Resume: a personal branding marketing collateral?

I remember the first time I created my resume. Searched online and used a sample resume as a template for an entry-level position at a bunch of places, including Pizza Hut (where I did work for a few weeks). I didn’t have a printer, so I had to visit a cyber cafe (which were minting money back then) to get a print out for about a dollar per page!

The problem was that I was short on cash and really didn’t want to spend $10 for 10 copies of my resume. Now that’s a situation that generally sparks creativity, right? In my case, I simply wrote my resume by hand on 9 different sheets of paper. Sure, I could’ve xeroxed the resume but that wasn’t cheap either or at least I couldn’t afford it at that time. Also, my excuse for showing up with a handwritten resume was that “my printer broke down for some reason and I didn’t have time to visit a cafe.” It worked 100% of the time. Nobody could deny the fact that I worked hard to get that resume in order.

That was like 17 years ago. 2019 seems to be a different story. I have an awesome printer. My resume is in good shape, though I don’t have a reason to use it anytime soon. That said, I think resume’s function has changed from being an informative summary about an individual’s capability to a personal branding asset. Which means if you’re still sloppy with your resume, it’s time that you get serious about it.

Of course, like a resume talent isn’t optional. And there may be creative ways to present your resume (a resume website with a video that has a call to action), you the person has to be authentic. Employers are smart enough to smell or see the gap in who you are and what your resume portrays. It’ll just go against you and bite you in the rear.

The rule is simple — keep it real, keep it updated and focus on value.

Not the kind you thought would apply to resume, right? Well, why not? Recruiters aren’t looking for your job description at your previous workplaces but for achievements or the value that you brought in. They’re looking for rockstars (but end up with mediocre-but-arrogant fools) and want to know all about your accomplishments and the great things you did. (Goes without saying, that’s not you if all you did was punch the clock at 9 and punched it out at 5 for the last 6-10-15 years.)

See, that’s where the personal branding asset comes in the picture. Your resume is your walking talking marketing collateral that you should deeply care about. Forget about keyword stuffing or beautifying it, focus on the absolute and immediate value that you can provide. That’s a conversation starter and a game changer for your career.

By the way, folks who say you don’t need a resume don’t really need a job. You do. Go make one!

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