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Selling YOU 101

Nearly everybody hates talking about and selling themselves. But unfortunately you need to 'sell' yourself to get a job!

I'm yet to work with a client who hasn't told me they dislike talking about themselves. They find talking up their achievements painful (and usually start the consult by saying that they have none!) and are not good at articulating their strengths or skills.

But your resume is essentially a sales document, selling you to the prospective employer.

It needs to be punchy, easy to read, and highlight your unique selling points, key skills/strengths, and key achievements.

And once you have this on paper, your confidence will soar and you are much more likely to nail the job interview.

So, how do you do this?

First, you need a modern, professional resume template which has a 'summary' front page.

Your resume front page should include:

  • Your name and contact details (mobile, email, LinkedIn URL - put this in the header)

  • A professional profile

  • A skills/strengths summary

  • A few key achievements from across your career

  • A career summary or snapshot (list of jobs and years)

The prospective employer needs to quickly understand your experience and see that you have the skills to do the job. And your achievements should make you stand out from the crowd.

Your professional profile should weave together your top 3-4 unique selling points (perhaps brainstorm these with a friend or colleague) and clearly explain who you are (in terms of job titles and your experience). Make sure you use lots of key words from the job ad or position description.

Your key skills or strengths section should outline your top skills - and these should be aligned with the job key selection criteria. For example, leadership, stakeholder engagement, communication. You should list the skills, then add some detail about your experience in each area.

Your key achievements should be the biggest 2-3 from across your career, and they should highlight different skills. For example, one might showcase your administration and organisational skills, and the other your stakeholder engagement or customer service skills.

For tips on how to brainstorm and write achievements, see this blog post on 3 Simple Steps to an Achievements-based Resume.

The rest of your resume (don't go past four pages unless you are a published academic or researcher) will cover your career history, education etc.

Under each role, it's important to list achievements as well as job responsibilities. People are much more likely to read and be impressed by achievements than a boring list of responsibilities (hint: keep your responsibilities brief and high level; don't copy your position description!).

So, go and have a look at your existing resume.

Does it articulate your unique selling points, skills and achievements?


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