The Resume: Your 'Signature' Marketing Tool

  • Sep 08, 2005
  • Vicky Smith
  • Career advancement

Signatures intrigue me.  As an amateur graphoanalyst, identifying personality traits from hieroglyphic scrawls or lines of dramatic loops and bold letter strokes is fascinating.  When I meet a person whose signature I have secretly scrutinized, often the same personality traits appear in the face-to face encounter.

We take pride in developing our unique trademark in our signature.  A fatal career mistake many people make is not creating a resume as distinctive as their signature.  A signature is molded to represent a person’s uniqueness and style.  Unfortunately a resume is too often quickly written. Believe it or not, employers really aren’t looking for a boring career chronology.  A resume should be a ‘signature’ marketing tool, stimulating interest in a prospective employer to interview you.

In today’s instant solution society, quick fixes are sought out to solve all of life’s needs including career changes.  But for a resume to stand out as your ‘signature’ marketing tool, painstaking self-assessment needs to take place.  The key question a resume must answer is “Why would a prospective employer hire you over all other candidates being interviewed?” The answer must be a brief statement matching the research you have done on the company’s goals and your unique skills and personality traits.

In a competitive marketplace, the only reason an employer hires new people is to utilize their abilities to make money, save money or improve productivity.  If your resume does not represent you as a problem solver who clearly understands you are hired to impact the bottom line, it will not generate interviews for you.  There are three key heading to include – The Objective or Profile, Employment and Education & Professional Development.

First impressions are everything!  The first 15-20 words on the resume will make it or break it for you.  A resume must begin with an impressive heading that catch attention immediately.  There is a choice of two key headings you can use to start the body of a resume – “Objective” or “Profile” (Summary of Qualifications).

Stay away from Objective headings. An Objective statement is a glorified ‘what’s in it for me’ statement.  It speaks to what you want in your career.

The best heading to use is ‘Profile’. The Profile statement markets to what the employers want to hear – ‘what’s in it for them’ to interview you.  It is a powerful, concise description of unique skills, qualities and achievements you have to offer stated in two or three lines.  The Profile statement creates excitement whereas; the Objective statement is unnecessary information for the employer.

The next key heading is Employment and should read like a billboard catching the employer’s attention with key results in your work history.  Most employment sections are like the white pages of the phone book, leaving employers to search out transferable skills and experience.  The Employment section should spotlight achievements not list duties.

The last heading is Education & Professional Development.  Change is a constant in our lives and continuous learning must be a constant activity in our professional lives.  Highlight any courses or training that keep you current with the demands of the marketplace and technology.

Richard Bolles states in his book What Color is My Parachute – 2000:

"To get hired, you must get an interview.  The resume is only as good as your writing ability makes it.  If the resume is poorly written, it will of course behave like a fun house mirror, which distorts dramatically what you are really like."

Once the resume is complete, have several people proofread it.  Yes it is true, an employer will throw a resume in the garbage if it has a spelling or grammar mistake in it.  Ask people if your resume sends an inherent message that you are a problem solver. Your goal is to use your skills and abilities to make a positive difference for a potential employer.

To get results from a resume there is both bad news and good news.  The bad news is that creating a resume that is a ‘signature’ marketing tool takes a great deal of time and painstaking revision.  The good news is if you do it, this resume will make a significant difference in your career life.