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10 Tips On How To Craft A Perfect Resume

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10 Tips On How To Craft A Perfect Resume

If you’re trying to nail your dream job, or just looking for some part-time work, having the perfect resume is vital. You need to stand out from the crowd on a piece of paper, and that is as difficult as it sounds. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

I have prepared and tailored resumes for several clients, and I have observed common mistakes made throughout. Though these may seem minor or superficial to you, they are the difference between an interview and a rejection. Here are some things you need to consider to make yours the perfect resume:

1. Standardise

Your resume should run standardised throughout: the formatting, the font, the colours, everything. Think about the opinion this gives an employer. If your resume is messy, that is the first impression they will have of you – sloppy, disorganised, and unmotivated. Depending on the job you are going for, either use simple spacing, and a clean readable font, or grab a template for a more creative approach. If you really want to stand out, go all out and make a totally unique template, but make sure it is standardised.

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2. Be transparent (social networks, phone number, address)

The perfect resume is all about you, and with the 21st century being a time of transparency (for both companies and individuals), make sure your resume reflects that you have nothing to hide. I don’t suggest adding your Twitter handle or Facebook profile to it (unless you’re going for a digital job, such as a social media role) but include your LinkedIn profile, address, and contact numbers. Employers like to know that they have the ability to contact you, or find out more information about you, from cues given within your resume. It also establishes a subtle trust between both parties.

3. Print your Pitch

If you don’t already have an elevator pitch I suggest you craft one. For those unfamiliar with the term, an elevator pitch is a quick 30-second summary of yourself, your ambitions, and your skills; you’re meant to be able to reel it off to a potential employer in a brief introduction. Not only does it help your employer, but it helps you understand yourself and what you want to be able to achieve. 30-seconds (or let’s say no more than 150 words) does not give you a lot of room for content, and forces you to prioritise your goals. Once you’ve crafted your self-summary, paste it into the top of your resume. Most employers don’t want to read your life story, but if they can understand you in 3 lines, you have a better chance at securing the job.

4. Tailor to your Market

This is probably the most important point on this list. For your resume to be perfect you have to understand who your employer is. The resume you send to Apple is not going to be the same as the one you send to Goldman Sachs. Do some research and understand your employer’s ethos, company culture, and desires. If you’re applying to a job posted, make sure you read the job description and find where you can highlight that you have the requirements – your experience, key skills, achievements, or education. If your resume is tailored to suit the employer, you have a greater chance even if you do not meet all the requirements. What’s better, a highly-experienced employee people don’t get on with, or a less-experienced employee who gets on with everyone?

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5. Get your things in order

The order of your resume is also vitally important. Personally, I would say there are 5 main sections to consider: Profile, Experience, Interests, Qualifications & Achievements, Key Skills. They are listed in the order I would use them, and here’s why:

Your profile is your elevator pitch. It’s the introduction/synopsis of your resume, and gives the reader a quick glimpse of who you are. Experience is next as they will want to see your experience. I place Interests before Qualifications because they give an insight into what you do outside of working hours, and a greater insight into your personality. Not only that, but if you have some interesting things you do on the side, it is a great way of showing intrinsic motivation. The only suggestion would be that do not include anything that seems very time- or attention-consuming: employers will want you to be dedicated to your work and will not like to see your attention being shared too greatly. Keep Qualifications brief, it’s just a formality to see what education you’ve undergone but does not necessarily play a huge part in the decision-making process (again, dependent on the type of job you are applying for). Key Skills again offers insight into what you think you are good at, displaying confidence and acquired skills. It is a nice way to funnel out at the end of a resume, a smooth ending.

6. Quality, not Quantity

Don’t write your life story. Only include experience and interests which you think are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’ve worked as an Intern for a competitor, that is more relevant than the fact that you did weekend shifts at Wall-mart. You get the gist, but this depends on how much experience you have to work with.

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7. Go Backwards in Time

Write your experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Your employer is more concerned with the job you just had then something you did 5, 10 years ago. However, relating to point 1, do this for all forms of time-scale throughout your resume. Consistency is key.

8. Unfinished Business

Do not omit any current or on-going work and projects. Your employers want to know what you are currently up to, to gauge whether or not you are ready for the job on offer. They will understand that in having a job you have to give notice periods and these do not often change the opinion of an employer. They would much rather know than not (point 2 – transparency).

9. Add some flare

Do not write your resume like it’s a status report. The common misconception is that a resume is there just so the employer knows what you’ve done, a historical document of your professional life. No! This is not the case. Your resume is designed to sell you. It’s a personal advert. Add some flare, some personality. You’re selling yourself, so sell YOU, not your experience.

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10. Include experience, aims, and achievements

So you’ve got some personality and your experience is listed. However, most people forget to include their aims, goals, and ambitions on their resumes. A company does not only want to know if you’re right for them, but if the company is right for you. They want to be sure that they can give you what you desire also, so that you can both grow alongside each other. This is more important than you think; it may be what you consider your ideal job, but if you feel like you are not learning or developing at all, you will slowly tire and get bored.

Extra Tip for Paper Resumes: Use heavy, quality paper. Psychological research has shown that resumes printed on heavier, good quality paper are seen as more important and better qualified than those on flimsy paper. If you really want the job, you’ve got to pull out all the stops.

I understand that this has been a somewhat lengthy article, but it was my intention to make it thorough the reasonings behind each section so as to give you more insight and ideas in formatting and writing your own resumes. I wish you all the best of luck with job-hunting, and hope your perfect resume allows you to get the perfect job.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via s3.amazonaws.com

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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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