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Secrets for Turning Your Resume into a Marketing Tool


Your resume is the best marketing tool that you could have. You will create it and use it to differentiate yourself from your competition. It’s a snapshot first impression that strangers get of you and you want it to be a good one! It’s your first step toward getting your job of choice. There are several points that you will want to consider as you prepare to turn your resume into a marketing tool.

1. Format
There are several resume formats from which to choose: chronological, functional and a combination of the two. The chronological is the most common format and one with which every job seeker should start. When you write a chronological resume you begin organizing information with your work history in reverse chronological order. In other words, start with your most recent employer and work backwards. The focus will be on the jobs that you held, your job duties, and career progression. This format is straightforward and the reader can immediately see what you have to offer.

The functional format highlights your skills by category. The emphasis is on work experience and transferable skills. This format is ideal for people who are changing careers or those with limited work experience in the field they are pursuing. The idea is to get the recruiter to focus on your skills, not on where you worked and for what period of time. In a functional format your employment history will be listed at the end of your resume to take the attention off of your employers. For example, you may have worked for an engineering consulting firm in the past, but now you want to get back into hands-on design work. You don’t want to be eliminated from consideration because of your previous work history as a consultant so you place the emphasis on your transferable skills.

The third type of format is a combination of the chronological and functional. There are several ways it can be written. In deciding on a format choose the resume that is right for you based upon where the resume is going and the type of work you want to do. Job seekers who are changing careers or re-entering the workforce after a break of a year or more may want to try a combination format to “test the waters” and see what kind of response they get.

2. The best resume is targeted
This means that your resume should be tailored for the specific job you are seeking. Know who your audience is. In order to prepare a targeted resume you must first know your product; your product is you. For example, some prospective employers place a lot of weight on formal education and may even require a 4-year degree. While others are more interested in your work history and skill set. If you know the person or people who will be reading your resume, you are in luck. However, most job seekers have no idea who will be screening their resumes so you have to find out as much as you can about the company and the job to which you are applying beforehand if you want to target your resume.

3. Include only what’s important
Irrelevant information can hurt you. What you leave off your resume could get you a face-to-face job interview or at least a telephone interview, which is a start. Your resume is the place to shine, but not so much that the reader is turned off by too much of a good thing. If you want your resume to be an effective marketing tool, you need to think strategically about what belongs on it and what doesn’t. You want to make it easy for the hiring manager to quickly identify you as someone he or she would like to learn more about. Focus on providing only relevant information. Leave off personal information such as your date of birth or marital status or anything else that could be used to discriminate against you such as a clue to your religion or political affiliation.

4. Action verbs
You can turn your resume into a powerful marketing tool with the help of action verbs. Each accomplishment statement should start with an action verb such as:
Achieved
Budgeted
Coordinated
Developed
Gained
Inspected
Managed
Organized
Persuaded
Re-structured
Supervised
Upgraded
These are only a few of more than one hundred words that could be used to start an accomplishment statement. They add punch to an already solid resume. Never start with: “Responsible for.” It’s passive and leaves the reader cold. Use action verbs for maximum results. In addition, don’t use first person pronouns such as “‘I’ did this” or “‘We’ excelled as a team.” It is not considered proper resume etiquette.

5. Include a job objective
Another key to turning your resume into a marketing tool is in what you do with your specific job objective. Some job seekers fail to recognize this opportunity to market themselves and either don’t include it on their resumes or write a statement that is vague or not targeted toward the job to which they are applying. This is the most important document that you are ever going to write. Don’t miss the boat!

6. Write a summary statement
A summary statement is a great marketing tool within a marketing tool – your resume. This is your chance to provide the reader with an overview of who you are and what you have to offer. Most hiring managers want to capture what you bring to the table as quickly as possible. What better way to do that than to write a brief overview of your skills, work experience and education?

7. Prove your value
Turn your resume into a marketing tool by proving your value through the use of accomplishment statements that quantify your achievements, not merely claim them. For example:

Directed the design and development of a software program that replaced manual preparation of an engineering marketing brochure saving $100,000 in labor costs.
Assessed condition of large industrial pumps and communicated these findings to the customers subsequently saving each of twelve customers over $500,000 in 2005.
Developed specifications and quality measurements for pump parts acquisition; transferred business to new manufacturing facility with no quality degradation.
Prepared and presented training on new computer system for 33 engineers, saving company $160,000 by avoiding need for contract trainers.

As you can see by these samples, the applicants proved their value by quantifying what they accomplished. You can do the same. Although this is the most difficult part of writing a resume for most job seekers, the payoff is worth the effort.

In conclusion, think of yourself as a “marketing professional.” You are promoting yourself and if you have any hope of turning your resume into a marketing tool, you will need to make an investment of time and effort. And that won’t happen unless you know what you want your resume to accomplish. The purpose of a resume is to get the job interview by catching the attention of the person that is screening it for a fit. The ball is in your court. Give it your best shot!

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