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Many people mistakenly think of a resume as a record of employment when they should be thinking of it as a marketing tool. Anyone in the market for a new job needs to start thinking of potential employers as buyers and themselves as a product. Your resume should be designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).
A list of employers with descriptions of your daily responsibilities is not likely to inspire recruiters or hiring managers to contact you. A marketing piece that clearly demonstrates what you have to offer, what you can do to help them solve their problems, is what it takes to get interviews. Here are four ways to get noticed.
Replace the Objective Statement
If you haven’t already, it’s time to replace that tired, outdated objective statement. One of the hallmarks of the DIY resume is an objective statement that may read something like this: Seeking a challenging opportunity in a team-environment where I can use my skills and experience.
This is a problem for two reasons. First, it focuses on what the candidate wants instead of what the employer wants. Second, did you ever meet anyone who wasn’t seeking a challenging opportunity where he could use his skills and experience? Someone who was seeking a boring, tedious job?
Instead craft a summary statement that conveys what you can do for the potential employer. For example, here is a summary for a digital marketing executive:
Effective digital marketing executive with a demonstrated track record of growing organic search, engaging an online audience, and developing innovative email newsletters. A strategic thinker, problem solver and strong leader exceptional at judging talent and building a team.
Develop a Brand
Advertising folks know the importance of developing a brand. Since a resume is a marketing tool it’s important to have a branding element. A branding component might be a statement of your passion for the industry or how you work. It might be a testimonial from a client or praise from an employer.
You can extract a quote from a LinkedIn recommendation or letter from a client or something written on a recent performance review. Not only will a branding statement set you apart it will add a bit of personality and human touch to your resume.
Here’s an example from a digital marketing executive’s resume: Leveraging search and social media to develop audiences and drive business initiatives.
Create a Skills Summary
With the advent of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) the Key Word Summary has become a critical part of every resume. When you apply for a job online most resumes are scanned and put into a database.
When recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates they generally search using keywords associated with the open position. Just as with search engines having the right keywords in your resume can be the difference between coming in within the top ten and coming in at number 296.
At smaller companies without an ATS resumes may be reviewed by an admin in HR who is looking for keywords. If your key skills are buried in the body of your resume there’s a good chance they may be missed. So be sure to have a key word summary in the top third of the first page of your resume.
Focus on Accomplishments
Many resumes provide nothing more than the daily activities of the job. Job descriptions are full of statements like responsible for and duties included. Statements like this are not going to impress anyone. What employers are looking for are accomplishments. Things that you have done that have made money, saved money, saved time or helped the employer in some way.
Get started by thinking about things that weren’t working when you started at your current employer. Were clients unhappy? Was revenue down? Was it a chaotic environment? What did you do to make things better?
Go through this process for your last few jobs. Use the CAR approach — Challenge, Action, Result — to craft three to five accomplishments for each of your last few jobs. Use these on your resume to demonstrate your abilities.
Remember the HR associate starring at a pile of resumes is looking for ways to eliminate candidates not move them forward. If you don’t capture her attention right away you will probably end up in a database or worse in the circular file.
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