Your resume is not about you

Posted by Trevor on 25 September 2012 | Post a Comment

Resume writing is a passion of mine, and I am happy to have helped develop hundreds of resumes for different people over the years. During my time as a sales manager, thousands of resumes came across my desk, most of them inadequate in candidates’ efforts to portray themselves to a potential employer. Therefore, I can tell you from experience that too often people approach resumes from the wrong perspective. You have to shift the focus from yourself, or else you risk being on a forgettable list of statistics.

The purpose of a resume is not to inform a potential employer of everything there possibly is to know about you. Your resume should be less about you and more about what you can do for the company. The goal is to intrigue an employer enough to be interested, while still withholding enough information that they feel enticed to call. It is the telephone call, not the résumé, which gets you the interview. Write your resume from the perspective of why hiring you will make a difference to their business, and explain why they need to give you a call.

This may be your one and only opportunity to attract the interest of a particular employer. If your resume gets tossed aside, it’s over. Your resume is your personal advertisement, and it is crucial to approach it with the same care and attention as you would a marketing campaign. You want to carefully craft it in such a manner that you encourage interest and stand out among the piles of other resumes. If you don’t have any marketing experience, find someone who does to help you prepare a resume with that approach.

Marketing is about identifying the customer’s needs and finding a way to satisfy them. Your resume should emulate this mentality. Target a company, find out what they need, and identify yourself as the solution. If you can express this within a couple of paragraphs, you are much more likely to get a response from a potential employer. Many resumes are pages of boring statistics about the person, and it is rare to see a carefully marketed resume. They definitely stand out.

One resume sticks out in my mind. In just a couple paragraphs, she basically told me what she could do for me and my company. She was completely unqualified, without even the minimum level degree requirements, but her resume was so well crafted that I couldn’t resist calling her. On the phone, she suggested an interview in such a manner that I couldn’t refuse, and I could easily see what an asset she would be to the company. She was a marketer, someone who had identified my need and having sold herself, closed the deal. Although I had a difficult time convincing the company to allow her employment, she turned out to be a top producer.

I remember this resume because this candidate had really thought about what the company needed and knew exactly what she could do to satisfy those needs. Your resume should not be all about you and your accomplishments. Instead, it should focus on two or three key paragraphs that explain why you are an advantage to a particular company. This may be your only chance to make an impression, so market yourself wisely.

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