Resume Tips to Sell Yourself

Resume Tips to Sell Yourself

Do you manage your career? Do you manage your finances? I suspect you probably manage your finances more than you do your career.

So what is a resume? What is a CV?  It’s your sales proposition. You only get one chance to talk about exactly who you are. One chance to sell YOU.  A resume or CV as it’s known in Eastern Europe and Europe, and in certain parts of Asia. Here in the Americas and other parts of the world, it is called a resume. Both documents are similar however, I write resumes in all countries. I’ve got clients in about 30 different countries as we speak.  My name is Martin Buckland, diamond executive career management practitioner. I specialize in three areas, senior executives, and those who aspire to be business leaders, executive master of business administration, candidates, and graduates. So EMBAs, and I’m also considered a global expert in mining.

Resume Tips to Sell Yourself

Your resume should only be a maximum of a three pages. Don’t go any longer than three pages. This is your chance to be bold, be brassy…sell yourself! One kick at the can; that’s all you get these days.  To complicate the issue, resumes generally aren’t read by human beings anymore. Sadly, they’re read by technology. What is that technology? It’s a scanning application called ATS which stands for Applicant Tracking System.

Many people, hundreds if not millions are counted out of opportunities where they are the perfect candidate simply because they don’t have an ATS format resume or CV. How sad is that? You don’t want to end up in the online recycle bin.

Here are my tips.  Hopefully some of these tips today will be a benefit to you. 

1. Don’t Be Outdated

Don’t show your objective. Don’t show the profile and stating, ‘references available upon request’ dates you immensely. You want to be up to date.

2. You Need to Have the Right Keywords.

So many people are missing out on keywords. Keywords are important. Let’s take a step back to note that the ATS scanning application is also a database. So you’ll send your resume to executive recruiters and they won’t give you a call back immediately if ever, but they store your resume in the database and when a job becomes available with your skillset, they will then hopefully call you So your resume goes into that database and it also goes into corporate databases and it is pulled out based on functional and industry-specific keywords.

For instance, if you’re in finance, you need to have all the buzzwords that are pertinent to finance; accounting, financial planning and analysis and MDNA (Management Discussion and Analysis), internal controls, treasury. The list goes on and on…Corporate Compliance and any other buzzwords. Play a game with yourself when you’re rewriting your resume (hopefully many of you will go and rewrite your resume after this presentation) and think about if your resume was hidden in your computer, what business functional, specific buzzwords would I type in to have my resume come out? It’s very important.  You need the right keywords but don’t have too many. The maximum I will suggest is 18-20. Do it in a table or a column format, and you can do three columns of six, or two columns of nine, but make them pertinent to you. If tomorrow you see a job that’s advertised and you don’t have those keywords in your existing resume, but you have those skills, make sure you put those buzzwords in your resume and customize that resume to that particular job. I create generic resumes for my clients, and then they go and tweak it according to the job.

3. Situation | Task | Action | Result

Remember you are a STAR. Every one of you is a STAR. What do I mean by that? Everyone of you has STAR stories. I build my resumes around an acronym, and many of you probably heard this, it’s called STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result…STAR stories.  You need to build your resume around that acronym. People are going to hire you because you are a STAR. Now coming back to what I mentioned earlier wrong; they’re not interested in your responsibilities; they’re interested in you. You make them money. You accomplish consistently. Performance is very important. Gone are the days of responsibilities. However, the only responsibilities that I now put in the resume are your number of direct reports, your number of indirect reports, your CAP Ex budget, your OP EX budget, and your P & L;  they are exceptions and there are additions. If you are responsible for a number of facilities like in manufacturing or offices, then you put that as number of offices or if you are in, mining, you have to put the, the chemical that’s the name of the mineral that you are familiar with.

There is a rule of thumb that an executive recruiter or an HR professional, all looking for 1 ½ STAR stories per year. So, if you have two years at a job, three STAR stories will be good. When a client engages me, I try and push them for another one or two STAR stories at this end of the career, because we hire for performance. And the more performance-driven a story is the better it’s going to sell you. So, remember you are a STAR; be bold, be brassy and sell, sell, sell.

4. Proofread

I see so many resumes with so many errors in grammar and spelling. You only get one kick at the can and it is the first impressions that count. What’s a person going to think if they see a dozen or so spelling mistakes? Not good.  They probably count you out of being a candidate because what does that show? You’re not being detail-oriented. So proofread, proofread, proofread by yourself, and then have an independent person, a friend, or maybe a couple of friends or family members proof it themselves as well. You can never get too much proofreading. Be sensitive to where you are in the world. The English language is different depending on which country you were in. So, if you are in the UK it’s different from the US and it’s different from Canada and it’s different from Australia. So not only should you put MS Word into that particular country’s format, when you, when you type your resume out in Microsoft Word, but you should also be sensitive to minor grammar and spelling differences between all the English countries and generally across the world. Resumes, CVS are typically delivered in English because it’s the business language.

5. Explain Career Gaps.

 It is perfectly acceptable to have a career gap these days…for many people, it has just occurred because of when they were terminated, or laid off or whatever, but other people take sabbaticals. Some people have been caregivers to their families. So make sure you cover that gap because it can be one of the red flags that an executive recruiter or an HR professional will notice.  What they will do is to look down on the right-hand side of the resume, because you have to have the dates on the right-hand side for ATS format, and they notice that there are dates that are missing because that’s one way of screening you out. And if there’s a one-year gap that sends a red flag and that questions, what you did. Be open, be honest. You did something in that year, whether you were caregiving, maybe for your spouse may be for your parents, or you took a sabbatical, maybe an academic sabbatical, you went back to university, or you took a personal sabbatical or a travel sabbatical, but explain it.

One of my clients had a gap of two years in his resume. I questioned him and he said he built a house that was a large house, his dream house for two years. So, I said to him, while you were a project manager, and he said, yes. So, uh, so he took a personal sabbatical and he project managed the design and he worked with Def different stakeholders, the architect, the general contractor, an older trades to build his dream house. He took two years off. Now he’s got his dream house and now he’s back in the market, but you need to show that. So be open, be honest, gaps need to be filled because otherwise, gaps ask questions with the wrong emphasis.

6. Emphasize the Right Text.

Many people have bold capital letters selling their company, ABC Company. They sell the company more than they do the position.   What are you selling…your company name, or are you selling the position? This is your resume. It’s a personal document. It’s not your company’s resume. De-emphasize the name of the company, take the bold out and have initial capitals and bold and capitalize the position because this is your resume, not ABC company or XYZ companies.

So I hope you’ve got something from those tips.

I am passionate, passionate about helping you reach your career goals. I have an offer for you, a free resume critique and LinkedIn audit. I will give you 30 minutes of my time, no obligation, no sales pitch, to go through your LinkedIn and your resume from top to bottom. However I will tell you, I am tough. I say it as it is, I’m realistic because you only get one kick at the can. You want to remove all those red flags and you want to go from A to B in the fastest possible way. I will tell you how to eliminate all those red flags and have a bank of green flags. That means you will sail through your job search and through your career transition. Are you interested? If so, email me your resume on LinkedIn, or send it to me in the form below. I’d be happy to help you. Cheers.

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