Your Resume, Your Personal Brand

Your Resume, Your Personal Brand

As stated in a previous blog, interviews get you the job, but resumes get your foot in the door.  Your job search will go nowhere without an eye-catching resume.  And so, while many of the following tips might seem obvious to some, here are five helpful tips for turning that blank page into a winning resume that will take you to the next step of your job search. 

1. Your Resume Is Your Personal Brand

It doesn't matter how much experience you have; spelling mistakes, poor grammar, factual errors, confusing statements and an unprofessional layout will send the wrong message to those involved in the hiring process. Recruiters receive thousands of resumes a day and cannot waste time with candidates who do not show their resume the proper care that will lead to a job. Resumes with mistakes are often disregarded - thrown in the trash - and ignored in favor of those resumes that meet the basic requirements. Pay extra attention to your resume. Read it over several times and, if possible, show it to friends for feedback. This seems like the most obvious tip, but it's often the biggest problem with resumes today.  An over-reliance on spell check and a rush to get a resume in on time leads to costly errors.  It would be a shame to be qualified for a job and lose out, because of simple spelling mistakes.

2. Tailor Your Resume to the Job You Want

Unless, somehow, your experience working as a barista translates perfectly to a career as an IT consultant, it doesn't make sense to include unrelated work experience. At the same time, your supervisory role at Starbucks and the fact that you oversaw a staff of 12, and handled X amount of dollars, might make you a perfect fit as a manager at XYZ company. Your job is to make those judgment calls. Lay out all your work experience and then determine what fits and what doesn't. You do not want to confuse those reading your resume by including unnecessary details.

3. One Page Vs. Two Pages

This is one of the biggest debates involving resumes.  The answer will change depending on who you ask, but according to this blog, the answer is pretty cut and dry.  If you are a graduate with little to no experience, you don't need two pages, but if you are a senior executive with 10+ years of experience, it might make sense and could actually be helpful to provide a two-page resume that accurately represents you and the skill set you will bring to the job you are applying for.  Your resume should never spill over to the third page. 

4. Keywords Are Key

To strengthen your odds at advancing to the interview process, you need every potential keyword working for you; from industry buzz words to your biggest soft skills. Words like problem solving, leadership and oral/written communications often are flagged by computers that actively search for specific words before placing you into the next step of the application process. Research the job description for keywords you may want to use. Cheating the system is not always an option anymore. New computer software can now detect random keywords just thrown together at the bottom of the resume in "invisible" white text, so it's a safer bet to just work those keywords into your resume where applicable. Don't forget that while keywords are important, the second round will be conducted by a human touch and a compelling personal branding statement is still necessary to make the cut.

5. Quantify Your Results

This might be one of the most important parts of anyone's resume and it might be the most overlooked aspect.  In the end, all that really matters is how you will serve as an asset for a company.  Statements like: "Negotiated a $200 million advertising deal with XYZ company over three years," will separate yourself from your competitors and quickly get the attention of someone looking over your resume.  Why?  Numbers have meaning and people can relate to them more than they can relate to simple statements with no results included.  The statement "Negotiated advertising deals with various companies" will not win future employers over.  Look through your CV and wherever possible, quantify aspects of your job to paint a brighter picture of your value to the company.

Read additional career insights from John Minners on is the source of employer and education ratings, rankings and insight for highly credentialed, in-demand candidates. Vault's editorial mission is to empower candidates with unbiased research needed to evaluate the professions, industries and companies they aspire to join.  


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