You may not think you are in sales, but if you are involved in a job search, you are! It’s important to understand that your resume is more than a calling card and less than a comprehensive record of your career. Your resume is a marketing brochure for what you want the company to buy – and that’s YOU!
Although you may not have a background in marketing or sales, thinking about yourself as the “product” your resume is selling can help you land an interview. It can also be helpful to move your focus away from your personal goals in the documents. If you are still using an objective statement in your resume, that may be enough for a hiring manager to toss your resume aside. Hiring managers are not looking for ways to provide professional development and new opportunities to people off the street. They are already obligated to meet the training needs for staff members currently on the payroll.
Take an honest look at your existing documents. Does your resume talk too much about what you are looking for and not enough about what your value to the company may be? In other words, don’t include an objective or any material benefits or experiences you hope to obtain from the position. Definitely stay away from personal issues or any growth opportunities you may be seeking. The potential employer wants to hire someone who can immediately contribute to their bottom line. Lay the foundation by providing proof of your strengths in the resume, and use the interview to expand from there.
For a resume to be effective, you need to demonstrate your strengths rather than telling about them. Start with the end result and then explain how you achieved it. The end result might be sales figures, number of people trained, successful projects managed, or events planned. Follow up those impressive results with a description of how you made that happen. You want your explanation to describe your strengths and present your ability to add value in a way that only you can deliver!
Before getting too far into the details of your resume, remember that the saying “location, location, location” doesn’t just apply to real estate. You need to take advantage of the prime real estate that is the first half of the first page of your resume. This is where you want to pack a punch. You have to grab the hiring manager’s attention in those first few words, so make them count! Be certain to highlight your unique strengths and accomplishments instead of using an old-style objective at the top of your resume. Use key words from your industry in this area, too. Be certain to link these sales points with the demonstration of your skills that you will outline in the rest of your resume.
Remember, you have to be able to back up this powerful introduction with the details that tell your story. But what story is your resume telling about you? Try to read it as if it were not your personal history. Can you tell what your target position is from the resume? Have you put your bachelor’s degree from 1992 at the top of your resume? You don’t have a lot of time or space to tell your complete history in the resume. It needs to be a brief sales pitch that’s effective enough to impress the hiring manager so they call you.
Are your details buried in too many bullets and too much description? Keep in mind the sales points you want your resume to communicate to the reader as you revise your documents. Marketing experts know that the message has to be consistent and targeted to be remembered. Apply the same strategy to your resume to create the impression you want.
Is your resume unique in how it presents your career progression? Caught you, didn’t I? You probably thought I was suggesting you use some kind of unique visual presentation to grab the attention of the hiring manager, but that is not important to them. They want to hear your story and a demonstration of achievements. They are not looking for a story-book – no visual aids required!
Finally, show that you have the range to meet the basic needs described in the position qualifications, as well as the strategies necessary to go beyond and deliver a top performance. Make certain that your resume communicates your potential value to the employer. Use your research on the position and the company to align your strengths with their needs. With the right marketing in your resume, there will be no question that you are the ONLY candidate who can meet their needs! The hiring manager will be picking up the phone to call you after reading your brochure – I mean, your resume!