As a techie, I never understood why marketing people were paid so much to describe the product that we built, until I gained an understanding for what they do. That said, here are tips on how to write your resume like it’s a marketing brochure, not just a laundry list of skills.
Now that I have my own company, I understand why marketing is important. In short, it tells the world what our company does, how we can help solve people’s problems, and thus, why they should hire us and/or buy our products. I wish I knew this years ago, because it would have given me tremendous insight as to how to market myself when looking for a new job.
As a marketing department writes documents that describe the value statement of company products and services, we as individuals write resumes that describe our value statement to potential employers. As the quality and effectiveness of the marketing materials help sell company products, the quality and effectiveness of our resumes help sell us.
All that said, here are some tips that can help you market yourself effectively via your resume:
1. Target your resume toward the specific job you are trying to attain. 2. It’s ok to have multiple versions of your resume tailored toward specific types of jobs as long as they are all accurate, honest, and consistent regarding dates, places, and general responsibilities. 3. When highlighting technologies you know, describe them in relationship to other technologies and business goals, such as “Increased company’s website-based sales by 42% by improving shopping cart functionality using PHP and MySQL”. 4. Highlight your results, not just your credentials. 5. Describe how you can provide value to prospective employers. 6. Use a distinctive resume look to help separate your resume from the pack. 7. Include the logos of companies you worked with on your resume, it adds color and distinctness. 8. Feel free to remove obsolete technologies that no one cares about anymore unless you have a specific reason to include it. 9. Consider including a short testimonial or two from prior bosses. 10. Describe the business impact of your technical successes, this helps show you have an understanding of business, not just technology. 11. Be specific; that is say, use statements such as “Improved system performance by 37%” rather than statements such as “Helped increase system performance”. 12. Use strong action verbs, such as “Improved” as used above, rather than more passive expressions such as “Helped to” or “Experienced with”. 13. Have a friend look at your resume for 10 seconds and then tell you what he/she remembers. This 10 seconds is all the time you will get (if you’re lucky) from prospective employers reviewing your resume. 14. Make it pleasing to the eye. That is to say, defined lines, more bullet points than text, centered on the page, easy to read, and right to the point. 15. Don’t be humble, but be honest and don’t exaggerate.
The common theme contained in the above list of tips is that if you want your resume to be on the desk and not in the trash, it must appeal to the reader, describe your value proposition, have eye appeal, and be directed toward the job you are trying to secure.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.