3 Easy Ways to Overcome Resume Writing Challenges
By Laura Smith-Proulx
Trying to get your job search off to a strong start - only to be hampered by the resume-writing process?
Do you struggle to articulate the high points of your career and brand - or to sum up the reasons you should be considered over others?
If so, you have plenty of company, especially if your career is at the executive or senior professional level. Many leaders have discovered that it's easier to actually drive change, improve company operations, or transform revenue performance than it is to write about it.
Here are 3 main reasons why resume writing can be difficult--followed by 3 simple ways to make the process easier:
1. You're too close to the subject.
Most executive leaders and skilled professionals are subject matter experts in all types of leadership competencies, from strategic planning to team delegation.
However, when asked to describe their strengths, most of them will resort to tactical or skills-based descriptions, rather than illustrating the ways in which they add strategic value.
You’re naturally good at what you do, but telling your story requires a higher level of analysis—a process that most executives and senior-level professionals don’t think to undertake for themselves.
2. Marketing copy isn't your strong suit.
Most COOs spend their time ensuring that costs are reined in and that the company’s infrastructure will support growth, while sales managers are assessing the competition, CEOs are busy forming strategic forecasts, accountants are closing the books, IT Managers are negotiating with vendors, and CIOs are dealing with the rising costs of technology.
Of course, these activities leave precious little time to become well-versed in marketing.
Even if marketing campaigns ARE part of your leadership role, you’ll still find that it’s much harder to create promotional copy when the product is YOU.
3. You haven’t created your personal brand message.
As with any type of promotion, branding is a key element of marketing. When it comes to job search, your personal brand is basically the value proposition and reputation that you’ve forged throughout your career.
Even if you’re in touch with what your value-add means to your next employer, it’s difficult to articulate it for others to read! It’s even harder to translate your personal brand into the context of a cohesive executive or professional resume.
Now, here are some tips to help with the process of writing about yourself:
• Ask colleagues about what they see as your most valuable accomplishments and proficiencies. What compliments do you receive on your work?
• Consider looking at executive or professional resume examples, which are readily available online, to get an idea of the marketing style that appeals to employers in today’s job market. How does yours stack up?
• Talk to past supervisors to find out the strengths you brought in your job. What were the key reasons for your past promotions?
• After putting together a draft of your resume, show it to others. What do THEY think you're missing about your own message?
In summary, writing your resume can seem like the most challenging part of your job search. However, don’t give up and just list your duties!
Instead, spend some time figuring out how to frame your most valuable achievements and brand in a way that captures (and holds) employer interest.
About the Author
Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is an executive resume writer and former recruiter who partners with CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, CTO, SVP, and Director candidates to win interviews at major corporations. A certified Professional Resume Writer, Online Professional Networking Strategist, Career Management Coach, Interview Coach, and Microblogging Career Strategist, she is a multiple award-winning resume writer and author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips & Resources to Access the Hidden Job Market.
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