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Is Your Resume a Mirror or a Window? Success in 3 Steps

April 11, 2012

by Mark Babbitt, YouTern


Does your resume reflect your skills, qualifications and potential for employment – like a mirror? Or is it more like a pane of glass – where the recruiter looks right past you to see something, and somebody, else?

Do yourself a favor: take 30 minutes to follow these 3 steps – and position your resume so it accurately reflects you…

Step 1: Assess Your Marketable Skills

This step requires that you stop thinking about the work you’ve done – and actually think about your value proposition for an employer. The reason is simple: A recruiter does NOT really care that you were a lead cashier at McDonald’s. He does, however, care that you are a leader.

So, with your current resume nowhere near you, sit down and write out your Top 10 Sellable Attributes. Do not talk about what you’ve done… talk about what you’re good at… what makes you, YOU. Examples may include:

  • “A natural leader, even when I’m learning”
  • “A problem solver; I take great pride in finding solutions”
  • “Extreme work ethic; I do good work by keeping myself motivated”

Don’t settle for less than ten! If you are a workforce veteran, have assumed leadership positions in college or early in your career, or you have completed several internships, you should have many more than ten.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Resume

Now open your mind, bring back that resume you hid from yourself while performing Step 1, and do an honest assessment…

Does your resume reflect at least 10 of your most marketable skills? Does the resume do most of this in the first 100 words? When you (and recruiters) are done reading your resume, do they get a sense of who you are – and how you can contribute?

Chances are the answer is no… because most resumes do not.

So… start your resume over from scratch. Dump the out-dated objective statement. Do NOT feel like you have to place your list of jobs at the top – with all the bloated responsibilities descriptions listed below the title. Instead, create a “Summary of Skills” section where, using bullets and full (yet brief) sentences, you’ll list your top 10 sellable skills.

When all done, review the very top of your new resume – the first 100 words or so. Does the resume now reflect you, like a mirror? Or is it still a window? If the latter, do Step 2 again (and again… and again… until you see you in your resume, like you are looking in a mirror).

Step 3: Assess Your Opportunities

In Step 3, you’ll ascend to the top of the resume pile by tailoring your “Summary of Skills” to specific job opportunities – every time you apply for a new job or internship, without fail.

For instance, the job description may emphasize the following points:

  • “Knowledge of social media platforms is critical; engagement is key to our brand. WordPress and blogging experience a strong plus.”
  • “The best candidate for this position is a self-starter and has a thirst for learning.”
  • “This is a virtual position; self-discipline is mandatory.”

So your top 5 bullets – for this resume/application – will talk to these points, exactly…

  • Exceptional understanding and ability to engage on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and G+
  • Extensive knowledge of WordPress and Blogger platforms
  • Accomplished blogger – on my blog and also as a contributor to Site 1, Site 2 and Site 3
  • A devout lifelong learner and educator – I learn by constantly reading and doing
  • Enjoy the challenges of being self-sufficient and accountable

Like we’ve done here… you must write your resume to match the job description. Not in a way that rationalizes exaggeration or even lying; you do NOT want to cheat your way through Step 3 (remember: recruiters can spot pure BS a mile away).

Done sincerely and accurately, this 3-step process will have a dramatic impact on your ability to sell your skill set – and create a great first impression with recruiters!

Get started, now… and don’t stop until your resume is a mirror image of you.


About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, CEO and Founder of YouTern Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 12, 2012 1:39 am

    Really an informative blog, these three steps are very important while writing a professional resume. Assesing your skills to understand your career objective, asses your resume for mistakes and finally asses the job, to make sure is this is the job you are looking for?

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