulate the exchange of water between our cells and their surrounding fluids. It is a vital part of our ecosystem; humans, animals and many plants must have salt to survive.

This simple molecule launched wars, built monuments like the Great Wall of China and sparked revolutions from India to France. New York City wouldn't be the city that it is without salt. Moreover, salt helped determine the road system of America. Without it, civilizations would never have thrived and technology would be stuck in the Stone Age.

A "Salted" resume is also so much more. This essential element is crucial to your resume, to how you are perceived and to achieving the next step in your career.

--- Excerpts compiled from “Salt: In the Oceans and in Humans” by Prentice K. Stout P955, “Salt: A World History”, by Mark Kurlansky, "The Superpower of Salt" by H2, and “A Brief History of Salt” by TIME

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 "The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2015. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2015, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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