Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2016 Contents B20
Guardian guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 30, 2016
You're suddenly facing a job
search, so you rush right to your
resume (if you can find it) to
update it. But wait! You may not
be ready to tackle your resume
If it's been several years since you
revisited your resume, or if you're
one of those lucky people who never
needed a resume, you may not be
aware of how much resumes have
changed in the past several years.
Before working on your resume,
re-think how to update it, so that
you'll create a career marketing doc-
ument that will optimally do its job
-- land you interviews.
Have you been paying attention
to all the talk these days about per-
sonal branding? How your brand
should be built around what makes
you a good fit for your target
employers? How resume branding
can help you clearly identify and
communicate what differentiates you
from your job-seeking competitors?
Most importantly, you may not
understand that step one in job
search is NOT diving right into writ-
ing your resume.
Step one in a successful job search
is laying out the groundwork with
targeting and branding. Once you've
done that, you'll have the informa-
tion about your target audience and
yourself that you'll need to write a
compelling resume and to network
and interveiw effectively.
Here are 10 tips to build an inter-
Before you can define your brand
and create content for your resume,
you need to know who you're tar-
geting . . . who will be reading your
resume. You'll need to decide what
kind of job you'll be seeking, compile
a list of companies you want to work
for, research their current challenges
and needs, and determine how you
can help them meet those challenges.
Doing this will help you align
everything in your resume with what
your target employers will be looking
for in candidates. Industry and com-
pany research, and the information
you'll find in job descriptions, will
help you identify required qualifi-
cations and those all-important rel-
evant keywords that need to be in
your resume. A Google search of your
target companies, the companies'
websites and Indeed.com are good
2. Personal Branding and Value
Branding is no longer optional.
Your competitors could well be using
this method to differentiate them-
selves. You need to brand yourself
and the unique value you offer, just
to keep pace with them.
3. Write Down Your Career Suc-
Instead of merely listing a string
of relevant keyword phrases in your
resume, back them up by providing
specific examples of your achieve-
ments and how they impacted the
company -- saved them money, made
them money, improved processes,
improved customer satisfaction, etc.
Show them the numbers! Think of
the best contributions you've made
to your employers, in terms of high-
est value to them.
WRITING YOUR RESUME
4. Skip the Objective Statement
Employers don't care that you
want a "challenging position to
advance my career"
. They want to
know what you'll do for them and
whether you'll be a good hiring
choice. Objective statements waste
valuable space and prime real estate
on the page.
5. Real Estate and Strategic Posi-
Busy HR people and other hiring
decision makers typically allow only
10-15 seconds to scan a resume and
decide whether you're a person they
want to interview.
Their eyes will go right to the top
third or half of page one first, and
may go no further. You need to cap-
ture their attention and hold it by
encapsulating the best you have to
offer in that spot on the page.
Suggestions for branding "above
• Lead with a hard-hitting personal
brand statement that includes your
most important relevant keywords
and describes your ROI (Return
on Investment) value to your target
• Add a powerful quote from a
recent performance review or
someone you work with.
• Include 3 or 4 short value-driven
bulleted statements with numbers.
6. Readability, Formatting and
Avoid densely packed, hard-to-
read information. Remember that,
when you email your digital resume,
the reader could open up and view
your document on their PDA . . .
that's a very small screen. Shorter
chunks of information are easier to
read -- on your digital or paper
resume -- and will draw the reader's
eye to continue down the page.
Keep the formatting attractive,
consistent, and clean. Don't use more
than 2 different fonts (one for head-
ings, another for content), and don't
choose frilly, unprofessional fonts.
Use graphic lines sparingly and avoid
As far as length, recent grads or
those with only a few years' expe-
rience should be able to keep it to
one page. Executives and more expe-
rienced job seekers should try not
to go over 2 pages.
Remember that a resume is a
career marketing communication,
not a career history. It needs to
incorporate just enough compelling
information to generate interest in
you. Everything in your resume must
be there for a reason. Nothing should
be arbitrary. Pare down your content
7. Typos and Grammar
It should go without saying that
typos and errors in grammar are the
kiss of death. They may also convey
misinformation. Proofread several
times and have someone else do it,
too. Don't rely on spellcheck. Make
sure your contact information is
8. Overused "Resume-Speak"
You're not like everyone else.
Your resume shouldn't read like
everyone else who's competing
for the same jobs. You've done
the branding work, so you know
what differentiates you. Make
that come across in your resume.
Keep the content interesting and
don't fall back on dull phrases
that don't differentiate you, such
as results-oriented, visionary
leader, excellent communication
skills, proven track record of suc-
9. Passive Verbs
Avoid the anemic, boring
phrase "responsible for"
your vitality with robust action
verbs, identify your personal
brand attributes, and explain
your niche expertise with rele-
vant key words. Use strong words
like advanced, drove, spearhead-
ed, accelerated, optimized,
streamlined, leveraged, etc.
10. Repetitive Job Descrip-
Don't waste precious space in
the "Professional Experience"
section reiterating obvious
responsibilities. Readers will
already know the basic duties for
your jobs. Reinforce your brand
by highlighting your relevant
keyword phrases linked to spe-
cific examples of the value you
offered your past employers.
Yes, all of this takes a lot of
time. But the work you do, and
the content you create, defining
your personal brand and devel-
oping your resume (and biogra-
phy and other career documents)
around it, forms the foundation
for all your personal marketing
materials, online and offline, and
offers many benefits:
• Energizes you with what dif-
ferentiates your value propo-
sition to your target employ-
• Helps you know how to tell
your network how they can
help you achieve your career
• Prepares you to speak confi-
dently and knowledgeably
about the value you offer.
• Provides a wealth of on-brand
information to re-purpose for
each of your online profiles
and any web pages you create.
• Prepares you to network and
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