Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Create A Powerful Resume With A Profile Statement

By Jon:

It's time once again to dust off that old resume, check it over and make sure it's all updated. Don't get antsy, nobody's going anywhere -- it's just good to have that thing updated just in case. I mean, you never know what could happen.

Fire Your Objective Statement
When you're crafting your resume, think of your prospective employer. How would they feel about seeing the following as the key point of your resume?

OBJECTIVE: To obtain a position of employment in the field of applied actuarial economics.
Other than thinking, 'wow, what a nerd,' they'd probably be skimming over that statement and moving on to other sections of your resume. Do you really want to waste that valuable top level real estate on something so bland?

I mean, you did give them a resume for an open position right? There's no mystery here. You don't need an objective statement as a form of consent. A good cover letter should have made your honorable intentions more than clear. Let your resume do it's job -- selling you as a good candidate.

Introducing The Profile Statement
I'd much prefer a great Profile Statement sitting at the helm of my resume, giving the all-important elevator pitch right after my contact info. In a worst case scenario, if the employer doesn't read anything other than my Profile, they know who I am in a nutshell and how to get in touch with me. Perfect, right?

Here are some things to think about when building a profile statement:
  • Abilities: Are you smart? Are you fast? Are you skilled?
  • Experiences: Team player? Deadlines? What have you done?
  • Goals: Why should we care about you?
  • The High Points: What's the key things from each major section of your resume?
With these guidelines you should have a nice set of keywords that can be used to describe you. Let's try putting them together into something cohesive. I'd recommend a short paragraph that's easy to follow but loaded with good terminology about yourself.

Let's use a different example than our actuary friend above; I have no idea about calculus or insurance. How about, well, my profile statement?
PROFILE: Works well in challenging, fast-paced, high-stress and deadline-oriented environments individually or as part of a team. Proficient in project management and digital technology as well as operational supply chains; also heavily experienced with customer and employee relationships as well as technical support. Knowledgeable in creating detailed reports, documents and presentations. Focused on consistent quality work and a desire to simplify and innovate the daily operations of corporate culture and the industries of music and technology.
In four sentences I've boiled down my whole career and goals into a quick morsel of info. Now, as always, your mileage may vary, but from my experiences, interviewers tend to really enjoy this profile (tip: don't steal mine verbatim unless you're all those things too).

A well crafted Profile Statement is much easier for interviewers to swallow than an entire resume, and it opens up the interview to lots of detailed questions right out of the gate. I can use the profile as my jumping off point and reference specific areas in the resume to back up my explanations.

Best of luck getting your resume formatted just right, but remember, the resume always takes a backseat to actually being fun to talk to, being good at your job, and knowing people to get you in the door.


chandra said...

The job market is as competitive today as ever, which makes creating an effective resume more important than ever. I am to a great extent impressed with the article

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Ted said...

Great advice - your profile example is succinct but comprehensive. I struggle now to find better words than you for an opening line. Of course, if you just google that first sentence it comes up verbatim in a TON of people's resumes. Wonder if a potential employer checks for plagiarism...

Jim said...

Good eye Ted, no kidding. I'm mean at least one could make some effort to change a word or two. I admit that I am looking for advice and guidance to build an in-your-face-knock'em-dead profile statement and might use a similar organizing style, but shame on you all you plagiarizers out there who lack originality and identity...