When crafting a resume, you have two choices: write a bland template that disappears into the resume vortex, or create a personal branding story that strategically illustrates your value to the target company. Rather than list facts, make every element you include on a resume demonstrate how well you handle a specific set of responsibilities. Keep these five key areas in mind when deciding which elements strengthen your brand.
1. Target Job Title
Leave no doubt about your goals. For each application, customize the target job title on your resume by stating the exact position you want to obtain. Most importantly, always check this section before you finalize your submission to make sure you don’t leave a job title from a previous application, thereby undermining your personal branding message with a careless impression.
2. Profile/Career Summary
Rid your resume of the pointless objective statement. Based on the fact that they’re already reading your resume, hiring managers assume you’re interested in the job and don’t need wasted words to confirm it.
A career summary is your golden opportunity to make a direct personal branding statement that pinpoints your role in improving a company’s bottom line. Because your resume can’t always include every detail of your career, this profile mentions the full length of your work history, illustrates some highlights of your accomplishments and thematically links the skills you developed in different positions.
3. Bullet Points
Review the bullet points that describe your past jobs, and change their order for each application to prioritize the information most relevant to your personal branding framework. If you’re applying for a book marketing job, place the details of your role as a bookseller before descriptions of handling the register or restocking inventory.
4. Achievement Statements
Whenever possible, your bullets should describe an achievement — not a job duty — and the accomplishment details should always begin the statement. If your innovative customer service ideas improved your company’s retention rate, state a clear increase percentage that shows target employers you aim for results. Write statements that emphasize action and highlight your indispensable value, such as “recovered 10 percent of canceled accounts by establishing customer-polled service policies.”
5. Skills and Strengths
The skills section is often written to snag the attention of keyword tracking software, but it should also appeal to human recruiters. Fortunately, the shift toward online applications gives you more freedom to include supplementary information without overloading your resume. Provide links to social media profiles, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to reinforce your personal branding.
Make sure your profiles don’t contain negative information, and actively post material that shows a thematic connection between your education, enrichment programs, personal hobbies and work history. At the same time, you never know what skills or interests might make you stand out from the competition, so don’t assume you have to eliminate any trace of information that doesn’t directly relate to your job search.
Although you may not love the idea of being reduced to a product, personal branding is about turning your skills and personality into a definable and marketable package. Design a resume format that provides a consistent image and message, and your professional achievements should stand out as undeniable evidence that your qualities stack up to the competition.
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