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  • How to Tone Down Your Resume for Better Results

    Has your resume run amok? Has attention-deficit diluted your writing prowess as you seek for the latest, hippest ways to market You, Inc.?

    If you have watched television programs or read articles from some of the major media lately, you’d think that “resumes gone wild” is the way to go. Here are three examples:

    1. Six-second “Vine resumes” have crept through the latticework of the career landscape.

    2. An Amazon resume developed by a web product manager creatively detailed his career.

    3. Job-seeker billboards straddle the grounds of major highways.

    Attempts to disrupt the resume market have indeed multiplied.

    While brilliant, nuanced and attention-grabbing resumes are vital to set you apart from the competition, defining how to color outside the lines while maintaining a message that is crisp, clear and purposeful to your audience is equally vital.

    Unfortunately, the media’s need for sound bites and traffic-generation often supersedes providing pragmatic value to the job-seeking audience. While boots-on-the-ground resume strategists who have intimate experience working alongside job seekers sit quietly holding their tongues, the airtime often goes to reports touting sexy, outlandish resume methods under the guise of ingenuity.

    Filter Out the Hype

    If this confusing message has sent your blood pressure soaring and compelled you to seek the craftiest way to market yourself, calm down – creative resumes that tell a ‘value story’ still net the best results.

    More than ever, in fact, doing the roll-up-your-sleeves work to research your target company, hiring manager and company culture is critical (Glassdoor’s robust company search features will help speed your research!). By doing the arduous work in understanding your recipient’s needs and then vetting out your methods of fulfilling those requirement in your resume, cover letter, emails, elevator pitches, biographies and social media profiles you will ultimately stand apart and get the right person’s attention.

    While the flash-in-the-pan resume infographics may dazzle a news reporter, the reader that matters is the one who will choose your resume from the stack of thousands and ask you for the interview. That person is silently waiting for the most qualified candidate, not the most innovative sound-bite resume.

    Zero in Your Message on Your Target Reader

    Your focus when writing your resume should be the hiring decision-maker, and how you will help them make more money, get things done faster, stop falling behind, look better, regain control of the overflowing project list and stop the bleeding! Nothing less, nothing more. It’s not about you and your capriciously designed resume. It’s about THEM.

    Showcasing your words with a little flair is advisable – think, “framing” and value-add illustrations. For example, the following resume snippet shows how focus on the individual’s value proposition and achievements take center stage; the spots of color and the chart serve to frame the information, adding pop, but not overwhelming the message:


    Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. An intuitive researcher, she helps professionals unearth compelling career story details to help best present their unique experience, skillset and interests in resumes and other career positioning documents as well as through social media profiles. In addition to being interviewed for television and radio stories, Jacqui has written for the Career Management Alliance Connection monthly newsletter and blog, ExecuNet’s Career Smart Advisor, The Kansas City Star, The Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, she and her husband, “Sailor Rob,” host a lively careers-focused blog over at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui also is a power Twitter user listed on several “Best People to Follow” lists for job seekers.

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    Posted in Job Search, Personal Branding
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