As a marketing professional, you know the importance of branding a product or company. By applying this same strategy, you can use your resume to build your own brand to differentiate yourself from the competition (other job seekers), convey your value (how you benefit employers) and generate results (interviews). Follow these tips.
Use Your Resume as a Marketing Tool
"Marketing professionals must bear in mind that their resume is the most important marketing document they're ever going to write," says Terri Robinson, president of Recruit2Hire.com, a recruiting company specializing in marketing and sales professionals. "By using the same principles of creating a great marketing campaign, they can create a winning resume to stand out from the crowd.
Start with Your Value Statement
Your resume objective should serve as your value statement. Use this section to summarize the key strengths and main value you bring to an employer. "Tell me the highlights of what your career encompasses, and communicate the really significant accomplishments you've delivered for your employers here, and you'll have my attention," Robinson says.
Here's an example of a value-driven summary that incorporates a marketing candidate's top accomplishments:
Fortune 500-experienced marketing manager with an eight-year track record of strategizing and executing sales-driving marketing communications campaigns that have:
- Captured market-leading dominance (market share gains of up to 58%) for both newly launched and existing product lines.
- Increased sales by millions of dollars (up to $5.8M per campaign).
- Improved closing ratios to record highs (up to 85%) by equipping field sales with high-quality, low-cost print collateral.
Emphasize Benefits, Not Features
"Marketing professionals have a big advantage when it comes to career writing," says Deborah Wile Dib, president of Advantage Resumes of NY. "You know how to market products. You can use the same techniques -- showing benefits, not features -- to market yourself on paper.
Robert Boroff, a recruiter and the managing director of executive recruiter Reaction Search, calls this "selling the sizzle," adding, "When you see fajitas being taken to a table, it's not the steak people are drawn to -- it's the sizzle. Sizzle points create spark and interest from hiring managers.
In Dib's 17-year resume-writing practice, she has found that many marketing job seekers struggle with proving their impact on and value to a business, because they are not in sales. "Yet their efforts drive the success of the sales team or sales process," she points out.
Dib suggests a fundamental shift in the way marketing professionals think about their work. "Today's marketers need to closely track that symbiosis [between their efforts and sales results] and show their quantifiable impact on the business," she says.
Prove Your Value by Quantifying Results
Robinson, Boroff and Dib all agree the most effective way to focus your resume on benefits, prove your value to employers and differentiate yourself from the competition is to use bulleted accomplishment statements showing quantified outcomes. These experts say failure to quantify results on a resume is a common mistake marketing pros make.
"Provide four or five bulleted points under each employer in the experience section of your resume to show what you have achieved for each employer as far as measurable results," says Robinson, who asserts that any marketer -- from entry-level to senior executive -- looking for resume help can use this strategy.
Dib suggests recent marketing graduates use their education and internships to make a case for their potential to perform, while mid- and senior-level marketing job seekers can list on their resumes their marketing and leadership skills, how they've used them and the impact they've had.
Using numbers to quantify your accomplishments will help you avoid succumbing to what Dib calls "the responsibilities trap," where job duties are described in detail, but there is little evidence of specific outcomes provided.
Robinson agrees. You must include specific accomplishments on your resume -– not just 'responsible for…' statements, she says. Spell out the end results you delivered. Did you increase market share by a certain percent? Did you cause revenue to go up by a certain percent? Did you launch an Internet marketing campaign that increased leads to the sales department? Use hard numbers and percentages wherever possible to back up your claims.