According to recent Ladders.com research, the average time spent by a recruiter reading your resume is now just 6 seconds! Hopefully if the recruiting person is internal or a hiring manager the time is longer, but realistically it still might only be a few more seconds.
The article shows images of two different resumes and the heat spots where eyes were tending to focus on in the short time they spent scanning the documents. Having information properly formatted and well laid out and clear is obvious.
BUT isn’t the more pressing point why are even we still bothering with a resume?
If you are in mid-career with at least 10 years of professional experience you are easily capable of supplying enough information to write a 3-6 page resume – not the accepted format – rather than a 1-2 page targeted resume. The trouble is that if a company is hiring for a number of positions and is accepting referrals, or the position is internal, you, based on your experience might be suitable for more than one role, but that generic resume is a potential barrier to being considered.
That’s where the use of personal branding can come in, being used to create different career marketing documents as the door openers, giving you time and hopefully greater knowledge to follow up with a targeted resume once specifics of a position or openings are known.
Some of the key elements of personal branding are to understand yourself from both an internal and external perspective. Being able to identify and communicate key strengths and differentiating attributes can really be used to your advantage in creating powerful career documents that make people take notice, but do not give away all the information in one go.
The Brand Skills Sheet. In personal branding work and through the use of specific personal branding assessments you are able to identify what your peers and colleagues, managers and even friends and clients perceive as your key brand skills. Then you can take the time to create your brand stories around how you have used those brand skills in specific job situations with measurable results. This becomes a sort of ‘brag sheet’ that gives the reader a real flavor for who you are, what you might bring to the position or company and how you have been successful in the past. One of the best predictors of future success is past accomplishments
The Branded Bio. Now using the feedback about differentiating attributes and strengths and merging that with a high level view of your work experience you can craft a one page branded biography that again gives the reader a good sense of who you are, where you have been and what you have done. This helps eliminate pre-conceptions of how long you were at company XYZ or why you took a drop in job title after leaving company ABC etc.
Brand Testimonials. An added bonus to the equation is that with the personal branding assessment feedback come comments from the people who you have chosen to respond. The assessment itself is anonymous to allow for honest and objective feedback, but the comments are still un-attributable testimonials and the positive ones can be used to inject in to the Brand Skills Sheet to highlight specific experiences of the skill in action and a third party’s reaction. Also any other positive feedback, performance review comments or LinkedIn recommendations can be used in a similar way.
In Summary. The Skills Sheet and Bio can prove to be very useful documents that allow you to still be proactive and responsive to a request for more information but still give you control over information specifics that can be saved for the tailored and targeted resume at the next stage of the conversation or process.
The content created in the skills and bio sheets can also be used as copy or structure for on line profiles on networking sites, even in the resume posting sections of job boards and certainly in any other type of web presence such as portfolios or blogs. Also for those internal uses such as talent files they have equal benefit.
Paul Copcutt first aligned with personal branding after reading Tom Peters ‘Brand You 50’ in 1997. Now a sought after speaker and media resource he has been featured by Forbes, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and Elle. He works on leadership brands with executives, managers and teams for leading Fortune 500 corporations.