Education Career Services

August 26, 2009

What’s the goal of a résumé anyway?

August 26The other day I was going through résumé revisions with a client and got the comment, “This reads like a marketing piece.”  Believe it or not, this is the best approach.  According to the American Marketing Association, the term “marketing” refers to the “activity or process of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value.” 

What’s the goal of a résumé anyway?  This may be a surprise to many, but the goal is to convince the audience that you’re the best fit for the position.  In this sense, it’s important to position yourself as someone of value above the competition.  Think about it, marketing is meant to be catchy, persuasive, and compelling.  Why not present your experience and skills that way?

A mistake people make is providing too much information or not enough.  Difficult as it may seem, the idea is to come up with a balance between too much and too little.  There are many techniques to gain balance.  As such, I suggest you introduce your skills with a brief branding statement without burdening the reader and provide examples to back it up.  Break it up into sections for easier navigation.  And most importantly, don’t bog the reader down with mundane details or responsibilities that are implied for someone within your field, position, or degree/diploma.

The point of your material is to demonstrate how you do your job and do it better—ultimately, how you impact the bottom-line.  Think of it from your own experiences with marketing.  If you look at two different marketing pieces—which one would you be more inclined to go with?  The one that’s plain and looks like every other piece of advertisement or the one that’s innovative and gets right to the point?  Ultimately, the hiring decision-maker is your customer and you are trying to sell your skills.

As everyone has heard before, the point of a resume is to get you in the door for an interview.  What happens next?  Recently, I was asked for a last-minute resume for someone who was having their first “real-world” interview coming up after having finished college the month before.  She was going in for a phlebotomy/registrar position and what I had to work with was her experience as an esthetician in a beauty salon and (luckily) a little bit of hospital volunteer activity.  Connecting her client interfacing skills with patient interaction, I was able to give her a unique spin.  However, during the interview, the interviewer, résumé in hand, asked, “So, how will your past experiences apply to this position?”  She hesitated because she honestly wasn’t sure. 

Being prepared and knowing your stuff is critical when going in for that first interview.  Keep in mind that no two positions are exactly the same.  This requires you to identify and understand your transferable skills from position to position and from company to company.

Think of yourself as a value-add product and start marketing.  Oh, as with any marketing initiative, that means doing your research and being prepared to back it up.  No matter how compelling a résumé is, going in for the interview prepared is your chance to close the deal.

Sigmarie Soto, CPRW
Senior Writer
Career Services International
Education Career Services

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