“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”
And the often reported impending end of the resume have also proven to be exaggerations. The resume as a career marketing document certainly has its place and while with the advent of more technology the death of the resume is being predicted it will likely be a long time before we see the resume disappearing or being replaced. However the traditional job search either active or passive is changing and with that the approach and the documents used need to change as well.
It has been often quoted and for many years that the vast majority of positions are bring filled through referrals and networking, certainly in the current world of talent shortage employee referrals is a rapidly growing source of new hires for many companies – as high as 50% in some cases.
For the job seeker this form of finding their next job, referrals or networking, can be very alien and approaching this using methods last used a number of years ago may not be the best way to secure interest in skills and experience. This is especially relevant if the employee or referrer has little or no understanding of the opportunities or how the job seeker might fit in.
The job seeker is grateful for the introduction and blindly hands over or sends their resume by email for passing on down the line and immediately loses much of the control of how they position themselves and are being perceived. They might not even have the name of the hiring manager or contact for handling their application and now have diminished their chances of having much influence in the process.
Anyone in mid-career with at least 10 years of professional experience is 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, the job seeker based on their experience might be suitable for more than one role, but their generic resume is a potential barrier to their 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 the job seeker 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 the job seekers 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 their company and how you have been successful in the past. The best predictor 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 without the pre-conceptions of how long you were at company XYZ or why you took a drop in job title after leaving company ABC etc.
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.
The Skills Sheet and Bio can prove to be very useful documents that allow the job seeker to still be proactive and responsive to a request for more information but still give them 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.
These two documents should be the two that any job seeker reaches for in a networking or referral situation, or indeed anywhere that a specific role is not evident or has been posted or advertised. The resume certainly has its place, is just a little further down the application process.
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