Four Tips to Power-Up Your Resume

Posted by in Career Advice

The job market is tough and it's getting tougher. Your resume is your number one marketing tool and it may not be doing its job - getting you an interview. One reason may be lack of time. With the increased competition for jobs, there is very little time spent reading any one resume. It's been estimated that today's resume is only getting about 20 seconds of "eyeball time". That's not much time to score. In fact, most resumes will get quickly screened out and dumped on the reject pile. The other reason is lack of interest. Most resumes today lack a sense of urgency. They don't answer the all-important question, "What's in it for the employer?" Here are 4 tips on how you can power up your resume for today's more competitive job search arena to overcome these dilemmas. 1. Focused Objective Does your resume have a clear, focused objective? Does it identify one clear job title that you are seeking? Leave out all that nonsense about "challenging opportunity with a dynamic company". Remember, it's not about you. Try this: lead off with a clear statement of the job title you are seeking under the Objective heading. For example, "Chief Financial Officer". Nothing more is needed. 2. Keyword Section Everyone pays lip service to this, but few act on it. If you don't, you're missing the boat in two major ways: Your resume needs to get flagged by a computer. To strengthen your odds, you need every potential keyword working for you. And not just your skill sets, either. Make sure to add all your industry buzzwords as well as your biggest soft skills. Did you know that some of the highest searched keywords today include terms we often overlook? These include "problem-solving", "leadership", and "oral/written communication". You must appeal to the human that reads your resume. A reader will scan a great keyword summary section within the first 20 seconds of looking at your resume. When added to your personal branding statement below, you increase your chances of hooking this reader and getting a more in-depth reading. 3. Personal Branding Statement It doesn't matter whether you're a CFO, a software project manager or a wedding photographer. Answer this question: "What is it that makes you unique from other applicants?" Don't think that just having great skill sets or years of experience is going to give you any edge. Lots of other candidates have the same or better skills as you. The solution is to create a brand for yourself. So how do you create your own brand? Review your resume. Does it have a clear statement that describes who you are and what you offer? This is called a "branding statement" and may also be described as a "value added" or "unique selling proposition". Don't confuse this with a "Summary of Qualifications" section that many candidates like to include. These are merely laundry lists of core competencies and do nothing to make you stand out. A true branding statement is a one-sentence description of who you are and what critical benefit you offer your next employer. It should describe your biggest strength and the resulting benefit to your previous employer. The best branding statements usually incorporate figures in dollars or percentages of money, or time that was gained or saved over a certain period of time. Here is an example for that CFO: "Seasoned Chief Financial Officer strong in optimizing organizations to achieve maximum growth and market share who has produced new revenues or savings of over $65 Million for my employers over the past eight years." Does your resume have this strong a branding statement? If not, think about adding one. It'll take some time to develop a really good statement for yourself. Once done, however, you'll break that 20-second barrier and move that much farther ahead of your competitors. 4. Specific Achievements Companies hire employees to be an asset to their balance sheet. That means your work involves helping a company either make money or save money. Think beyond your skill sets and job duties and think of as many ways as you can as to how you accomplish this. For example, suppose you're a video photographer taping and editing weddings and special events. You take the extra step of performing all of your post-production work before submitting your final results. Your extra effort has saved your employer several hundred hours of additional work. This translates into dollars saved by the employer and it's just this sort of achievement that must be on your resume. When you can, try to monetize, or put a dollar value on your achievements. Our photographer example might look like this: "Saved my employer over $6K in additional labor costs over the past 2 years by performing post-production work before submitting my final results." By including several specific achievements where you've helped your employer make or save money, you separate yourself from your competitors and quickly gain the attention of your reader. Summary As the economy gets tougher, employers expect more from candidates before they hire them. This means more is expected from your resume to make the cut these days. If you add these four crucial elements to your resume, you can power it up to win that phone interview and take a step closer to the job you really want.

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  • Dana martinez
    Dana martinez
    Your advice makes a lot of sense, thank you so much for the wonderful insight. I will be making some changes on my resume.
  • Koketso Sedumedi
    Koketso Sedumedi
    Awesome advice! Thank you very much.
  • kathy
    I've recently been terminated from a job I've held for years. Many of my office/customer service skills can be transferred to another job arena, but my computer skills are exclusive to the job I've had. How can I express this on a resume, specifically in a branding statement or what if there is no branding statement to back up your resume, how do you go about it?
  • Erik Burreson
    Erik Burreson
    It's easy for anyone to forget what really makes a resume stand out. With the tips you have offered, I know it will benefit my resume too. Thanks Erik
  • Ajith Kumar
    Ajith Kumar
    This is very useful
  • Joan A.
    Joan A.
    I appreciates the tips,very impressive and thank you so much...Can you send me a very striking cover letter?
  • Felicia Chisholm
    Felicia Chisholm
    I am very impressed that nowadays you receive a phone call sometimes immediately upon submitting an application or resume.
  • Amy P.
    Amy P.
    What if you didn't save or make your employer an outstanding amount while you were employed with any particular job?
  • Michael M.
    Michael M.
    I appreciates the tips on resume writing i will edit and obeserve the difference.
  • Muhammad I.
    Muhammad I.
    I want to do something good in my life.I want to shoe my ability and gain some experience.
  • Pong C.
    Pong C.
    It worked, I did the 4 tips and got an call back the same day.
  • Christine  G.
    Christine  G.
    This was an excellent article - I'm still not quite clear on how to best market myself in the medical transcription business.  I'm very capable in returning excellent, gramatically correct dictation into a readable and correct sentence, which is often a problem when transcribing for physicians who are dictating in a time crunch.  Any help would be appreciated!  Thanks.  
  • Joel B.
    Joel B.
    Thank you very much for the  very important information to update my resume, it helps a lot for me for making a unique and very  impressive resume.
  • Judith M.
    Judith M.
    Thank you for your advise. Different ways of writing a resume are favourable to who wants it the way it is. Displays are unique in beholders eyes.
  • Syed H.
    Syed H.
    Very useful informations you pass me, I appreciate,Thanks for future.....
  • Amy Townsend
    Amy Townsend
    Personal Branding Statement. I am going to try that with a job I have already applied for, but haven't recieved a call for an interview.Wish me luck!Thank you!
  • Ano M
    Ano M
    Thank you guys, very helpful information and I need to update my resume.
  • Kenneth Epperson
    Kenneth Epperson
    Valuable info. Especially the part about the Branding Statement. Glad I read this!
  • mark walker
    mark walker
    That was the kind of information posted for resumes but guess what, you will find yourself writing different resumes each time you fill out information for employer's. I haven't had a job for one year and four months.
  • Kateri M.
    Kateri M.
    Do you have any examples of a commercial insurance resume? Thank you for saving a lot of people and for getting their resumes to stand out.
  • Sumnesh d.
    Sumnesh d.
    good one
  • Joanna G.
    Joanna G.
    Many thanks for the information on how to improve my resume and make my self marketable. It is very helpful, will keep in touch when I need more help. Many thanks.
  • victoria
    Hi Mr. Turner, Thanks for your valuable information. Quite difficult to figure out a smart concise branded statement to sell my experience. Wondering how I will put my 25 ladderized years of experience in just 2 to 3 sentences
  • Wanda C.
    Wanda C.
    WOW!! This was great information thanks!
  • joseph g.
    joseph g.
    EXTRAORDINARY! A good sense of reasoning and purpose. A ready-made resume.

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