by Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write
Your résumé is possibly the most important piece of marketing collateral you will ever create. The primary purpose of a résumé is to entice potential hiring managers and recruiters to buy your brand. It would be nice if you could generate a slick brochure with the top six reasons why you are the best candidate for the job and be done with it; but I am not sure that would fly.
There are two basic elements that need to be considered when developing a focused “all about the value that is you” résumé - the content and the visual appeal. Surprisingly, I have had many a marketing candidate come to me for résumé help not knowing where to begin. Sometimes it can be easier to market a product or service offering than it is to promote yourself.
Here are a few practical tips to help you create a résumé that will get attention and get results:
1. Choose an aesthetically pleasing layout and design. Often, the use of boxes, shading, lines, and special characters can add a unique look to your résumé that will garner more attention. Color can also be an effective attention grabber if done correctly. You can overdo this – so you need to be judicious with aggressive formatting.
2. Define your brand. What key attributes make you unique? Think about your top selling points. What are some of the reasons the hiring manager should put you on the top of the call list?
3. Create a powerful headline and branding statement. Once you have generated a short list of your top selling points, it is time to create a strong opening for your résumé. Many candidates forget this critical step and launch right into their career history. A branding statement can either be a sentence that defines you, or it can be a few short titles you might be likely to hold given your strengths.
4. Generate an award winning summary. By pointing out your best features and listing several accomplishments in a brief paragraph or bulleted list, you can grab the attention of hiring managers and recruiters early on.
5. List your core competencies. As with a good marketing document, by generating a shortlist of your key areas of expertise, you can make it easy for “buyers” to get a fast glance at your selling points. This list will also provide keywords for electronic searches of your résumé.
6. Use the SAR method to highlight your achievements. SAR stands for Situation – Action – Result. When creating a résumé you must provide details. Hiring managers want specifics. Brainstorm to think of situations in which you took specific action and describe that action. Then explain the outcome of your efforts. How did your efforts impact the project or initiative in a way that increased revenue?
By using some of the expertise you have acquired in the field of marketing and following the steps above, you can create a compelling résumé that brings attention to your special skills and abilities. The job market is competitive and going the extra mile to create career documents that effectively position you as “the brand to buy” is well worth the effort.
Debra Wheatman is the president of Careers Done Write and an AMA Career Resource Center contributor. Read more from Debra here or follow her on twitter at @DebraWheatman.