Four Tips to Power-Up Your Resume

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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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  • Geraldine Jones-Page
    Geraldine Jones-Page
    Thank you for the suggestion.  I will give it a try.
  • Cheryl Jackson
    Cheryl Jackson
    This information was great and it does help you to look back on your resume. But how do you sell clerk, general office clerk?
    This is fantastic and very helpful
  • Ceciliah Ongweny
    Ceciliah Ongweny
    Excellent insight!!
  • jyothi harishkumar
    jyothi harishkumar
    This is very informative and brilliant and more tips please........
  • Zahid
    I can't know before, now i know that Excellent...
  • pinkie papane
    pinkie papane
    true that Mr Joe Turner.nothing hurts like the truth, believe this is what most people write and from what i read today...that is brillant. Will be working on mine from today,more tips please...
  • Jaclyn Guarino
    Jaclyn Guarino
    these are great tips, but a new grad fresh out of college is not going to have anything that makes them stand out except "NEW GRAD" "NO EXPERIENCE". I'm a recent nursing grad who thought the job market for nurses would be bountiful. Boy was I wrong. Everyone wants experience which is something I will not get unless I get a chance. Any suggestions for those who have no experience and want to stand out?
    I never knew about it until this time.Thanks a lot,very excellent.
  • Jaimes Myers
    Jaimes Myers
    I am going to the library to check out the Martin Yate's books. I have sent out my resume to more than fifty places and have only heard back from two or three loosers.Hope it helps.
  • Edward Bronstein
    Edward Bronstein
    These tips sound very helpful.
    this is great information
  • Ramesh Chirra
    Ramesh Chirra
    I just want to take this time and say thank you for those wonderful tips on upgrading my resume. Now that I know to add a power statement and cover page that attracts employers to hire and not just review my Resume. My Resume will not just only be reading material but get me hired!
    This was helpful. Thanks for your guidance.
  • Chahid F
    Chahid F
    Useful advice. My only reservation is that there are many non-profit/public/voluntary organisations whose main purpose is not just to make or save money.
  • Simona
    Thank you for your time and advise. This article is very helpful. But it is more difficult when you apply for an ordinary position. Nobody gives tips for the resume applicable to a clener, server, driver, or a clerk, etc.
  • sonia kuczynski
    sonia kuczynski
    there is never enough info on how to promote your resume for an accounting clerk position and make yourself stand out, it is time someone provides this info.
  • Donald Dean
    Donald Dean
    Great information. It helps you take a second look at your resume to see if it has impact.
  • Charles Hadden
    Charles Hadden
    Formatting can greatly enhance ones resume and make it faster and easier to read and navigate.
  • Paul Owako
    Paul Owako
    This is really great. Thank you for these tips. Employers will receive more of appropriate insight from me and value my resume much higher than before. I am currently editing my resume and am very confident i will be among the best candidates for the specific job i have applied for.  You have made my prospects better and greater!
  • Susan Mulligan
    Susan Mulligan
    Thank you Mr. Turner, great article!  I am an Seasoned Executive Assistant in Chicago with over 15 years of experience with major corporations. I have no college degree only the years of business experience that I have learned working in corporate office environments.  
    Great work
  • Shirita High
    Shirita High
    I have worked in several office jobs, and I enjoyed the work environment.  However, I would have preferred working in a hospital or health center.  As I was reading the information it gave me a sense of awareness concerning my resume and what employers expect from me.  I guess I've never seen it as branding for my own recognition for any employer. I have edited some things on my resume for future interviews.Thank You for helping me to achieve my goals.
  • Lynn  Johnson
    Lynn  Johnson
    I just want to take this time and say thank you for those wonderful tips on upgrading my resume. Now if you could help me understand the cover letter I will be grateful.
  • augustine ansong owusu
    augustine ansong owusu
    this is very great and persuasive to sell myself as a brand!!!thank you

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