Developing a strong impression on your resume and during an interview involves knowing your product – which is yourself. Remember that you are now acting as a salesperson and the product that you are bringing to market is yourself.
You can start by creating a strong “profile” about yourself. A profile can be used as the opening statement on your resume, replacing the typical “objective” statement and it can also be tailored to create an introduction about yourself when networking. A profile provides a summary of your skills and identifies your unique qualities and strengths, which help to market you to the employer.
When writing a profile, consider the following questions:
- Who am I? i.e. Oracle Developer, Business Analyst or Project Manager
- What do I like to do? i.e. having day to day contact with people, work independently, work in a team environment
- What are my skills and abilities? i.e. troubleshooting, organizing, promoting, record keeping
- What type of work have I done in the past?
- What type of work would I like to do in the future?
An example of a profile statement would be: An innovative software developer with 15 years experience with one of Canada’s leading software firms. Extensive experience in total life cycle management with software development projects. A self starter with a unique flair to plan and organize assignments and manage people.
Also consider your personal characteristics. For example, are you adaptable, friendly, have good judgment, a hard worker, likable, tolerant, flexible? Are you competitive, punctual, reliable, and thorough, with high energy and decisive?
Consider your skills. A skill or aptitude, is something you use to perform a task, or in playing a role. There are three types of skills, namely functional or transferable skills, specific work content skills, and self management skills.
Functional skill: usually obtained as either an innate talent that comes naturally to you that has been honed by education, experience, or specific training. These skills are also transferable; you can easily take these skills from one job or task to another and apply them to the project you set out to do. Examples would be coaching, editing, analyzing, or delegating.
Work content skill: usually obtained through training, apprenticeship, or on-the-job. Examples would be accounting, driving, hairdressing, or engineering.
Self-Management skills: usually developed in early years at school, through peers, among family. Also referred to as adaptive skills. Examples would be dependability, punctuality, flexibility, and sense of humour.
A sample list of functional skills is below – choose the 5 that you are most competent in and use them as a base for your profile. You could also go through the list and use some of these skills to build your accomplishment statements in your resume.
- Analyzing situations or data
- Assembling equipment or data
- Calculating numbers
- Coaching, guiding, or tacking
- Compiling data or facts
- Constructing objects or buildings
- Coordinating activities or events
- Corresponding, answering, or initiating
- Counseling, advising, or listening
- Creating new ideas, new ways of doing things
- Deciding alternatives, resources, or material
- Delegating tasks or responsibilities
- Designing products or form
- Displaying ideas, products, and equipment
- Editing newsletters, letters
- Estimating costs, income, or physical space
- Evaluating performance, programs, processes, or events
- Fundraising one to one or through direct mail
- Group facilitating, managing group interactions
- Handling complaints from parents, clients, customers, or citizens
- Inspecting or examining physical objects, financial statements
- Interpreting data
- Investigating private information, underlying causes, or sequence of events
- Making layouts for printed media or public displays
- Meeting the public
- Observing physical phenomena, human behavior, or changing situations
- Operating equipment, machines, or vehicles
- Organizing people, information, or events
- Planning, budgeting, goal setting, or scheduling
- Programming equipment
- Record keeping
- Repairing equipment, vehicles
- Selling ideas, products
- Serving a product or individual
- Sketching pictures, diagrams
- Speaking in public, to groups, or via electronic media
- Supervising people or processes
- Teaching formal or informal
- Timing organizing time or events
- Troubleshooting equipment or situations
- Updating information or records
- Writing creative or factual
Consider also your character traits. These are typically the “soft” skills that employers look for when hiring good employees.
Below is a list of some character traits you may wish to use when developing a resume. There are many character traits, do some research or come up with your own.
For example; the ability to: communicate, get along with others, plan or organize, remain cool under pressure, train others. Creativity or imagination, decisiveness, flexibility, hard worker, high energy level, imitative, self starter, intelligence, persuasiveness, problem analysis, self confidence, responsible.
In summary, to create a good impression on paper (resume) or in person (during an interview), create a profile statement about yourself, answer questions about yourself so you have a clear picture of who you are, what you have done in your career, your accomplishments and where you would like to be in the future. In developing the body of your resume, create accomplishment statements (in bulleted form) that focus on what you did, how you did it and the value it added to the company. Use an action verb to start your accomplishment statement that explains what you did, i.e. managed, sold, budgeted, analyzed. If you are in a current job keep the verb in present tense, if you are writing about a past accomplishment in a previous job, write the verb in the past tense.
Next, answer within the accomplishment statement, how you accomplished the action you did, i.e.. If you managed a team of 7 programmers, answer the question “how did you manage your team?” A possible answer may be: by overseeing and scheduling their weekly projects. The final step is to answer the question “what value did it have to the company?” A possible answer may be: resulting in all projects being completed on time and within budget. Therefore, your accomplishment statement would read like this: Managed a team of 7 programmers by overseeing and scheduling weekly projects resulting in all projects being completed on time and within budget.
Designing your accomplishment statements in this manner sets your resume apart from others because it speaks to the reader (your potential employer) and answer what is forefront on their minds … “what can you do for me?” better than any individual before you did?