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How To Write A Resume And Sell Yourself Dearly

Over the past three years, I have completed my resume twenty times. Once – for myself, when I got a job as the head of the copywriting department in an advertising agency, and the rest – for friends and acquaintances. Sometimes the goals were challenging and exciting: to arrange a friend with no work experience, but with great potential in a large company (from which he left after two years and opened his own successful business) or to win a “resume competition,” were about 30 job seekers.

Do you know why in 95% of cases, the problem was solved successfully? Because a resume is the identical sales copy that sells a person to an employer. With all that it implies. And, as practice shows, 99% of people do not know how to write a resume. I was convinced of this when I worked as a department head and recruited employees. Every day, human resources managers (HRs) dumped dozens of job seekers’ resumes, and I didn’t even read most of these resumes: they were written either boringly, like a blueprint, or creatively on a blackboard, but I as an employer were entirely uninteresting for me.

Why do people write unnecessary things on their resumes?

Most people make a few blunders when writing a resume. Firstly, they ultimately do not understand the task of their target audience (HR manager, department head, or business owner). Secondly, they all rewrite 1-to-1 CVs according to a template, of which there are a lot on the Internet, “safely” merging with the gray mass of other similar job seekers.

Finally, thirdly, the overwhelming majority of people make one resume for a wide range of vacancies: from HR manager to CNC machine operator, they say, they will take it somewhere. As a result, such a resume contains a bunch of unnecessary information and, at best, is sent to the folder “Consider if we don’t find anyone at all in six months of searching.”

What an employer needs

When it comes to selling goods and services, you can go in two ways: from the product (describe which product is fantastic and unique) and from the client (find the client’s problem, his pain and present the product as a solution to this problem). The second approach works much better in practice.

A human resource is a product, and an employer is a buyer. And here, all the basic principles of sales are fulfilled. If you look at everything systematically, and not only from an employee’s position, you will see clear patterns.

You will also notice that the employer has a particular task: to get the maximum result for the money invested. Fill the vacancy with the right person at the lowest (if possible) cost. The higher the development and the less money you need to spend, the better. This is called a bargain.

The opposite is also true: the more value a person is within the job, the more money they cost. No matter how cynical it sounds, but when we talk about a resume, a person is a commodity in the labor market window. No more, no less.

The worst mistakes when writing a resume

When I worked as the head of the copywriting department at a large advertising agency, I had about 40 people subordinate to me. At that time, we were actively filling vacancies for web writers and copywriters, and HR managers sent me dozens of job seeker resumes.

9 out of 10 of these resumes I sent to the trash bin at a cursory glance because they were boring and completely inept. Typical mistake: much information, but not a hint of why a person is suitable for this particular job. In other words, I was offered a product that I did not need at all, and if I did need it, no one explained to me why.

Another problem about half of all resumes sent is the wrong structure. I have many friends who are excellent specialists in their field. But the problem is that looking at their resume, you can’t tell. It is essential to understand that a potential employer has no other information besides the resume. If the resume does not make the desired impression, no one will likely call.

The basics of writing a winning resume

Rule #1: A good resume is always tailored for a specific job. There must be certainty here. Option: I will become a programmer or a tester, or maybe a sales manager, as a rule, who works very poorly.

Want to know why? I explain. Different vacancies will differ in salary, sometimes even several times. HR managers understand the salary line very well.

Now put yourself in their shoes. You see a resume of a person ready to work as a programmer (whose salary can go up to $5000 in the United States) and as a sales manager, whose average salary is $2000 – 25000. Tie one, and the same person is ready to receive two times less money in another job, and he doesn’t care. This raises serious doubts about his account.

Signs of good form in a resume are to state a goal. For example: “Getting a position of a commercial director.” Clear, understandable, and specific.

Cheat code

To tailor your resume to the vacancy as accurately as possible, look at the requirements of existing vacancies and adapt your resume to match them as closely as possible (to be as relevant as possible). Then the likelihood of a response increases significantly.

Resume structure

One thing is essential to remember and understand when talking about resume structure. Your resume competes with a dozen others in most cases, so you need to draw the employer’s attention to the key points immediately.

Another widespread mistake is direct chronology, when a person describes his professional experience in sequence, almost from school to the last place of work (top to bottom).

The employer is not interested in your studies. In any case, not in the first place. He needs to fill the vacancy with the most suitable candidate. Therefore, he needs to focus on the key points first. And only then, as additional information, can you indicate training, certificates, etc.

Important: the structure of the resume is built from priority information for the employer to secondary data, not vice versa. I will provide a sample at the end of this article.

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Achievements

Now, for the sake of the experiment, I opened my archive and took out ten resumes. And in none of them did I come across crucial information. But in each case, the same error appears.

The overwhelming majority of people, describing their professional experience, use the link: “place of work – responsibilities.” But the employer has little interest in responsibilities. Let me explain why.

Imagine walking into a grocery store. You take a cake from the shelf and pay attention to the label. But instead of the usual “Composition,” you see another inscription on it: “In this product, according to the norm, there should be…”. You round your eyes and put the cake in place with an unpleasant aftertaste. After all, you are not interested in what the product should contain. You are interested in what it has.

Therefore, the link “Place of work, responsibilities, achievements” works much better in the resume. It is much more informative and sells you at times more expensive in the labor market.

Compare:

Responsibilities

  • Cold calls
  • Producing a presentation
  • Conclusion of contracts

Too abstract, suitable? And now for a complete bundle.

Achievements

  • Concluded eight contracts with large companies for $1.5 million each
  • Brought the company a total profit of over $10 million in three years
  • He got 119 clients to the company, 38 of which became permanent
  • Over Fulfilled the sales target in the last 19 months in a row
  • Compiled his client base of 1100 people (decision-makers)

Responsibilities

  • Cold calls
  • Producing a presentation
  • Conclusion of contracts

Which example sells a person better and more expensive? This is a rhetorical question. Another thing is curious: the value in the second case is an order of magnitude higher than in the first, and the salary may differ several times. Although it would seem the duties are the same, the position is the same. The specifics decide.

Skills and technology

How To Write A Resume
How To Write A Resume

Be sure to indicate the skills and technologies that the employer needs and that you own.

For example, when I got a job as head of copywriting at an advertising agency, my public speaking skills, teaching skills, and a large base of web writers were a big plus.

Please Note: when you indicate a particular technology, it is not necessary to indicate how well you know it. You can, of course, write an experienced MS Office user if this is indeed the case. But otherwise, it is better to list the packages that you have worked with or know about. For human resources (HR) managers, who are usually not narrow specialists, it is specific technologies that are the key anchors they look for on a resume.

For example, you can write: I speak the PHP programming language, and HR will search for Zend Framework (written in PHP). Moral: Pay attention to job requirements.

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Background information

To my great disappointment, many people use hackneyed cliches to describe the additional benefits: “sociable, stress-resistant, responsible, etc.” The problem is that these clichés are found on almost every resume.

Meanwhile, templates can be broken very easily: include your beliefs, principles, or objects of pride in your resume. Include favorite books or blogs, interests. At first glance, this may seem unimportant. However, this information characterizes you as a person and not as a robot that has compiled a resume according to the given parameters. Moreover, if suddenly your hobbies and the employer’s hobbies coincide, an emotional connection will arise between you, which will significantly increase your chances of success. And even if other candidates, your competitors, will be more assertive in one way or another, they will still choose you because a strong psychological trigger will work – goodwill.

Finally, if you plan to use general phrases, expand them in more detail and explain exactly how this or that quality manifests itself in you.

For example:

Stress tolerance

I can withstand high emotional stress and remain calm in critical situations.

A responsibility

I can quickly analyze the situation and make decisions promptly, taking full responsibility for them.

Sociability

I quickly find a common language with people to resolve related work issues effectively.

Learnability

I can independently and quickly search for the necessary information and apply it in practice.

Etc. Of course, the more facts of competence you have (awards, certificates, diplomas, etc., the better and more complete your resume will be).

How to write a resume if you have no experience and achievements

When there is neither experience nor achievements, you need to understand that you will not be hired for specific vacancies for one simple reason: the employer needs a person. Able and able to solve the problems posed to him and not create new ones.

However, if you are targeting a job, you have two options:

  1. Acquire the necessary skills and experience on your own and still sell yourself, providing guarantees for fulfilling the assigned obligations.
  2. Get a job in another place where you can get the necessary skills.

Even if you have no experience, you still have positive qualities that are useful to the employer. They also need to be specified. For example, if you are willing to stay overtime or work until you get results, it will grab attention and set you apart from the competition.

Again, if there are no achievements, but there is minimal experience, you can write: “Participated in the launch of a large-scale email campaign based on 100,000 addresses through Mailchimp”.

This will already let the person know that you are in the subject, see the terminology, and you have some knowledge base (even if you just watched how your friends or colleagues launched an Email campaign).

Transmittal letter

Often, the resume is not sent in its pure form but with a cover letter by mail. And this letter plays a crucial role in shaping the first impression.

The composition of your resume cover letter depends on three factors:

  • the level of your qualifications
  • the position for which you are applying
  • the person you are writing to and who makes the decision

In practice, sincere interest in the project, benevolence, and readiness to solve the assigned tasks works in order of magnitude better than talking about money or setting your conditions. All this is best discussed in an interview.

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The sample structure for writing a resume

A resume, like a selling text, is easiest to compose in blocks. Here is an example of the structure of such blocks.

Important: The word “resume” is never written in the resume.

  1. Hat (name, age, contacts).
  2. Purpose (what position do you want to get – you need to choose one; you need different resumes).
  3. Professional experience and achievements (in reverse chronology).

Last place of work

  • Achievements
  • Responsibilities

Penultimate place of work

  • Achievements
  • Responsibilities

Previous jobs

  • Achievements
  • Responsibilities

There is one thing worth paying attention to here. For example, I am, in fact, a “multi-class character” in the language of computer games. This means that I have two (and now three directions): an engineer (radio-electronic profile and programming), a copywriter and a marketer, an entrepreneur.

All three areas can be indicated in the resume, but some are important for the employer. The rest are either followed or taken out in addition.

  1. Key skills (necessary for the employer).
  2. Technologies (first of all, necessary for future work).
  3. Education (if there is no work experience (yesterday’s student), then education is indicated instead of block 3).
  4. Additional information and evidence of competence (certificates, awards, achievements outside of work, etc.).
  5. Block with personal information (interests, hobbies, books, resources; for example, if you read the same resources as your employer and related to your future work, then this will be a big plus).

Important: God forbid you to write a resume to stand out due to non-standard graphic design (bright fonts, creative phrases, or something like that). In practice, no one reads such resumes, and they go straight to the trash can.

Summary

A funny play on words turns out: “resume by resume.” But, joking aside, I want to draw your attention to three essential points once again.

  1. The goal of a resume is to sell the job seeker to the employer for as much money as possible. The laws of sales are in full force here. Therefore, do not be shy. All the benefits of your offer should be immediately apparent.
  2. The resume must correspond to the vacancy for which you apply and be maximally “sharpened” for it.
  3. Don’t overload your resume with unnecessary information. Use only the information the employer needs to invite you for an interview. No more, no less.

Let your resume sell you dearly!

Yours sincerely, Devansh Pathak.

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