You’re between jobs and faced with the prospect of creating a resume, cover letter, and other relevant documents. What do you do? Many job seekers make the mistake of trying to cram in every possible career detail and accomplishment within a few pages, hoping that something out of all that information will stick in the mind of a recruiter or hiring agent. Essentially, they’re playing the odds. Unfortunately, in a marketplace crowded with qualified applicants, this kind of approach rarely, if ever works.
Also read: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
So what’s the solution? It begins with self-assessment. Taking a hard look at your career and identifying 3-4 areas in which you’ve really excelled (and which are in-line with the type of position you’d like to land next). These will form the basis of your personal brand, a kind of running theme you can use across all job search documents and which can be easily understood by a reader. Here’s how to identify and successfully communicate it:
1) REVIEW YOUR ENTIRE WORK HISTORY
Gather details spanning your entire work history, particularly accomplishments. What have you been praised for? What are your areas of expertise? Make a brief list of these details.
Now go through job postings you’re interested in submitting to and evaluate requirements. Which skills are called out time and time again? More importantly, where are the areas of overlap with your personal areas of success? These are the crucial skills that need to form the basis of your personal brand.
2) DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING STATEMENT
The most important place for a personal branding statement is right at the start of your resume. Most recruiters/hiring agents will spend less than a minute on a first pass of a candidate’s resume, so it’s crucial to start off strong and nab their interest.
Create a brief paragraph, no more than 4-5 lines ACTIVELY DESCRIBING the skills identified in the previous section. Keep sentences focused and to-the-point and avoid listing specific metrics (that’s what the work history section of your resume is for). For example, a candidate seeking an Engineering Management role could end up with a personal branding statement along the lines of:
“Driven and proactive professional able to lead cross-functional teams in deploying new systems, maintain top-tier Quality standards, and offer 1-on-1 customer support. Highly skilled in managing telecommunications networks, improving key processes, and capitalizing on emerging technologies. Able to thrive in demanding environments and consistently execute projects on time and on budget.”
3) ROLL OUT YOUR BRANDING STATEMENT ACROSS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
In addition to boosting the impact of your resume, a personal branding statement can be effectively used across any document or social media platform that might potentially lead to a new job. The key here is CONSISTENCY: don’t try to create a whole new set of ideas when developing a cover letter, revising your LinkedIn profile, or sending an email to a new contact. Simply tweak the statement as-needed and use it as your personal calling card. It’s one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and communicate what sets you apart.
Best of luck in your job search!