If your resume is not getting the results you’d expect based on your skills and experience, maybe it needs to be evaluated. All the information could be perfect; perfectly bland. Here’s a fast way to evaluate your resume, and it’s based on the way it will be evaluated when it reaches that VIP looking for someone to fill a position: Pick up your resume and scan it for 30 seconds, then cover it and write down what you remember.
Actually, thirty seconds might be longer than most HR people look at it, but they have developed serious speed reading skills. What do you remember about your resume? What stands out?
Now consider that your resume is something you are familiar with — and it was probably hard to remember what you said about yourself. Imagine what it’s like to read through hundreds of resumes in an attempt to find the best candidates to call in for interviews! These people don’t know you, and they do know what they need in the position.
Be Memorable and Consistent
The keywords that need to be there are the words used in the job ad, because that’s what they are looking for. But you are offering a unique spin on that because of your individuality. Build on that uniqueness by presenting yourself with synonyms of those keywords where it’s appropriate and keep a consistency throughout your resume by answering the question in their mind: Why should I hire you?
Another way to say the same thing is, “who are you and what do you bring to this position?” If the answer to the question in their mind isn’t obvious, then you need to work on your resume until it can answer that question with fast and clear.
At least twice a week clients will ask me if their resumes have enough branding–specifically, executive branding. Does their resume accurately reflect their expertise and what they are recognized for? Can I tell what their brand might be? Usually, my answer to these questions is NO. Your executive brand doesn’t always speak for itself, especially if your resume is basically a job description of what you’ve been doing. No, you have to sprinkle aspects of your brand throughout your resume and let your reader know who you are.
How Do You Make Your Brand Stand Out on Your Resume?
Your brand is something that makes you uniquely you. You’ve had a steady career progression and along the way have honed your skills, learned new things, and carved out a name for yourself. You have distinguished yourself from others this way. You’ve also used your qualities to guide you to the next level in your career.
A brand is an evolution of where you are today. It communicates your value to the reader. Have you Googled yourself lately? What comes up in the searches next to your name? That will help you realize your brand. To represent your brand on your executive resume, make a list of 5-10 strengths and personal attributes that describe you. Are these strengths and attributes on your resume? If a reader were to glance at your resume, would they be able to tell within 10-20 seconds what your brand is, who you are, and what you bring to the table? Is the first half of your resume selling the reader on your brand? I know sometimes this can feel like a difficult thing to do. Many of our clients tell us they have this information but are unsure of how to incorporate that into their resume. There is help for that. There are many talented executive resume writers who specialize in executive branding and can walk through it with you. Whether you hire someone to help you with that or do it yourself, the most important thing is that your resume is infused with your unique brand.
If you aren’t living under a rock, you have been hearing lots of buzz about “branding“. So, what exactly IS branding and how will it help my executive resume? What will it do for me?
With the tight job market today, and thousands of qualified senior level candidates, employers can afford to be picky. How do you get to the top of the pile? How are you going to stand out? Your brand.
Your personal brand is the promise of the value you bring to the company. Your unique-ness. What makes you, you.
Think “Heinz”. When I say that, what immediately comes to mind? Ketchup. You know exactly what it will look like, taste like, smell like, etc. Heinz’ brand offers the promise of tomatoe-y goodness on a french fry or hot dog, right?
It’s more about action, rather than words. What you can do for the company? I talk to my clients about that all the time. In promoting your executive brand on your resume, you are stating to the company, “This is who I am, these are what my strengths are, and this is what I can do for you.” You have to uncover your assets and cultivate them in order to drive credibility and increase your professional/executive presence.
There is so much to be gained from branding your executive resume for the job search. One of the main reasons I like branding resumes is because there is no guesswork involved in what the person does, what their strengths are, and what they are recognized for. Any recruiter out there would agree– there is nothing worse than getting a resume that has no identifiable statements at first glance of what they do– you have to read line by line halfway down the page to figure out, “Ohhhhh, they are Senior VP at the firm, OK.”
I will get more into executive branding in future posts– how it can help you: increase your visibility and online presence, differentiate you from your peers, help you achieve professional success, realize how people will be drawn to you, want to follow/listen to you, and more.
So, in the mean time, dig deep, discover what makes you tick– your strengths, drive, and interests– and start building your brand.