Simple Steps to Set Yourself Up for Resume Writing Success

Achieving success with your resume and LinkedIn…is it possible? Absolutely, and in this document I’ll show you simple steps you can take to improve your results with your resume documents and LinkedIn profile.

Begin by remembering the last time you bought a big-ticket item, like a car, house, or even a cell phone. When you did, you probably spent some time reading up about it before you made your purchase. If it was a car, you may have looked through the auto dealer’s slick brochure, soaking up the info that interested you. Or with a cell phone, you may have surfed the Internet comparing providers and phone styles and reading reviews. Whatever it was, you most likely sought out some background information about the item before signing on the bottom line.

Marketing departments at companies producing those big-ticket items know that before consumers buy, they’ll want to study some written material describing the product or service. So they put together brochures and web pages to help people access the data they need. And those marketing specialists are very thoughtful about what they present to you. They want you to have a “Wow, I want to see more!” reaction when you read their brochure or view their web page.

1. View Yourself as a “Big-ticket Item”—and Your Resume as your “Sales Brochure”

Similar to a car or house, you are now a big-ticket item, and you’re getting ready to put yourself on the market—with your resume as your sales flyer. Just as car manufacturers put together a brochure and web page, you need to put together some written material (your resume and LinkedIn profile!) that generates a, “Wow, I want to see more!” response from a potential employer. Seem like a tall order to fill? It’s not rocket science. Just as marketing specialists around the world have figured out how to highlight the right kind of information to motivate buyers, you, too, can use a proven success formula to build a resume that generates excitement and interest.

2. Factor Key Success Concepts into Your Resume Planning


These are some key elements you’ll want to factor into the results-producing resume you create:
  • A target career niche. Where does your expertise and background best fit, and who are the employers who will be most interested in you? Where will you submit your resume, and which resume positions will you target? For instance, truck manufacturers produce heavy duty machines that can handle rugged tasks. They market those vehicles to men who like to haul things and perform manly jobs. Advertising a Chevy half-ton pickup to a soccer mom with four kids wouldn’t be a good use of their time and money. So as a start, we’ll spend some time helping you get focused on career positions that are the best fit for you.
  • Relevant aspects of your background. Which parts of your experience will be most interesting to your target employers to read about in your resume and LinkedIn profile? Again, using the car analogy, Toyota knows that a soccer mom with four kids will often have her hands full, so a single press of a button to open the minivan door will be appealing to her. Toyota prominently displays that feature in their TV ads and brochures. I’ll walk you through a proven process to identify your own best features, and how to emphasize when you submit resumes.
  • The perception that you’re a “reasonable risk”. How will you communicate to a hiring manager that you’re predictable and reliable? Just as you wouldn’t buy a junker car that looks as if it won’t make it around the block, the person reading your resume wants to believe that you’ll be dependable, just by looking at your resume and LinkedIn profile. You’ll learn effective techniques to convey your solid performance to future employers—even if your resume or LinkedIn profile has few holes in your background.
  • Features that motivate the resume screener to take action. What will make your resume stand out from the 100+ other resumes in the pile? One of this year’s new Volkswagen Beetle colors may be just what it takes to get a potential car buyer to the car lot. You’ll want to include some sexy, excitement-building features into your resume and LinkedIn profile to get the hiring manager moving, as well.

So beginning now, I’d like you to think like a marketer aiming to sell a big ticket item (yourself!) to a qualified buyer. It will help you be more objective and successful in making choices about what to include (or not to include) in your resume and LinkedIn profile. And before you know it, you’ll be sending out your own “brochure”, motivating potential buyers to want to know more about you!

Excerpted and adapted from “Career Coward’s Guide to Resumes” by Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.