Follow these 5 steps when writing your resume and you’ll give yourself a strong and distinct position in today’s remarkably competitive job market.
1. Sell your success.
Resume writing is all about sales, marketing and merchandising. You’re the product and the resume is the sales piece that you’ll use to merchandise your achievements … things that you have done to help increase revenues, reduce costs, improve profitability, develop new products, open new markets, capture new accounts, improve quality, increase productivity … the list goes on and on.
Remember, past behavior is indicative of future performance; be certain to showcase your achievements so that prospective employers can read about all of the wonderful things that you’ll be doing for them!
2. Be a specialist; not a generalist.
Although you might think a more generalized resume would attract lots of different types of opportunities, the exact opposite is true. Companies want to hire individuals with a specific area of expertise. If the job posting is for a Traffic Planning Analyst and you have that experience, then write a resume that positions you as someone with a wealth of experience in traffic planning and related functions. Don’t make a prospective employer have to “dig down” into your resume to find that information. They won’t!
3. Write to the future.
When writing your resume, write “to” your objective, showcasing your skills, qualifications, training, achievements and more that are related to your current career objectives. Don’t focus on things that you’ve done that have nothing to do with your current goals. Re-weight your skills to emphasize those most supportive of your goals and move them to the forefront of your resume. Then you’re certain to create the right perception of yourself as you want a prospective employer to see. Just remember … 100% honesty is always the policy!
4. Brand yourself for competitive distinction.
Think about it … basically, every budget analyst does the same thing. They prepare budgets, financial statements and reports, forecasts, financial analyses, etc., etc., etc. The same can be said for just about any profession.
So, what can you do to distinguish yourself from the crowd of candidates with all of the same skills? The answer … a branding statement that highlights your unique value proposition; the one thing that you do better than anything else, and then prominently showcases that. If you were an IT Manager, your headline and branding statement might read something like this:
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGER
Designing next-generation technologies that consistently out-perform and out-innovate the competition
5. Use the right keywords and keyword phrases.
In today’s electronic job market, chances are your resume is going to be scanned by a computer long before a person ever lays eyes on it. As such, you must be certain that you have the “right” keywords for the position and industry that you are seeking. Suppose you’re a Vice President of Sales looking to transition from sales into marketing.
DO NOT focus your language on “sales” words (e.g., territory management, sales team training, key account management). Rather, transition your sales skills into “marketing” words (e.g., strategic market planning, competitive analysis, new business development). By doing so, you are presenting yourself as a qualified marketing professional and not just “some sales guy trying to transition into marketing.” You don’t want to transition into something; rather, you already want to be that something!