If you’re a job seeker, you’re probably doing the happy dance that the unemployment rate is currently at 4.1%. But don’t get confused and think that finding a job will be easy. You still need to focus on marketing yourself through your job search. And just like marketing a product, you need to share your hook: your resume value proposition. Without it, you could be missing opportunities.
It could be argued that your entire resume is one big value proposition (if well written), but there are specific areas where you should highlight why you’re so awesome. These are the title, summary, and accomplishments.
Craft a Title That Draws Attention
Old-school resumes start with an objective. Well-written resumes lead into the document with a title or headline. At the very minimum, this will be the position you’re seeking. But you can elevate your title with a value statement that differentiates you even more. Consider how this lead-in to your resume could help you stand out:
Vice President, Marketing
Engaging team leader and consistent client pleaser
Thrill with a Well-written Summary
Directly following your title is where you have the real opportunity to drive home your resume value proposition: your summary. At its essence, this is the answer to the question, “Why should I hire you?” Too many resumes, however, list how many years of experience the job seeker has or, worse, share the “puppy-dog traits” of loyalty and a strong work ethic.
Your summary is one of the first things the reader will see—and read—so it should be to the point and full of value:
Creative visionary who offers advertising agency experience driving results for national and global clients by building and launching campaigns that incorporate traditional and digital marketing approaches. Integrate analytics to ensure goals are met and ROI is high while pushing the envelope and keeping clients front and center in a competitive landscape. As an executive leader, build, develop, and shepherd teams to excel by focusing on individual strengths and talents.
Share Your Wins
When you get into the meat of your resume—your professional experience—remember to keep your focus on value. Too often, job seekers start strong and then finish with a list of everything they’ve done at all of the positions they’ve had. Unfortunately, this leaves readers wanting more.
In addition to sharing what you did, focus more on what you accomplished. This includes how you made the company money, saved the company money, improved processes or systems, or made people happy.
When writing accomplishments, take heed: Remember that precious few employers will read every word on your resume. Instead, they take just a few moments (6 seconds, according to a study by The Ladders) to scan the highlights. And they spend even less time on self-written resumes, for the record. The same study discovered that resumes written by job seekers, which are often long and jumbled, earned just a 3.9-second read, as compared with 6.2 seconds for an organized, professionally written resume. That means your information needs to jump off the page and draw the reader in.
If Your Resume Doesn’t Hit the Mark
In all likelihood, unless you’ve done a lot of research on the current best practices in writing your resume value proposition, it’s falling short. Let’s face it: Most adults don’t write a resume very often, perhaps just once or twice a decade. And if the last time you updated your resume was 10 or more years ago, it’s likely lacking the punch needed to attract employers’ attention in today’s job market.
This is precisely why professional resume writers have jobs.
Investing hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars on a professional resume writer might seem exorbitant, but when it nearly doubles your chances of your resume being read, it could definitely be worth the investment. A professional knows what questions to ask to learn about your resume value proposition, as well as how to share it on paper. Smart people outsource. And if you want to elevate your job search, you may want to follow suit.
Amanda Collins, CEO of Ink & Quill Communications, has more than 20 years of experience writing interview-getting resumes, with most clients landing a job within 6 weeks. Email your resume for a complimentary, honest review.