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How to write a winning resume: checklist for brainy jobseekers

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How to write a winning resume: checklist for brainy jobseekers

If you have ever tried writing a resume, you know how confusing the entire process is. How do you begin and what information do you include?

You won’t find a universal guide that would teach you how to compose the perfect resume. Some hiring managers want to see a brief summary on top, so they can quickly scan through the document. Others don’t like repetitiveness, so they prefer resumes without a summary section.

Being unable to read minds doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best efforts to craft a decent resume. The Essaymama’s infographic and tips below describes few pieces of information that you should inevitably include. If you start from there, you’ll easily create the foundation of your document, which will bring you to a concise and captivating resume.

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resume checklist_infographic

    1. Contact Info

    This is the easiest way to start composing a job application document: write your full name, address, email, and phone. A professionally-looking portrait is optional, but highly recommended. The photo will help the manager remember your application.

    Everyone knows you by a nickname? Don’t even think about including it! Speaking of professionalism, it’s finally time to abandon the first email name you created in high school. Create an account that’s worthy of including in a resume (it needs to contain your name).

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    2. Headline

    The headline should enable the employer to understand who you are and how you can contribute towards the company’s growth.

    The brand statement will make the employer more interested in you as a candidate. Thus, you should think of 1 or 2 sentences that explain your value, your audience, and your unique approach to work. The career objective should offer information on the type of work you would like to do, and the profile should show that you are suitable for that position.

    3. Experience

    This is easy: include everything! Make sure you provide the experience in chronological order and focus on the past 10-15 years. Provide the names of the companies, dates of employment, and the precise positions you worked at. Information about the salaries is not needed.

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    4. Education

    There is not much to say here: you need to enlist the colleges/universities you attended, and the degrees you have completed. Of course, it would be great to include any honors and special awards you have earned. If you attended college, don’t include information about high school, since it’s not relevant for the particular position.

    Most employers prefer to see the graduation date listed even if the candidate hasn’t completed the degree yet.

    5. Skills

    Think about the particular position and define the personal skills that make you an appropriate candidate. There are some universal characteristics that you can include: confident, organized, hardworking, creative, responsible, attentive to details… You should make sure these skills define you; don’t write an endless list of words that mean nothing.

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    6. ‘Extras’

    This section should enlist your publications, certifications and licenses. It’s not the time to be modest; include all awards you have earned. Professional affiliations are also necessary. Social media profiles are acceptable, but don’t include your personal profiles. Focus on professional LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.

    7. Formatting

    Once you get all that information on paper, it’s time to format the content! It’s recommended to use Times New Roman font in 10-12 point size. Do not make the text overly “creative”; there is no need to use more than 2 fonts and sizes. Break up the content with bullet points to make it more readable. Adding relevant keywords will make you more attractive for Applicant Tracking Systems! The format of your resume should be .pdf, doc or .docx.

    The resume should look very clean and professional, so you won’t get good attention if you use colored backgrounds, word art or clipart.

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    8. Grammar

    If the hiring manager notices lack of literacy in your resume, it will end up in the trash. Use action words and express yourself without any slang and jargon. Do not submit the resume without editing and proofreading it!

    It’s never easy to make yourself attractive through text in a specifically set format, but the above-listed guidelines will lead you in the right direction.

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    Jessica Millis

    An experienced writer, editor and educator who shares about tips on effective learning.

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    Last Updated on August 25, 2021

    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

    As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

    Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

    According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

    “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

    A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

    What Is Your Personal Brand?

    “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

    Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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    I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

    A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

    Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

    Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

    Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

    In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

    According to Castrillon,[2]

    “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

    The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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    As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

    In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

    “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

    When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

    The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

    Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

    The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

    5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

    These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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    1. Set Your Personal Goals

    What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

    2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

    Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

    1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
    2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
    3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
    4. What makes you different from others like you?

    The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

    3. Write Your Professional Story

    Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

    4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

    Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

    5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

    A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

    The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

    Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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    As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

    Other People’s Stories

    Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

    Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

    Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

    “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

    So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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