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Branding Your Resume: Tips for Job-Seekers
by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., and Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Today's resume establishes a brand relevant to targeted employers. The branding expressed in your resume should capture your career identity, authenticity, passion, essence, and image. With objective statements currently unpopular with hiring decision-makers, job-seekers and resume writers are turning to branding techniques, especially branding statements, to sharpen the focus of resumes. This article briefly discusses several methods of communicating your personal brand on your resume and focuses on creating a personal/career branding statement (often used in combination with a "headline") for the top of your resume. We also offer numerous examples.
Branding is best defined as a promise of the value of the product... a promise that the product is better than all the competing products... a promise that must be delivered to be successful. Branding is the combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that make a brand unique. Branding is developing an image -- with results to match.
In a resume, branding can be executed through at least three components:
- The distinctive appearance of your resume, which should be carried through with all your career-marketing communications -- cover letter, business cards, thank-you letters, portfolio, and much more -- to package you with a consistent, branded look. Every time an employer sees this look, he or she will instantly associate it with you.
- A message woven throughout your resume that remains consistent and does not contradict the image you want to project. Every word, every bullet point should support the branded message you intend to convey.
- A branding statement that defines who you are, your promise of
value, and why you should be sought out. A branding statement is a
punchy "ad-like" statement that tells immediately what you can bring to an
employer. Your branding statement should sum up your value proposition,
encapsulate your reputation, showcase what sets you apart from others,
and describe the added value you bring to a situation. Think of it as a sales
pitch. Consider integrating these elements into the brief synopsis that is
your branding statement:
- What makes you different?
- What qualities or characteristics make you distinctive?
- What have you accomplished?
- What is your most noteworthy personal trait?
- What benefits (problems solved) do you offer?
Your branding statement will guide your subsequent branding activities and can be used, not only on your resume, but also on your Web site, blog, and other communication venues.
In their book Brand Yourself, David Andrusia and Rick Haskins present a simple formula for a branding statement: Skills + Personality/Passion + Market needs = Branding Statement. It's a great formula, but not the only approach. A number of resources are available for helping you to compose a branding statement, also known as a brand positioning statement, including several at our Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Tools section. Especially see our Career Branding Tutorial beginning here and our article, Is "The Breakfast of Champions" in Your Resume?
Other resources include these books:
- William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, $21.95. Hardcover: 224 pages. Wiley. (See our review of Career Distinction.)
- Andrusia, D. & Haskins, R. Brand Yourself: How to Create an Identity for a Brilliant Career. Paperback: 256 pages. Ballantine.
Final Thoughts and Samples
A "headline" atop your resume usually identifies the type of job you seek. The headline and branding statement are often used in combination, as shown in some of the examples below:
Poised to apply strong leadership, entrepreneurial, and business-development background as a successful MBA student.
TOP-PRODUCING SALES PROFESSIONAL
Positioned to draw on record of achievement and success to deliver exceptional sales results that maximize unequivocal strengths as outstanding, top-producing sales professional.
Poised to contribute strong interpersonal, communications, and organizational skills and experience to your organization in a front-line, customer-support role.
JUNIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Equipped to deliver current education and training in computer-science applications delivered through enthusiastic, positive, "can-do" attitude and trainability.
Delivering project-management expertise, along with unsurpassed business analysis and application design, development, and implementation proficiencies, to organizations seeking a dynamic, self-motivated professional to build winning partnerships that produce exceptional results.
Delivering excellence in operations management, design implementation, and strategic, collaborative problem-solving to the industrial construction industry.
Specialize in raising the bar, creating strategy, managing risk, and improving the quality and caliber of operations.
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER, MANUFACTURING
Prepared to deliver strong industrial-engineering skills and insights, gained through accomplished record of experience, to your firm in a Manufacturing Engineer capacity.
Offering exceptional sales instincts and significant record of progressive success to your organization in an inside/outside sales-development role.
SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL
Providing expertise in multi-disciplinary project management, program management, and product development. Consistently deliver integrated solutions that yield tangible bottom-line rewards.
KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER
Bringing a wealth and diversity of skills in management, education, and human relations and prepared to apply knowledge of medicine, science, and nutrition to enhance quality of life by promoting pharmaceutical products and services.
Product Marketing Manager
Delivering entrepreneurial insight and marketing expertise to build winning partnerships and produce exceptional bottom-line rewards.
Poised to deliver excellence and professionalism in call-center efficiency, organization, and operations.
SITE TRAINING MANAGER
High-performing senior-level, training professional eager to provide leadership and deliver results for [name of firm].
Offering accounting experience and specific expertise in tax research, strategy, and planning.
Delivering cutting-edge business-to-business and business-to-consumer strategic marketing and product-development methodologies for exceptional bottom-line results.
Dedicated nursing professional committed to excellence in patient care and poised to deliver unsurpassed, individualized nursing care in an acute care setting
Poised to contribute strong coordination skills and experience in marketing, sports, and agricultural operations to new career focus in your organization as Events/Sponsorship Coordinator
Poised to contribute master's-level management and administrative skills combined with broad experience in technology-rich settings.
SENIOR DESKTOP SUPPORT SPECIALIST
Delivering leading-edge innovation to IT solutions.
PHARMACEUTICAL SPECIALTY SALES REPRESENTATIVE
Eager to strengthen the mission of leading-edge pharmaceutical advancement.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND RECRUITMENT
Poised to deliver to strong proficiencies in marketing, communications, recruitment, and organization to promote your campus learning environment and facilitate student success.
Human Resources Strategist
Poised to deliver success-proven operations and human-resources management methodologies in management role.
SENIOR-LEVEL SALES and MARKETING LEADER
Positioned to contribute progressive, innovative sales and marketing methodologies with energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism to your organization in a leadership role.
Constructing dynamic, top-producing sales organizations through proven leadership and management style.
Eager to contribute fresh degree in Environmental Science and strong applicable field experience to your organization in a hands-on testing and evaluative capacity.
Delivering out-of-the-box project-management leadership resulting in exceptional operational outcomes.
Well prepared to provide executive-level administrative support and contribute to optimized work-product delivery through solid skills in organization, communication, and negotiation.
Providing executive-level administrative support services through strong interpersonal skills, unsurpassed organizational abilities, face-of-the-department front-line professionalism, and highly successful career experiences.
Ideally positioned to contribute exceptional teaching and curriculum-planning skills, in conjunction with 15+-year career of professional cosmetology achievement, to your organization in a teaching capacity.
Positioned to deliver visionary leadership and strategic direction to the Chemical Engineering industry in senior-level position in manufacturing, research and development, and knowledge exchange systems.
Uniquely positioned to deliver exceptional results in business-process management, solutions implementation, and service delivery, combined with expert-level technical proficiencies, in a Project Management capacity.
Positioned to deliver exceptional marketing and product-management outcomes based on solid experience and success in key leadership roles in marketing, e-commerce, and technology industries.
Positioned to provide leadership through solid foundation of accomplishments in finance, accounting, and customer service in a Director of Finance capacity.
Uniquely positioned to deliver extraordinary outcomes in financial management opportunities.
PRODUCT DEMONSTRATOR AND BRAND REPRESENTATIVE
Prepared to contribute enthusiastic sales support and provide "face-of-the-brand" recognition to your marketing campaign.
Even more (formatted) resume branding statement samples can be found in our Resume Branding Statement Samples.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com.
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