Staff Reporters
Jun 17, 2010

Looking for a change? We dispel a few resume myths.

While one would imagine a marcomms professional to be comparatively adept in marketing their own brand, this is often not the case.

Looking for a change? We dispel a few resume myths.

In fact when it comes to positioning for career moves, there is an even greater need for marcomms specialists to take a critical look at their own marketing tools. A well crafted resume will communicate and position your skills in line with the target role and organisation, as well as showcase your capabilities in the discipline.

What is a resume?

While a variety of proactive work search tools are vital to secure the right next move, the resume still remains a critical marketing tool. Since there are many common misconceptions about the resume, it's important to dispel some of these first.


Myth:
The purpose of the resume is to get a job.

Reality:
The purpose of the resume is to get an interview. At the initial stage of resume submission, you still have a very basic snapshot of the role, and you cannot be sure it is even right for you. The resume should therefore work as the door opener for both parties - candidate and hiring manager to evaluate fit.

 

Myth:
The resume is a historical summary of work experience and education.

Reality:
While a resume should contain both your work experience to date in reverse chronological order, as well as your education, it should be viewed as your key marketing tool, highlighting your features and benefits in a way that demonstrates how you can add value to an organisation. As such it should be as accomplishment-focused as possible, not simply a case history of dates, employers and responsibilities. The most important thing is to succinctly demonstrate to the future employer your abilities and potential to excel in the role going forward.

 

Myth:
Nobody reads a resume anyway.

Reality:
Even if you have found opportunities in the past via on and offline networking or referrals, a resume will always be required and should be a true reflection of your skills and experience. Particularly in the current climate, where companies are still highly selective and risk averse, the resume still plays an important role in the initial selection process.

 

Making your resume work for you.

Just as any marketing collateral, your resume should be well crafted to showcase your 'USPs' and be clear in its message.

Your name and contact information should be clearly stated at the top of your document, and for job seekers with more than five years' experience, it is advisable to follow this with a personal profile. Bearing in mind you have 30 seconds to win over the reader and convince them to place you on the interview pile, the profile is a snapshot (in the form of a bulleted list) of your core competencies that reflect the requirements of the role. As such it should be tailored to the specific role you are applying to.

If you are changing sectors, focus less on specifics that may restrict and pigeon-hole you to a certain industry, and more on transferable skill sets that add value. Consider aspects such as similarities in target audiences, distribution channels and so forth. Profile statements should be quantifiable where possible, and invite the reader to delve deeper into the resume where your professional experience will support these claims.

When it comes to professional experience, ensure the content is less about role and responsibilities and more about accomplishments. While you cannot change what you have done in the past, think about what is relevant to your target opportunity and showcase more of those skills and experiences. Including everything in a resume can sometimes dilute your message, so remember that often, less is actually more.

 

While securing the right next move can be a challenging and time intensive pursuit, creating a strong resume that works will not only help open doors, but form the foundation for a more in depth discussion of your skills and accomplishments during a face to face interview. Those who are prepared to put in the extra effort are more likely to see results in a shorter time frame, since organizations are always looking for "best in class" to fill their limited, but critical positions.

 

Helen Davies is a consultant specialising in sales, marketing and communications recruitment with Talent2. She has over 10 years' experience in international FMCG and B2B marketing and communications and has worked in Europe, Canada and on assignment in the US. She is also a qualified career development practitioner, with experience working with clients in career management and coaching.

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