Approximately twenty-five years ago, job searching went digital and seeking employment has never been the same. Since then, the traditional methods of stopping by a business in person or responding by mail to a job ad in the local newspaper have been gradually replaced by faster, more convenient methods. Paper resumes which had to be printed, packaged and mailed one-by-one (all at a cost to the job applicant) are now digital documents that can be submitted to many different employers in quick succession free of charge.
A single job posting may receive hundreds of applicants. And, individual applicants have to work much harder to stand out from the crowd. While your resume used to serve primarily as a summary of your past work, it must now serve as much more.
To get a chance at a job interview, today’s resume must quickly and effectively deliver a message to prospective employers: This candidate is worth a closer look.
Listing your employment history as a summary of the duties you performed at each job doesn’t differentiate you from the crowd of other job seekers and it’s not what recruiters and hiring managers want to see.
No longer a stale summary of the past, the modern resume must be a compelling promotional piece offering employers a glimpse into the future, a future in which they hire you.
While your resume used to serve primarily as a summary of your past work, it must now serve as much more.
Transform your resume from a boring record to an enticing report
To land the job you want, treat your resume as a personal marketing piece. It serves as your chance to communicate to prospective employers that you are the best solution to their problem, the best choice for the job.
And, like any good marketing asset, your resume needs to be crafted in a way that communicates your value to your targeted customer (the employer) and moves them closer to your ultimate goal--a job offer. Your resume needs to do more than just tell, it needs to sell.
Does that sound like a tall order? If you aren’t sure you understand how to create a resume that sells the product called you, you aren’t alone. Many job seekers struggle with crafting a resume that does more than tell recruiters and hiring managers what they did in the past.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how you can transform one of the most important parts of your advertisement, er… resume, the Work Experience section.
Show employers a glimpse of the future and work a little marketing magic.
If you aren’t sure you understand how to create a resume that sells the product called you, you aren’t alone.
Features tell, but benefits sell
Ask anyone in marketing how to write a persuasive piece of advertising and they will tell you that features tell, but benefits sell. So, as you craft the bullet points that appear under each of the most recent entries in your Work Experience section, your goal should be to present your benefits to the reader.
How does it work?
Think of the facts of your resume--the who, what, when, and how--as your features.
For example, say you are a professional widget maker. You might be tempted to include bullet points stating that you made widgets for six years at the Acme widget factory. And you might note that you were a widget making trainee for three years at the Best Widgets Ever factory as a separate bullet point. That’s great and may get you a first glance from a hiring manager in need of a widget maker.
But, what does it really tell the prospective employer about your widget making ability?
This is where your benefits come into the equation. Your benefits as an employee are the details that tell the employer what you can do for them.
“If you hire me, I will make widgets 10% faster than my peers.”
“If you hire me, I’ll reduce the cost of each widget by 5%.”
You get the idea, right?
How to craft Work Experience bullet points that sell
Now, it would be much easier to craft a resume if your benefits statements could be as direct as the ones I shared above. But, alas, that isn’t the way it works. So, to communicate your benefits on your resume, you’ll instead use past accomplishment and achievement statements using quantified data. Unlike a mutual fund, you can use this past performance to serve as an indicator of future results.
To craft your bullet points, begin each statement with an action verb that leads to a quantified result. For example, the action verb “decreased” naturally leads to a sentence that concludes with how much. “Decreased customer churn by 4%.” Use your action verb as a prompt to help you craft your achievement statement.
Want to amp up that sentence even more? Try including more numbers to add context. “Decreased customer churn by 4% resulting in additional monthly revenue of $800.”
How can you identify your action verb and result combos? You can use a mix of metrics, dollars, and percentages. Start by journaling a list of your career accomplishments and try to answer questions as it relates to how long, how much and how often.
Products sell when they solve a problem or satisfy a desire. Your resume will earn you a job interview when it does the same for your prospective employer.
Of course, your Work Experience section should be carefully prepared to ensure that all the information you have included is accurate and not misleading. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create statements that sell. So, pull out your list of jobs well done and turn your bullet points into benefits that no employer can resist. And don’t forget to take a careful pick at the right action verb to kick off each bullet point - it all matters in helping you sell the benefits to hiring you.
Learn more about Carmen’s free tool to help you customize your resume efficiently. The application will instantly highlight every hard skill and soft skill in its database of thousands of skills and match them against your resume. Importantly, it will also run a gap analysis to highlight the missing skills that the employer listed in the job description so that you can add them efficiently via Carmen’s live-edit feature. You can also quickly go through Carmen’s job listings to instantly score your resume against each job that comes up in the search results.