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Getting Out of Your Own Way to Write a Good Resume

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Everyone has a story to tell, and by digging deep, you can unearth gems that sparkle and gleam, attracting even the weariest hiring manager's attention.

Sadly, however, most people don't know how to excavate their precious-stone stories, and the result is lackluster content. A marketing-driven resume must be color-rich, clear, and strong enough to bear the heavy--often unforgiving--weight of the resume-vetting process.

The following are five tips to polish your story to ensure it outshines your competition and commands the hiring manager's attention.

1. Get over yourself. Many people are immersed in articulating, "Who I am," while the hiring manager is asking, "Why should I care?" Speaking of which ....

2. Answer the why. If you don't know "why" the hiring manager should care, then halt your resume-writing process to begin brainstorming. Your job is to understand the marketplace, operational, financial, sales, customer service, technological, and so forth ailments that the type of company you are targeting is riddled with, and prove "why" you can be the salve for their pain. Do your research.

3. Commit to a target audience. Before you can answer the "why," however, you must ensure you have truly committed to a target audience. This means organized introspection to peel back the layers. For example, if your past 10 years were spent working at a well-established and publicly traded Fortune 500 enterprise but you now want to work at a smaller, privately-owned start-up company, then you must commit to that type of audience in your resume.

What this means is understanding the unique differences between a large company's and a small company's inner operations and employee culture. This is only one "layer" of assessing your target audience. You should also consider the type of role; i.e., accounting clerk, sales manager, business analyst, and so forth, plus the industry/sector. Your value can only be communicated if you know what the audience you are targeting "values" in an employee.

4. Understand what it means to prove your value. Then keep doing it, repeatedly, in your resume. The idea of articulating a value proposition is constantly tossed around the career sphere. Simply put, marketing your value means demonstrating you can walk into a role and help fix things, like broken teams, malnourished market channels, siloed departments, stalled projects, declining revenues, and so forth.

5. Now, connect the dots for the reader. You must do this through stories that are knit together with the "who, what, where, when, why, and how." Think texture and nuance when writing your story to pull the reader in. This doesn't mean exaggerating language or stretching the truth. It does mean directly addressing the reader's needs with vigorous, contextual content that calls them to action.

Before revamping your resume, consider the above five points. A resume is a marketing vehicle, with a complex engine and intricate features that must be pulled together to build a smooth-running marketing vehicle to transport the message of You, Inc.

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.

Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog.

Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.

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