PART III OF IV IN THE "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME" SERIES
In the last post titled, "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME – PART II: THE “CAREER PLANNING BLUEPRINT” & THE DATA DRIVEN JOB SEEKER" you learned the importance of being a data-driven job seeker, and each stage of the job search "funnel" that you need to advance through to progress successfully in your job search. As part of this funnel, once you get your resume or profile in front of a Recruiter's eyes, you only have ~6 seconds to catch their attention before they move on. Crafting an eye-catching Professional Summary at the top of your resume is your one chance to coax Recruiters deeper into your experience, skills, and successes. You had better get it right, and after reading this article, you'll have the intel you need to stop Recruiters in their tracks and even make an unforgettable connection.
WHAT MAKES THE "PERFECT" RESUME?
By now, you may be starting to wonder "what makes the perfect resume?" as the title of this series indicates. We've already covered some critical aspects, but let's go through all of them from a holistic perspective.
- Do you have the requisite skills & experience
- Keywords that align with searches
- Content that scores high in (gets past) ATS filters and bots
- Is your resume appealing to humans
- Does your desire for this job make sense in your career arc
- Properly formatted - no grammatical, spelling or formatting errors
- What separates you from the masses
We've covered #1 by integrating the proper Keywords in "How To Write The Perfect Resume - Part I: SEO, Keywords, & Bots. Oh, My!" Using the Career Planning Blueprint we can ensure that our career arc makes sense, which we covered in "How To Write The Perfect Resume - Part II: The "Career Planning Blueprint" & The Data Driven Job Seeker." Now, the next two items are more aligned with your Personal Brand, which we'll cover next.
ARTICULATING YOUR "PERSONAL BRAND" TO SET YOURSELF APART
First, let's talk a little bit about your Personal Brand. While we won't get into the minutiae of what makes a "brand," for simplicity, we'll define your Personal Brand as everything you do that represents you, including the style of elements, fonts, layout, colors, images and language you use in your resume, LinkedIn Profile, blog, posts, presentations, social media sites, etc.
If you haven't given much thought to your Personal Brand, perhaps now is a great time. You want to create an image that reinforces the position that you are pursuing. You want to create parity between all of your online presences, to present a consistent theme, quality, and experience to everyone with whom your brand touches.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO SANITIZE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE FIRST
60% of employers view social media profiles of candidates. What is your social media profile saying about you, the job candidate? If you haven't viewed your Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn profile through the lens of a hiring manager, please take a few moments now to do so. Then, integrate a few of these tips to improve your job search using social media.
Now, you have already started on the journey to hone your Personal Brand. Remember this is not a one-off; your Personal Brand is built over time and across all of the touchpoints that Recruiters and hiring managers will have on your job search journey. Therefore, moving forward, you will keep your Personal Brand in mind as you create more content on the wild, wild web.
YOUR PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY/TAGLINE AND WHY IT MATTERS
OK, you've bypassed several hurdles in the job search quest, and you've got your resume in front of a Recruiter's eyes. It's the moment of truth. Your objective is now twofold:
- Reinforce your product-market fit for the role
- Set yourself apart from and above the competition
You've crafted your past employment experience to align perfectly with the job for which you are being considered, but we need to use the top of your resume to entice them to look deeper. We do this through the "Professional Summary."
The Professional Summary is your executive summary at the top of your resume, and it includes a sentence that highlights your years of experience, discipline, and highly relevant experience. Think of it as a (generally) one-sentence elevator pitch that highlights the key attributes that a potential employer or Recruiter would need to qualify you for a position. We'll also re-purpose this one sentence as your "Tagline" for your LinkedIn Profile, albeit limited to 120 characters as this is the limit set by LinkedIn.
- Desired or current profession and years of experience
- Relevant skills
- Degrees (e.g. MBA), Certifications or professional memberships
Each of these keystone elements is an opportunity to include high-value Keywords that Recruiters may be searching for. While not all of these elements may make sense for every opportunity, it provides a good blueprint upon which to build your own Professional Summary. Here's just one example of a Professional Summary:
CMO, MBA & Mechanical Engineer with 13 years experience launching SaaS startups, scaling predictable growth, and hitting revenue targets in Enterprise FinTech, and Healthcare.
Just below this, we include a bulleted list of our "Offering," or the strategies and tactics we plan on implementing in our new role to hit the ground running. Again, this is an opportunity to integrate high-value Keywords near the top of our resume or profile for the search algorithms, bots, and Recruiters, but it also demonstrates initiative on what we're excited to bring to the table when we are hired. Here's an example of an Offering:
- Develop a growth strategy, execute hands-on tactics and build an agile marketing team
- Leverage analytics, A/B testing and experimentation to demonstrate ROI of initiatives
- Implement a lead-to-revenue marketing automation process, with content and analytics
- Partner with cross-functional teams to rapidly scale successful, high-visibility growth projects, programs and campaigns across new and proven digital channels
Notice the abundance of skill set specific Keywords riddled throughout, and a theme for each bullet: 1) hands-on tactics and building a team. 2) testing and measurement. 3) marketing automation and content. 4) cross-functional collaboration
Combined, the Professional Summary and Offering deliver a powerful introductory statement that greets Recruiters within the first few seconds of reviewing our resume. Remember, Recruiters are most likely reviewing hundreds of resumes and profiles every day, so you only have a few seconds to capture their attention.
INFUSING YOUR PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY WITH YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
While the examples above cover the "blocking and tackling" fundamentals, the purpose of this blog series is to give you that edge that puts you ahead of your peers and makes you standout from the crowd.
Your Personal Summary is the perfect canvas on which to showcase your Personal Brand. What is it that makes you unique, memorable or an invaluable employee? It could be a special skill, such as being a charismatic speaker, or it could be a cause, such as volunteering or only wanting to work for socially responsible companies. Infusing this passion will make your resume more memorable, which could mean the difference between getting a call, versus ending up in the circular file. Here's an example Personal Brand statement:
Nonprofit Director with 9 years of experience fundraising in the childcare services field, making a difference one adoption at a time
Can you see how this could create an unforgettable latch point that separates your resume from the masses?
While you may choose to integrate this in your Professional Summary, you have the opportunity to integrate an emotive Personal Brand statement in your LinkedIn profile in the Tagline, but within only 120 characters. Here's an example LinkedIn Tagline that drew compliments from several Recruiters and created a memorable bond:
Head of Marketing - Acquisition (SEO, PPC) & Engagement; Startup on the Inside, Enterprise on the Outside
Take a few moments and reimagine your Professional Summary and Offering bullets and integrate your Personal Brand statement. Then monitor your performance and feedback, and watch it improve over time. If it doesn't improve, then you may need to iterate taking a different creative angle.
By now you understand the importance of crafting your resume to appeal to both machines (ATS bots, SEO) and humans. You also understand that the Professional Summary and Tagline are but a glancing opportunity to catch the Recruiter’s attention and leave an indelible mark in their memory. Make the most of it following the tips in this post and infusing your Personal Brand.
In the next and final post in this series titled, "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME – PART IV: GET RECRUITERS TO PURSUE YOU!," we'll talk about how to structure your past experience to reinforce your value through your quantified successes (this was the #1 common request from Recruiters interviewed in our "Expert Recruiter Round-up") and finally how to wrap everything up together to get Recruiters to pursue you! You've come this far, don't procrastinate, read Part IV in this series!