Your resume is a million dollar document
Your resume is a marketing document, a branding statement.
It’s a promise for the future, based on past accomplishments – a professional advertisement. It is written specifically for the purpose of motivating the targeted audience to contact you; it is not the complete guide to all your experiences, capabilities, education, interests and hobbies.
Think of a Porsche Cayenne.
It has a glossy brochure as well as an owner’s manual. The brochure has just enough information to make you want to head into the showroom, or at least fantasise about driving one.
The owner’s manual has all the information you need to operate every feature in the vehicle, but Porsche knows that it isn’t going to motivate you to want to buy the car. So, let’s agree that your resume is like a brochure – keep it brief, impressive and just enough to motivate people to want to interview you.
Your resume has financial value
Since your resume is the essential advertisement that will impress people and make them want to interview you, it has significant value in terms of its potential to open up opportunities and conversations for highly sought-after jobs with the best companies.
To put a value on your resume, use this formula:
Current compensation x desired income growth (%) x years of income influenced = financial value of your resume.
Current compensation: this is the sum total of the base salary, incentives, bonuses and benefits in the job that you are in. If you are in between roles, it is your most recent employment agreement.
Desired income growth: this is the increase you need to keep up with your financial goals and lifestyle. For the sake of this example, let’s say it will be 50% more than you are currently earning in two to three years from now – depending on how soon you want to get there. This number (1.5) will balance the lower amount you earned before and the higher amount you’ll earn after the mid-point over a period of five years.
Years of income influenced: to keep within sight of the near term, it’s best to use a period of the next five years. For example, if you are currently earning $200,000, the commercial value of your resume is worth $1.5 million ($200,000 x 1.5 x 5 years = $1.5 million). This is a high-value advertisement!
Beyond money, it also affects your peace of mind, sense of accomplishment, enjoyment and satisfaction. And since your resume is a high-value advertisement, how much time are you going to spend on ensuring it inspires your buyers? I would hope it would be at least ten to twenty hours.
Your resume requires an investment of time
Unfortunately, most people I know don’t spend more than an hour at best on their resume, and tend to work on updating it only when they have a moment or two to spare. As a result, they are not fully focused and have lower levels of energy, so end up with an average resume which doesn’t inspire hiring managers or convert into interviews.
It’s imperative to update your resume at a time when you have high energy and minimum distractions. I would even recommend taking a day off to get away to a secluded location and do deep thinking work on your all-important document, unless you get it done professionally.
People make a number of other mistakes along the way in relation to their resume.
- Updating an older version of their resume
- Hastily adding a few lines
- Ignoring spelling and grammatical errors
- Forgetting critical success facts and figures
- Missing the opportunity to address the future direction they desire
This leads to:
- Formatting and grammatical errors that continue into the updated resume
- Information without persuasion
- Only the minimum required information
- Boring job description lines
- Lack of clarity about core value proposition and direction
Which leads to:
- Not being easily recognised in the ATS
- Not being shortlisted for jobs by junior HR screeners
- Not convincing recruiters to progress the application to the hiring managers
- Not inspiring hiring managers to imagine the applicant could be the answer to their needs
And finally, there is either silence or the standard rejection letter.
The long-term cost of these mistakes is significant.
The effect of compounding mistakes and bad decisions adds up to a frustrating series of jobs and a sub-par career.
When applied, this advice will help you to create a resume that will help you stand out, impress potential employers and secure interviews. Within larger organisations, it will help you move through the promotion process at higher speed and be front of the hiring manager’s mind.
So invest in creating the best possible resume, so that you are not limited by the document ... instead it becomes your greatest asset.
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