When on a job hunt, you send your resume to all relevant job postings hoping it does the trick. Unfortunately, it might not be helping you as much as it could. Many job hunters assume their resume is fully up to the task of landing that coveted interview when it’s really not.
Even if your resume gets through the applicant tracking system (ATS) and into the hands of a hiring manager, does it distinguish you from all the other people touting similar backgrounds? You may need a personal brand statement to stand out.
Personal branding has been associated with social media, where influencers, celebrities and ordinary people practice the art of self-promotion. Digital marketing sums up personal branding as “the unique combination of skills, experiences, and personality that you want your followers to see.” It’s your story presented so that others grasp what makes you uniquely you.
Today’s most effective resumes borrow this idea by including a personal brand statement that captures how your skills, experience and personality make you a uniquely qualified candidate.
When thoughtfully articulated, your personal brand statement can immediately and succinctly provide recruiters and hiring managers with a tangible sense of your value as a potential employee.
Setting Yourself Apart
Your personal brand statement is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from other job applicants. Presented just below your name and contact information, it tells a recruiter right off the top exactly who you are.
You may be wondering, “What happened to Career Objective? Didn’t that used to go under my name and contact information?” Not anymore. To today’s employers, a career objective focuses too heavily on what you want (a detail that’s unfortunately not as relevant today), as opposed to what value you bring to an employer.
When you substitute Career Objective with Brand Statement, you appear more in tune with today’s hiring practices. You also stand out from the person who knows enough to omit the objective but dives headlong into their list of jobs, which doesn’t tell a recruiter enough about who you are.
Bringing Your Personal Brand to Life
An effective personal brand statement captures the most important details of your skills, experience and personality. Think of it as the elevator speech of your resume in which you have a very limited window of opportunity to grab someone’s attention.
The key is to make the most of every word using the following tips.
Some applicants use a generic header, such as Professional Summary or Profile Statement, for this section of their resume. Although there’s nothing technically wrong with that approach, personalizing the header lets you immediately project your professional image and status.
Here are a few examples:
If You Are a Seasoned Professional:
- Senior Operational Risk Manager: This header, placed above a summary paragraph, contains applicable keywords sought by the ATS, and it conveys an instantaneous sense of the applicant’s skill area and level for recruiters.
If You Are A Professional Seeking to Migrate Within an Industry:
- Licensed Physical Therapist with Extensive Experience Representing a Healthcare Brand: When set in bold type, this introduction to a summary paragraph highlights the key transferrable skill for someone looking to move from the clinical to the sales side of healthcare.
If You Are a College Graduate:
Even if you’re just starting your career, you can use a header to highlight something unique about yourself, such as:
- University President’s Leadership Program Alumnus: Right away, this header suggests that the applicant has several distinguishable qualities: leadership, intelligence and drive.
Making sure to use keywords that match those on job postings, follow up your header with a two- to five-sentence paragraph that concisely summarizes your career highlights, such as the following:
- Important big picture stats like staff or budget size experience
- Skills that transfer if switching job types
- Various industry, company or project types in your background
- A truly unique skill set or major accomplishment
Further enhance your paragraph by following it up with a bit more detail, like the personal recommendation on this nursing student resume sample from Monster or a list of your key skills or services as in this nanny resume.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
During an interview, you can talk up your experience and let your attitude and personality shine through. But prior to that first meeting, the only thing recruiters have to go on is your resume. A personal brand statement is the perfect finishing touch to ensure you don’t get lost in the hiring shuffle.