I think you’ll agree with me that marketing yourself is one of the toughest projects you’ll ever face. We’re all great at marketing the products and services of our companies, but not so much when it comes to promoting ourselves.
It is not so hard to promote yourself if you approach it like a marketing problem. Who is your target audience? How do you solve the pains of your potential employer? What is it that is unique about you? And, how do you convey that?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I never had a class in college called Resume Writing 101. Consider this article your first class in that course. By the end, it will help you create a marketing resume that gets you interviews.
I want you to dig out your most current resume. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What? You don’t have a current resume?!
Lesson one: Even if you’re not actively job searching, you should have an up-to-date resume. You never know when that recruiter may call with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Lesson two is going to walk you through each section of the resume and how to position yourself to stand out from the competition.
Please note, some of the recommendations below to enhance your resume will make it unsuitable to pass through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Watch for the ATS tips to format a version for online applications.
1. The Header
One simple way to stand out from the crowd with your resume is to design a professional-looking masthead for it. The majority of resumes I see have contact information presented like this:While there is nothing eminently wrong with this, it does not stand out in any way. Stacking the data in this way also takes up precious space.
Instead, you can do something similar to the killer example. Get creative with font sizes and don’t feel like you need to dedicate a whole line to each data point.
ATS Tip: When submitting your resume online, you do need to devote each data point to its own line as applicant tracking systems read that much better. Also, make sure this content is not in the header or footer section of Word.
2. Title and Summary
Think of this section as your elevator pitch or unique selling proposition. Recruiters only spend about six seconds looking at your resume to decide if you go in the yes or the no pile, so this area of your resume is hugely important.
If I had to hazard a guess, I bet most of you have a summary section that looks something like below.In the killer example, you’ll not only see a target job title, but there is a subhead that serves as a personal branding statement. This candidate had a history throughout his career of growing successful brands to be No. 1 in their markets, so we really wanted to highlight that.
You’ll see more details in the three bullets of the specifics and some of the strategies he used to get there.