Your resume is a powerful self-marketing tool. It’s your calling card — your first opportunity to impart a lasting impression of yourself.
Hiring managers will typically extend only 10-15 seconds to glance at your resume and make a judgment call as to whether or not to read the entire document.
With such fierce and daunting competition for quality jobs during these difficult economic times, a resume must immediately inspire and grasp the attention of the reader, positioning you above the competition. The secret is to define your unique brand in your resume.
Your personal brand
Branding is best defined as a promise of value — a consolidation of the key strengths and benefits you bring to a prospective employer. It’s a combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that defines your unique image, one that differentiates you from other candidates. Your branding statement should sum up your value proposition, encapsulate your qualities, showcase what sets you apart from others and describe the added value you bring to the organization.
Your personal brand is comparable to a sales pitch and will make you positively stand out in your job search. Consider celebrities Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno. Their names communicate a clear message about who they are, what they represent and what makes them unique.
Starting at the top
Since the top part of the first page of a resume introduces the candidate, it should pack a powerful punch to quickly draw-in and seize the reader’s attention. It encompasses your branding ‘title’ (e.g., registered nurse), and your profile. Your profile should contain promotional ‘ad-like’ comments that immediately convey what you bring to the company. Some of the vital elements the job seeker should consider when crafting a branding statement are:
- The qualities or characteristics that differentiate you
- Your consistent track record of growth and accomplishment
- Your most noteworthy personal traits
- Your problem-solving attributes
- Your passion, energy and innovation
The branding message at the top of your resume should be woven into the fabric of the resume with the same consistent theme to avoid any ambiguity or contradiction. Every subsequent word and bullet point should support the branding boldly conveyed at the top.
The most effective way to prove your value to prospective employers is to provide three or four bulleted points under each employer in the ‘Experience’ section. These should demonstrate what you have achieved, in terms of measurable results, if possible:
‘Captured unprecedented market share in poorly performing territory, achieving 110 percent of quota’
‘Developed innovative training manuals and programs to streamline employee orientation’
A well-branded resume often means the difference between landing just another job and winning a dream job at the salary you deserve. Investing the time and effort to ensure your resume is personally branded will pay dividends. It’s your opportunity to be prequalified by hiring managers as a good fit for their organizations and gain a competitive advantage over other job candidates. A winning resume always stands out from the crowd.