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7 Ways to Get Your Marketing Resume to the Top of the (Good) Pile
Your marketing resume is the gateway to the ‘big show’ – the job interview. But if written poorly, your resume will go straight into the NO pile. Follow these steps to make sure your resume gets you noticed in a good way.
By JR BLASZEK
One question that we constantly hear from our marketing candidates is, “Do you even read our resumes before deciding to interview us?”
The honest is answer is…sometimes. For any given open position we usually receive a large pile of resumes all representing qualified candidates and rarely do we have time to read through every single word on each one of them. The reality is that we usually start sorting through resumes by skimming them and sorting them into 3 piles: Interview, Maybe, No Way. If the “Interview” pile is large enough, the other 2 piles will most likely go straight into the trash.
Knowing this, your sole goal with your marketing resume should be “Get on top of the interview pile!” Here are some tips to ensure that your resume stands out and gets you on the interview list:
1) Have multiple contact methods
This is the 21st century. You probably have multiple forms of communication that you use. Make sure that we can contact you in most of those ways. The best way to do this is to add your phone (cell or home), e-mail, and mailing address right below your name on the resume. If we don’t have an easy way to get in touch with you, your resume is probably going straight into the “trash pile” before it even gets read.
And on a side note…make sure to use a professional email address! Awesomesexybro69@hotmail.com might be your everyday email address, but it definitely won’t fly on your resume. So take an extra 2 minutes and create a “resume appropriate” email address. You want something that is easy to remember and clearly indicates who the email address belongs to. A good example would be firstname.lastname@example.org. If the address isn’t available, try adding a middle initial. Just make sure we know who we’re contacting!
2) Proofread your resume before submitting
One of the quickest ways to get your resume thrown into the trash is by filling it with a bunch of spelling errors. The brutal honesty is that during our first resume filter, we’re really looking for anything we can to eliminate a candidate. If you aren’t careful enough to correct spelling mistakes, it makes us think that you wouldn’t be careful enough to correct errors on the job. Regardless of how unfair that logic may be, it’s what happens.
So before you submit your resume, make sure you read through it carefully. Step away for a few hours and reread it – you may find mistakes that you didn’t see earlier. Even better, ask somebody else to read it for you. You’ll be amazed at what an extra set of eyes will find that you won’t.
3) Make your resume easy to read
In resumes, formatting counts. You want to ensure that the person reading your resume can clearly follow each section of your resume. You should clearly call out your Education, Experience, and Additional Information. Within each section, you should clearly list out all positions, locations, titles, and time periods. Making everything uniform and easy to read will ensure that your resume doesn’t go straight into the “trash pile”.
4) Tell the truth, but not necessarily the whole truth
Your resume should give the reader a clear picture of your work history and your accomplishments. It should not give the reader your entire autobiography. Think of the resume as a quick way to highlight your very best accomplishments. If you had 60 seconds to tell somebody why they should hire you, you would start with the most important facts. The same should be true with your resume. Each bullet point needs to paint a different piece of the picture so that when the reader is done, they will be able to get a clear view of your best self.
Also, try to keep your resume to one page. Even at very high levels (director and VP), resumes that are one page take precedence over 2+ pages. Multiple pages are messy and too easy to separate. No matter what level you are at in your career, you should be able to paint a clear picture on one page. Think of that page as your canvas…that’s all you get. Make sure you create a masterpiece.
5) Showcase your best work
This is related to the point above. You have 1 page to give the reader the best impression as possible of you. Don’t waste precious space writing about your favorite color, or describing every aspect of your job. Each bullet point should be a story that exemplifies a clear strength that the employer is looking for.
6) Follow ACR format
This is probably the biggest distinguishing factor between “maybe” resumes and “interview” resumes. Following ACR format is the best way to write bullet points that are engaging. In case you’re wondering, ACR stands for: Action, Context, Results. Every bullet point in your resume (especially in the “experience” section) should follow this format.
Action – Each bullet in your resume should start with “action words”. Action words are words like: Managed, Led, Analyzed, Founded, Initiated, etc. These are words that hook your reader and make them want to read more. A good action would be something like “Led cross-functional initiative …”
Context – The context is the “why” in your story. You hooked your reader with your action, now you need to make the context relevant. Continuing on our example above, here is a good context for your bullet point:
“Led cross-functional initiative to reduce manufacturing costs across business unit…”
The context represents why you took the action that you took.
Results – All resume bullets should have results. It’s even better if those results are quantified. For example, if your initiative grew sales by 60%, you should end with that. If you can’t quantify your results, make sure that you clearly state why your actions and context are important. For example, did you win an award? Did you increase morale? These are all important results that you can claim on your resume. Here’s our finished example:
Led cross-functional initiative to reduce manufacturing costs across business unit resulting in savings of $3.4MM
Now just repeat that type of format for every bullet point, and your resume will clearly stand out in the crowd.
7) Tell us something interesting
As I mentioned earlier, your resume should include an “additional information” section. In all honesty, this is usually the section that I read the most. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, you should put some fun facts about you in the “additional” section. Remember, the person reading this resume will actually have to work with you if you’re hired, so they want to know if you’re the type of person they want to spend 8+ hours with each day. If you have something interesting in your “additional” section, you will begin to paint a better picture of who you really are as a human being and not just as an employee.
Some good examples of “additional” bullets that I have seen are:
Played golf on three continents in two years and shot lowest score in Bangkok, Thailand
Learned to code in multiple languages to develop my first iPhone application: [name of app]
Well there you have it. If you follow these 7 tips on your marketing resume you will be much more likely to see your resume in the “interview” pile and not in the “trash” pile.
If you want some extra help on your resume, schedule a resume review today. We will provide you with 1-on-1 counseling to ensure that your resume is in the best possible shape for your job search!
And as always, share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear from you!