Your resume is no longer the sole purveyor of information; employers can easily find information about you online. However, your resume remains an extremely valuable tool for introducing your brand to potential employers.
The key to branding your resume is to understand that it’s not an informational listing of your job history and educational credentials. It’s a key piece of marketing material, and everything on it should support and promote your personal brand.
Let’s start at the top. It’s generally accepted that prospective employers and other HR decision-makers typically spend only ten or 15 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to read further. Those ten or 15 make-or-break seconds are where you need to define yourself and your brand. For that reason, a branded resume does away with the traditional “Objective” statement at the top and replaces it with a personal branding statement.
|Old Resume: The Objective Statement||Branded Resume: The Personal Branding Statement|
|Tells the prospective employer what the applicant wants out of a new job||Opposite of the objective statement; spells out what the applicant can do, and the value she will bring, to the company that hires her|
|“I seek a rewarding position in advertising sales management that will challenge me to reach my full professional potential.”||“A focused and data-driven accounts manager who has doubled sales revenue at her previous three firms, I relish the chance to build a dynamic new sales team that will maximize revenue by systematically defining and expanding into untapped markets.”|
Then, reinforce your brand throughout the rest of your resume. Use each entry in your career history to illustrate your unique skills, showcase your accomplishments, and demonstrate the value you’ve brought to past employers.
|Old Resume: lists job functions||Branded Resume: reinforces the brand|
|“Responsible for building operations and maintenance”||“Streamlined building maintenance and operations and cut heating/cooling costs by 12 percent”|
The differences here are both stylistic and substantive. Stylistically, the use of strong, punchy verbs like “streamlined” and “spearheaded” sets you apart from applicants who resort to the dull and passive formulations of typical “resume-speak.” Substantively, citing specific accomplishments in your career history reinforces your brand by demonstrating the value that you’ve provided to past employers. Whenever possible, it’s good to provide statistics that quantify those accomplishments – numbers tend to jump off the page, and they provide an objective measure of your performance that will likely make a positive impression on HR decision-makers.
The key thing to remember is that your resume is no place for false modesty. It’s an important tool for marketing yourself and your brand, and it needs to highlight your strengths and accomplishments in the most forceful and credible terms possible.
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