Let me count the ways. Am I my resume? Am I a brand? Am I desperately seeking someone to show me the way? If you are as confused by how you should define who and what you represent to the job world, get in line. Most people today don’t know whether they are defined by the accomplishments listed on their 3-page resume or the idea that they should somehow convince themselves they are a brand like any common household product! Knowing who you are is important of course, but knowing what you stand for when faced with your inevitable job search is essential.
Deciding how to effectively “market” yourself to a prospective employer by first identifying who you are and what you bring to the table can help you navigate the dreaded question on whether you are your resume, your bio or a brand. Your resume is your calling card, plain and simple. Yes it might be nice to have some catchy slogans: “Innovator, Visionary, Creative Think-Tank” slapped onto your letterhead but in essence, does anyone really define you in those terms? More importantly, is that how you define yourself? Branding your identity or your skill-set is great if you are in product placement or maybe even advertising. But at the end of the day, getting noticed on paper well, isn’t actually getting noticed at all.
Your resume is the lead in and does not determine whether you get the interview or a job offer for that matter-you are actually in charge of that. Your resume, like your brand is a way to help you categorize, identify and pigeon-hole you in a box that may or may not make it easier for the recruiter or hiring manager to “place” you in a job they are looking to fill. Hiding behind paper resume is not the way to get noticed by someone who has the capability of offering you a job. Branding yourself as the term implies, can be painful and cuts you off from opportunities you may not have thought you would be “right” for. Branding and visioning resumes are great esoteric exercises that sound “hip” and “trendy” but often leave the recruiter glazed over in confusion wondering what job or what skill set you possess that might be useful to the company they are looking to hire. In a word, keep it simple is key. Lose the fancy verbiage, acronyms and identifiers for the sake of emphasizing your employment history, the wonderful companies you worked for and the jobs you’ve held on your rise to the top of your profession
It’s not about how many jobs you can list on a resume, or highlight what a gifted thinker you are, it’s about what you accomplished, how you were respected and most of all where you plan to grow your talent that is of importance to the recruiter or hiring manager. Stop making your resume a script from a bad reality series and stick to what you know. Honesty, directness and experience is sure to land you your next job faster than any fancy resume or branding exercise will hope to get you. When in doubt edit, and when you don’t have anything to say, it’s always best to keep silent and listen.
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