Use Personal Branding To Make Your Resume’s First Impression

Mar 20 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes, social branding by Phil Rosenberg

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What is your resume’s personal brand?

Personal branding has different meanings depending on what it’s used for. But when talking about your resume, it’s the first impression your resume makes.

Today, your resume’s personal brand might be the most important thing about your resume.

But how much thought have you given to the first impression your resume makes?

I find most of you are more concerned about keywords and work experience, thinking about personal branding last … if you give it much thought at all.

One of the big reasons so few of you concentrate on your resume’s personal brand – is because you don’t know how to.

Many of you use Objective Statements and Summary sections to try to make your first impression … and end up accidentally creating a first impression that is unclear, uncompelling, makes you look like a commodity and triggers responses of ageism.

But it’s not your fault … Why?

  • No One Taught You: The majority of your body of knowledge about job search was what you were taught in college/grad school by the placement office. They didn’t teach you how to brand yourself … they taught you how to brand yourself as a commodity, so the school could build a brand based on the standard graduate’s skills for their resume book (or eBook), sold to employers.
  • Technology Changes: Applicant Tracking Systems make it easy to find skills matches in the pre-screening process. Hiring managers don’t have to focus on skills, because they only see resumes of candidates who meet the minimum skill set – those who don’t meet minimum skills don’t make it out of the database.
  • Hiring Managers Changed What They Look For: You were taught how to create a skills-based resume, which worked when there were skills shortages from WWII until 2007. Now that there is a shortage of jobs, hiring managers look beyond skills … for superior candidates who have already solved the key problems they face today.

In today’s job market, with the technology tools available to even small companies, you need to consider how your resume is read when you are creating your personal brand.

In today’s job market, to get noticed, your personal brand has to create a crystal clear, compelling first impression of a superior candidate the hiring manager has to talk to:

  • In the first 15 seconds (or less): While HR reps/recruiters/hiring managers regularly report that they make spend an average 15 seconds on your resume … they also report that they reject candidates within 4 – 8 seconds.
  • On the top half of your first page: Even if you deliver a printed resume in person, assume that it will be scanned so it can be keyword searched and read for the first time on screen. Even if you are able to hand it to the hiring manager, don’t assume he/she will read it – it’s HR’s job to pre-screen resume, not the hiring managers’. In addition, the hiring manager may be breaking company policy, putting their company at risk of federal government scrutiny and penalties, by bypassing the pre-screening process.

Given that you have such a short time to make a first impression, effective resume personal branding is:

  1. Crystal clear: It seems obvious, but very few personal brand are … because we’ve been taught to brand ourselves as all things to all people. At a minimum, make it clear what job you’re applying for.
  2. Superior: It’s no longer enough to brand yourself as meeting minimum skills or being qualified – When there are an average 1,000 competitors and job shortages, the employer gets more qualified candidates than they can interview (who end up in the database black hole). In today’s job market, you need to brand yourself as a superior candidate who has already solved the hiring manager’s priority problems, who the hiring manager must talk to.
  3. Instantaneous: To create a gut feel in 4 -8 seconds, you have to be extremely concise. You can’t create a gut feel first impression in 4 – 8 seconds telling your audience all the things you could do. Instead, concentrate on telling your reader that you’re superior in the most important things.

The bad news is … if I continued on to tell you how to create branding that’s crystal clear, superior and instantaneous, the article would never end and no one would read it.

The good news is … you’ll find all that information here:

What’s your personal brand?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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