Putting together your resume like a marketing campaign can be as easy as making small changes that could reap big rewards. Here's how.
Think of a résumé and cover letter as a personal marketing campaign. Your mission is to create something that stands out from the crowd and allows you to earn what others want - the coveted interview - and a chance to sell your product and services (you as an employee of that company).
Putting together that marketing campaign may be as easy as simply fine-tuning your résumé and making small changes that could reap big rewards.
"Considering résumés are reviewed in seconds, not minutes, the more that jumps out at the reader, the better," says Arlene Vernon (www.arlenevernon.com), president of Eden Prairie-based HRx Inc., and a human resource management consultant and trainer for small- to medium-size businesses.
Vernon likes to see key words (job titles, degrees) in bold - that way she can immediately see whether the work history and education matches her needs. She prefers tasks listed in bulleted formats rather than paragraphs - it's easier to skim key words.
Keep in mind most employers hire for selfish reasons - to benefit their company, not your career - says Danny Huffman, operating director of Career Services International (www.careersi.com), a company that specializes in helping executives and professionals accelerate their careers.
That's why it's important to show your value as quickly as possible in the beginning of your résumé, in what Huffman calls the hot zone.
"The hot zone resides in the top third of the résumé," says Huffman. "In this pivotal region employers are seeking value and ask: 'What can you do for my company? What is in it for the company? And ultimately, why should I care about the name on top of the page?'
"Don't forget about layout - which surprisingly, many people do, says Vernon.
"It doesn't need to be fancy, but it does need to be laid out professionally, evenly spaced and in a font size and type that can be easily read, free of typos."
A résumé is like a brochure, your personal advertisement. Make it stand out.
"You are selling yourself, and anything less than perfect won't fly in a corporation," says Vernon.