It was so much easier a few years ago when resumes were delivered by mail and not the internet. Though speed is certainly important and it is vital to have the ability to make immediate contact with the person who will be ultimately deciding your employment fate, the question must be raised: How do you make your resume stand out in today’s digital delivery system?
It was just seven years ago during my last In Transition period when I mailed resumes through the U.S. Post Office. I was able to get the attention of prospective employers by using an off-white or even a “macho” steel-colored stationery. And of course the quality or weight of the paper was always the topic for serious discussion amongst those who were in the job-seeking market. On a recent trip to Staples I noticed that Resume Quality Stationery was still available but of course one needs to ask why you would buy such paper? Unless it is important for you to have quality resume paper so that when you hand your resume to the interviewer he or she takes notice, I ask the question again: Why would you need such an added expense?
Remember, the resume is the tool to get you your initial interview. It needs to get the attention of the decision-maker immediately because you are just one of hundreds interested in opening that proverbial front door. You need to make a positive impression and unfortuantely that is much more difficult with a digital resume than what was the case previously in formal written form.
Before you do anything it is imperative that you visit a website that can answer most of your resume questions: http://www.rockportinstitute.com/resumes.html. Though this website by Rockport Institute will not write your resume for you, it will certainly point you in the right direction. Of course there are individuals and services that will indeed write your resume. These services are usually costly and unless it is a job that you feel you need to really invest in panache, it is very likely that with a few pointers you can achieve a top-notched resume on your own.
Remember, a resume is your marketing tool; it is your attention-getter; it is your door-opener. You certainly want to talk about your past achievements (education, awards, etc.) but in true marketing form, you want to also describe the benefits that your future employer will receive by hiring you. Describe how you can bring new thinking into play, improve their bottom-line and bring a new exciting perspective to the organization. Detail how your experience with other entities can help them in the future and more importantly promote the idea that you are so unique in your abilities that within a year of being hired that you will pay for yourself in added returns for the organization. Tough task to achieve? Yes, but certainly not impossible.
Promote and market yourself like any other product on the market. Use your business associates and contacts to help you in this process. Have your contacts write recommendations for your candidacy and have them forward them to the selection committee or search firm. Of course these should only be from individuals who have a direct personal relationship with the decision-makers.
Use your LinkedIn Profile as a marketing tool. Hopefully you have already arranged for 10 to 20 recommendations from a wide variety of friends, contacts and business associates to be displayed on your Profile. Use your LinkedIn Profile as an adjunct to your resume by listing it as part of your contact information on your resume, cover letter and even as an element of your e-mail signature. And if you author a blog make sure that address is also listed.
To get the attention of the decision-makers I have used an old technique – I have included a professional photo of myself as part of my resume. No, it looks better than your typical business card picture and looks nothing like a realtor or insurance agent. I do not know if it makes a difference but I will try it until I find something else to make me stand above the other candidates in the marketplace.
Though many would like you to think that there is a science to all this, many would confess that it is all art. You need to position yourself in the most dynamic and positive light available and that is different for every candidate and for every decision-maker. I don’t know about you but I will keep trying until I get it right. Good Luck!