How To Customize Your Primary Professional Branding Tool: Your Resume

Your resume is the primary branding tool to introduce and position yourself to the professional world. It is, quite simply, the most financially important document you will ever own: when your resume works you work, when it doesn't you don't. Properly executed, a carefully branded resume insures that prospective employers and colleagues see you, as you want to be seen. Short-change the effort you put into your resume and you cheat employment and future success.

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No one likes writing a resume, but you'll find the process essential to defining a brand that your professional world is eager to embrace. This is critical because in today's harsh world, your resume all too often disappears into resume databases with millions of others, rarely to be pulled by a recruiter's search. When recruiters do find it, it will get a 5-45 second scan and if a clearly defined and relevant brand doesn't jump out, they'll move on to the next. You can control these issues.

Your Brand & Resume Needs Focus

80% of resumes lack a target job title at the top of the document, but when recruiters do resume database searches, they start with a job title and then add keywords, from the company Job Description. When you give your resume a target job title and focus on the skills you bring to that specific job you will get more interviews.

Talk Like Your Customer

It is common sense to find out what your customers are buying and sell to their expressed needs, rather than selling what you think they want. Understanding your customers' needs and then satisfying them first in your resume and then on the job is the foundation of professional success.

You research employer needs for your target job by collecting six job postings and deconstructing them into a single document that reflects:

  1. How employers prioritize their common needs; which ones are common to all, and which are common to some.
  2. The words they use to describe these requirements

These are the skills that recruiters will look for, and the words they will use to find your resume in database searches. These are also the skill priorities that recruiters use in resume evaluation and focused on in interviews throughout the hiring cycle.

How To Write A Killer Resume

When you understand how employers quantify your target job, you have a template for the story your resume must tell and the foundation for positioning a brand with solid employer appeal; you'll improve database performance and quickly tell any reader that you "get" what is truly important in this job.

Next: Sell The Gap On Your Resume

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Martin Yate


Martin Yate, CPC, author of Knock 'em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World, is a New York Times and international bestseller of job search and career management books. He is the author of 11 job search and career management books published throughout the English speaking world and in over 50 foreign language editions. Over thirty years in career management, including stints as an international technology headhunter, head of HR for a publicly traded company and Director of Training and Development for an international employment services organization.

Within the profession he has a global reputation as the thought leader on job search and career management issues. He has lectured on four continents and has maintained a coaching practice since 1991.

The current recession is the 5th he has helped people navigate over the last 30 years.

For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

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