I receive numerous questions this time of year centered around creating an effective profile statement on resumes. While objective statements are quickly becoming obsolete, the employer still needs to know what you want to do with your career. So, the question is how to create a profile statement that would interest an employer as well as state what you want to do in the process. Here are three basic elements to address in your message:
1. What is your experience? What have you been doing? Five years of experience in consumer product sales, experienced in financial analysis and project management, positions with increasing responsibility in management consulting, etc.
2. What are you good at doing? Proven success in, Ability to, Demonstrated skills in, etc. Each statement begins with an indication that something great will follow. What ends each statement must directly relate to either the job (Proven success in financial modeling) or a needed skill (Successful results-driven leader). The bullet points you will write later in your resume will prove these quick statements to be true.
3. What are you good at doing TAKE 2? Write another sentence highlighting your competitive edge another example of your ability to be successful in your chosen profession. Reputation for, Track record for, Accomplished, etc.
You can also include a bulleted list of the areas in which you have expertise listed below your branding statement, but unless your resume is two pages in length or longer I would refrain from that practice. The point is to promote the problems you solve and the solutions you provide. Ex: Reputation for idenitfying areas of improvement and creating cost effective solutions.
Write a branding or profile statement on your resume that communicates what you want through the value you can bring. Be reader focused and not writer focused.
Whether you lack relevant work experience for a potential position or basically lack work experience at all, you can still create a successful job search marketing campaign. The key is to focus on your transferable skills.
Experience, obviously, is what immediately catches the attention of potential employers. Without a doubt, you will not be hired unless you can do a give job, but the person hired must also possess other qualities such as leadership, problem solving and initiative to name a few.
The foundation for a great financial analyst is the ability to ANALYZE. You may have not experience in finance, but if you are able to prove your ability to successfully analyze data then you are promoting the ultimate value an employer seeks if interviewing candidates for this type position. This is called transferrable skills. Your job as a candidate is to prove your ability to deliver quality results not just complete tasks.
Undergraduate students typically spend a great deal of time with involvement in student organizations. Whether they are leaders or active members, there are a myriad of opportunities to showcase skills that can be highly valuable to potential employers. Team class projects are ideal for building skill sets such as leadership, verbal communications and problem solving.
When you are creating your job search campaign, focus on promoting everything you have in your past to prove your value. Employers hire based on your knowledge, skills, and experience. Even without relevant work experience, you can still promote your value and be competitive in the job market.
Each year I receive numerous questions from returning students on how to add an internship to an already full-page resume. Students struggle with what to delete in order to fit the job description and accomplishments from their internship onto the page. How do they decide what to delete in order to add more information? Can they have a two-page resume?
If you only have a certain amount of space to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, you need to identify what information MUST be on your resume and not focus so much on what to delete. Too often, especially early in our careers, we work to add as much information as possible to our resumes to fill the page. Then, once we start getting substance to our portfolios we struggle with that to delete. Your goal is to have a resume that promotes the value you will offer potential employers. Can one have a two-page resume as an undergrad or graduate student? While some people will say some graduate students can certainly have a two-page resume, most still say keep it to one page. Regardless of the length, the purpose of a resume remains to be a document that grabs the attention of the reader to promote knowledge, skills and abilities.
After completing an internship, you should see that this experience is what needs to be on your resume as opposed to bullet points from previous jobs. You will start to distinguish between your work history and professional experience. Jobs that allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and value towards your future career goals will take the place of jobs in which you answered the phone for a parent’s company or other part time jobs.
Each time you add something to your resume, decide whether this experience is better suited to market your ability in the future or just state what you did in the past. Your high school experiences helped you get into a great college or university; your college experiences help you land a great entry-level position.
Who likes writing objective statements? Who actually reads objective statements? My guess is that the answer to both of those questions is a NO! Objective statements are outdated and should not be used anymore.
So, you might be asking yourself, what do I write at the top of my resume to show an employer what I’m seeking? The answer is much more interesting to both write and read. Write a BRANDING STATEMENT!
When you purchase any product, you search for traits and qualities that meet your needs. Through a targeted marketing campaign, the seller showcases their product’s value. The value that a product can contribute is what the customer wants to read and subsequently buy. The same holds true for a resume.
Employers want to see how you can meet their needs. By writing a quality branding statement, you will not only articulate what you can do for a potential employer but will also state your goals if written effectively. A branding statement noting your proven ability to manage large-scale projects will interest employers seeking project managers. Your communication is focused on the customer or employer not yourself.
As a job seeker, your responsibility is to brand yourself as a solution to potential employer’s needs. Hiring managers are tasked with having the right resources to effectively produce positive results. Challenging opportunities within an organization where you can increase your responsibility and upward mobility will be the result of you being a valued contributor to that organization not the reason you are hired. Brand yourself as a solution in your resume introduction and employers will pay attention. Your objective will be met once you demonstrate you are the ideal brand for the organization.
Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is the case, then insanity is rampant amongst job seekers today.
Are you frustrated that no one is responding to the dozens of resumes you are submitting online? Do you find yourself discouraged at attending career fairs only to be told to apply online and then nothing happen? Not only is this unsuccessful practice a form of insanity, but the frustration will lead you to insanity as well.
Get off of this hamster wheel. The job search process is frustrating enough. There is too much in life you can’t control, so focus what you can control. If something is not working in regards to your job search strategy, then change it. Here are a few quick tips to increase an effective job search process.
Talk with a career coach: Career Coaches have the experience. These experts know the job search process across industry and functional area of business. They know the pulse of business today and work to guide job seekers towards the goal of finding employment. Visit www.careerealism.com for a solid list of professional career coaches.
NETWORK: I can just imagine all of the eye rolls are reading my recommendation to network. Simply put, networking is the key to finding employment. Remember that applying for positions online is only a piece of the process. It is not THE process. Too many job seekers spend their time only applying online. If this is your approach, you are missing the most important step which is to connect with real human beings. Humans hire; systems track candidates.
3. Build a solid and professional online presence. Your LinkedIn profile should be a comprehensive marketing story of your past successes and future abilities. You should have a strong presence on Twitter making sure you are following industry professionals and employers of interest. Use Hashtags to search for conferences in your field in which you cannot attend. Get involved and be seen. To learn the very best tips on social networking, please read Miriam Salpeter’s book “Social Networking for Career Success”.
I recently read that job seekers should stop focusing on pushing our resumes for a successful job search and instead draw people to you. The former is how you put yourself on that job search hamster wheel. You will keep running in place without getting anywhere near your goal. Get off the hamster wheel and stop the insanity in your job search and career management. Stop doing the same thing and expect different results.
One of the reasons job seekers dislike writing resumes is because they dread writing an objective statement. Job seekers worry that the statement will be too specific or too broad. So, what do most job seekers write as an objective statement? Most sound just like this: “Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and abilities and give me the experience I need for a future career.” Frankly, this type of statement is a waste of precious resume real estate.
My advice, delete that meaningless objective statement. Objective statements focus on what the job seeker wants. The job search by its very nature is about marketing your services to a company in need of someone with your specific skills and abilities. The first thing to do when you create your personal marketing campaign is to determine your unique value proposition. Once you have identified your value proposition, the next step is to create a complete marketing portfolio with your value proposition as the continual message. This is what creates your personal brand.
Your resume is a snapshot of your personal brand that communicates what you have to offer to prospective employers. Have you ever seen a marketing document that focuses on what the seller wants? Absolutely not! Effective marketing focuses on what the buyer needs and wants. The employer is the buyer that has outlined their needs for a certain position. Every word on a resume must promote the value that a potential employee can bring to the position and employer.
Objective statements have no place on a resume because they don’t market the features and benefits of hiring you, the candidate. A buyer-focused resume opens with a profile statement that summarizes the value you bring to an organization. Instead of an objective statement, write a profile of your skills or a summary of your qualifications. Profile or summary statements communicate the value or solution you bring to the equation. They’re employer-focused statements designed to grab the attention of hiring managers.
Employers want to know what types of positions you are seeking, and a well-written skills profile will promote the value you bring to the employer while at the same time communicating exactly what position or career path you are seeking. For example, a well-written skills profile might read “Financial professional with nine years of experience in valuations, financial modeling and analysis.”
The next time you start to write an objective statement, stop and write an introduction to your resume that is something that the employer wants to read. Ask yourself, what does the employer need from an ideal job candidate? Do not let a traditional and meaningless objective statement kill your resume.
Anymore, editing resumes is only a small portion of what I do. Instead, I teach students how to write a resume the right way in the first place. Over 80% of the resumes that I am asked to edit must be completely rewritten due to five common resume mistakes. Some of these mistakes used to be acceptable resume writing practices, but times have changed and if you want to be competitive in today’s job market, you must change with the times.
1. Passive Voice: Have you ever started a bullet point with “responsible for” “participated in” or “assisted with”? At one time or another, every job seeker has probably written a bullet point in a passive voice. What makes this a mistake is that passive does not sell, ACTION SELLS. Without action, you cannot have results. When you sit down to write your bullet points begin the sentence using action words such as developed, introduced, accelerated, built, designed, etc. Using action words makes your resume more hard-hitting and compels the reader to keep reading.
2. Quantifiable Results: I am amazed at the number of resumes that I see with bullet points that only state the tasks performed in a job with no mention of the accomplishments that followed. If your efforts resulted in increased revenue of 45%, make sure you include that valuable information in your resume. Your ability to communicate quantifiable accomplishments such as volume, percentages, and numbers will greatly differentiate you from the competition. Prove your value wherever possible. Failure to do so is a huge mistake.
3. Objective Statements: My advice to job seekers is to omit an objective statement and replace it with a statement of purpose or summary statement. Objective statements typically focus on what the job seeker wants and not on what the company needs. If well written, a statement of purpose or summary statement will promote the job seeker’s value, and as a result, what the job seeker wants.
4. Personal Information: You may want the employer to know more about you, but the resume is not the place for personal information. Honestly, this information should not be shared during the interview process at all. Marital status, number of children, or place of birth bear no weight on your marketability for the position and may eliminate you as a potential candidate.
5. Grammar: Let me start by saying that spelling and grammar mistakes are the most common reasons that hiring managers toss resumes into the trashcan. Rule number one to avoid these resume mistakes, never trust spell check. For example, lead is a word, but it is an error if meant it in the past tense form of the word, which is led. While spell check would not catch the error—a prospective employer will. Another error often overlooked on resumes is properly capitalizing words. One of the most common places that I find these errors is the resume heading. Yes, I said it, the heading. If you live on Smith St. be sure that you do not type Smith st.
Your resume is the story of your career experiences and achievements. Errors discount your value and minimize your ability to communicate the value you bring to a prospective employer. Your resume is the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Remember that old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression”.