Is Your Resume Ready for the “Big Time”?

In other words, is your resume in shape for your next important job search? Will it help you get the attention you need and want from the employers you plan to target? If you haven’t asked yourself these questions recently, I recommend doing it now.

Resume Glitz and Glitter–or–Genuine Substance

Does your resume need to resemble the picture that accompanies this post? Not at all. In the first place, although you probably can’t see it, the document has a major word misspelled: “Expiriance” instead of “Experience”!

It’s also loaded with visual glitz and glitter, but the layout doesn’t suggest much substance in readable form. For example, it uses light print on a dark background, which I personally find hard to read–and I’m not alone in this.

Conventional marketing promotes the concept that you should “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Apparently this started as a phrase dreamed up by a man named Elmer Wheeler in the 1920s. The idea was to focus on the experience related to a product being sold rather than just the object itself, by appealing to the buyer’s senses and emotions.

In the case of your professional resume, however, it’s not enough to have a flashy presentation that tries to appeal to the “buyer” (employer) on an emotional basis–especially when your resume passes through an applicant tracking system (ATS), which has no emotion!

Your Resume Needs a Compelling Value Message

In a previous post, I talked about truthfulness in your resume. That’s definitely important, but it needs to be viewed in terms of perceived value to the reader. You might have had a wonderful life from kindergarten on, but employers don’t care about all the details of how you got to where you are now–just the ones that speak directly to their business self-interest.

In other words, if you can help them solve a problem, save time, save money or make a boatload more money than they’re making now, they want to know that and possibly get a hint of how you do it–consistently. They don’t want what amounts to a position description, something that could fit practically every applicant in the world.

This becomes even truer as you climb the corporate ladder or fight to keep your position at or near the top in your industry or profession. Your resume must present you as a “mother lode” of high-level value to companies that might consider hiring you.

Does Resume Presentation Matter, Then?

Actually, it’s not a bad idea to add visual enhancement judiciously to your professional resume, as long as it reinforces your value message rather than overwhelming it. Also, if enhancement helps guide readers to key points while remaining ATS-friendly, it can be quite effective.

Just make sure any enhancement serves your ultimate purpose well–to help you line up job interviews!

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