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How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

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How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

Just a few years ago, I was at that pivotal point when crafting the perfect resume was the only thing standing between me and professional success. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but these days, you just can’t take the clout of your resume for granted, especially if you want a job that is highly sought-after.

Now I’m at an odd stage where I am actually the person looking through resumes and trying to hire people. And let me tell you, It is rough. Here is my guide for drafting your ideal resume, no matter what your professional situation is. My hope is that my past and present experiences will give you an insight into what employers are really looking for and how you can stand apart.

Layout

The first step is to decide on how you want everything laid out. You don’t want to go crazy with the design of the resume just yet, since it’s far easier to polish the look once everything is complete.

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The first thing you’ll need is an objective statement, which should be one sentence that acknowledges your intent to obtain the job and work for that company. People go back and forth on whether or not this is necessary, but I always recommend it, if done well. Its actual purpose is to tell the hiring manager that you are actually looking for a job in the profession that is relevant to what you’re applying for. Yes, you can do this in the cover letter, but covering your bases doesn’t hurt, and some people are more traditional and expect the objective statement.

Education

At this point, decide on what flow you want to use for the resume. In almost all cases, list your education first. This is crucial if you are a recent graduate, since it showcases your worth as an investment. If you’re still in school, write your expected graduation date and be specific about your major, minor and any specializations. If you have room to spare, consider listing some relevant courses that will display what you really learned.

Also, and this is a big one, put your GPA on the resume unless it is under 3.0. In some cases, you might be told to leave it out if it is under 3.5 or even 4.0. The trick is to discern how much value a particular hiring manager will see in your GPA.

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Experience

Next, I advise that you list memberships and school affiliations later on, so you don’t crowd education and can get to what reinforces your education: work experience. For some, you may have too many jobs in your background and will have to leave some out. My go-to approach has been to include only the jobs and internships that relate directly to my current profession. That way, you can still bring up other jobs in the interview.

For example, the interviewer may mention that the job you’re applying for has an element of customer service. You can respond by saying, “Actually, I worked in an outlet store during college and learned a lot about customer service. I just didn’t have room for it on the resume.” As long as you are tactful about presenting yourself professionally and honestly, the interviewer will no doubt be impressed by your work history.

Next, I’m going to give you what is probably the most important tip there is to writing your resume, and it involves how you describe your past jobs. Underneath your job title and company name, you probably know that it is essential to record what you actually did for that job. Ninety percent of people write this part of their resume in a list format, highlighting the things that they did. Be like the rare 10 percent and write what you accomplished.

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The difference between a task-based resume and an accomplishment-based resume should be obvious. When an employer is looking at two resumes side-by-side (trust me, we do that), he is far more likely to be persuaded by work experience that shows that you provide a return on investment.

If you craft your resume to simply show that you “managed teams” and “coordinated strategies,” then an employer will likely gloss over it. If you focus on the results, however, by showing that you “implemented strategies that increased revenue” and “organized an event that doubled last year’s attendance,” then the employer has confidence that you provide value to the position you are striving for.

Skills

Finally, it’s time to list your professional skills and affiliations. Remember to focus on skills that tie into the job you’re looking for and bolster what you’ve already listed in your work experience. They should flow pretty naturally from what you can really do. Make sure you don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on!

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If you happen to have references or even a portfolio, you should absolutely include the traditional “References and portfolio available upon request,” which makes a great end to a consistent resume.

Edit

Now that you’ve completed the layout and flow of the resume, go back and edit the thing to pieces. I strongly advise that you keep the resume to one page, no matter how difficult it might be (only in rare situations is this not necessary). Contact information should go at the top close to your name and should include a phone number, email, personal website/LinkedIn and the city/state where you live (especially if this is a local job).

The easiest way to make a resume look good is to choose the right font. Just make sure that it is not a display font like Papyrus or Comic Sans. Be more original and check out great font websites like LostType. Last, but definitely not least, ask for a second opinion. Put your resume in front of a professional or mentor who will give you constructive feedback. I hope this guide helps, and be sure to sound off your own tips or experience in the comments for other readers!

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Jon Negroni

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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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