Mar 24 2016
Your resume is your professional story. At best, it is easy-to-skim, engaging, and provides the depth of information necessary to understand your value. A well-balanced mixture of contributions, achievements, and responsibilities, presented in the backdrop in which they were performed, can provide that depth of understanding.
Connect the dots. The thread that holds your story together is your brand – the quality that distinguishes you from everyone else – your unique promise of value, your expertise. Along with format and design, your brand underscores the resume’s consistency while reinforcing your value. Branding begins in the opening profile and continues through the entire document.
Create interest. For a powerful opening profile, consider three questions: Who are you? Where do you come from? Why should people care? Your answers to these questions are most effective when they support your goals.
- Who are you? Begin with a headline that instantly identifies who you are. It can be something as simple as “Global Executive: Finance & Operations” or as specific as “Chief Financial Officer: Industry-Leading Energy Company.” The headline reveals who you are and personifies your career goal.
- Where do you come from? Provide a brief overview of your background. Whether it is most in your interest to name companies or refer to their stage of growth, size, industry, or geographic reach, be as direct as possible to support the focus of your resume and the next step of your career.
- Why should we care? Create emotional appeal; provide a glimpse of the most impressive aspects of your career in the opening profile – contributions that changed the course of a company, turned around an underperforming workforce, expanded market share, created shareholder value, and more. Details of each come later.
Support your claims. Job descriptions can provide details of achievements referred to in the opening profile. For each description, begin with a brief paragraph that “sets the stage.” Consider what was happening in the company at the time, why you were hired, what role you were given, what challenges you faced, what actions you took, and what you made happen in relation to the focus of the resume.
- Clarify the situation and deepen appreciation of your success with crisply written bullets of supporting data and quantified achievements. In skimming through a resume, readers are drawn to these eye-catching bullets; you will help them to easily find the most important information.
In summary, leveraging your brand to create continuity in your resume optimizes the potential for a meaningful, easy-to-navigate professional story. It will deepen understanding of your unique promise of value by clearly and concisely explaining who you are, where you come from, and why companies should care.
Get even more advice this topic by downloading our most recent resume webinar: 7 Ways to Boost Your Executive Resume.