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What You Need on Your Resume to Go Straight to the Top – Personal Branding Blog


Whether you are working your way up in your industry or have just graduated, your ability to convey your personal brand to potential employers is incredibly reliant on your resume. Your resume is the first insight that future employers will have into what makes you tick and whether you would make a suitable employee. Here are some resume details that you should make sure become part of your personal brand:

A Master’s Degree

Now, more Americans have a bachelor’s degree than ever before, and this number is still increasing as people look for ways into the highly competitive job market. This means that if you want to go straight into the job market at an executive level, or become a CEO within the first few years of working, getting a bachelor’s degree is not enough. Instead, you should look for other qualifications that can build upon the experience you have already gained. One of the best options for recent graduates is to continue on their education journey by earning a master’s degree, such as through a nurse practitioner program if you’re in the healthcare field. This can help you to head straight to the top of your career by showing that you have additional skills and specialist knowledge that you would normally receive through many years of training. A master’s degree can also allow you to instantly stand out to potential employers, even when you are applying for a position with hundreds of other people. 

Although a master’s degree is a daunting prospect and you may not believe that you can put your life on hold in order to be able to return to education, there are many options that will allow you to do this on your own terms. For instance, Spring Arbor University offers many different master’s degree programs that can be taken completely online, such as their nurse practitioner programs. Online courses will allow you to receive the qualifications and practical experience you need while not having to attend in-person classes. 

Leadership Experience

Although there are a variety of both hard and soft skills that may be applicable to different executive and managerial positions, the skill that all of these have in common is the ability to be a strong leader. In order to gain leadership experience, put yourself in leadership positions early on so that you can gain experience, such as volunteering for project management opportunities within your current role as student or employee. You can then use your experience in job interviews to showcase your abilities through specific and detailed anecdotes and situations.

You should also consider the advantages of job shadowing, where you can spend a few days with a leader to see what their responsibilities are. Volunteering can also be a good option as this allows you to gain transferrable leadership experience. For instance, volunteering will enable you to learn how to delegate, problem-solve, make important decisions at a top level, communicate, and connect with your coworkers. 

A Gripping Opening Paragraph

The greatest opportunity that you have to showcase your personal brand on your resume is through your opening paragraph. This is the only chance you have to make sure that your individual voice shines through. This opening paragraph should be tailored specifically for the job that you have decided to apply for, so it should detail exactly why you would suit a managerial position. It should also mention some of the highlights of your resume, ensuring that the reader doesn’t have to dig through the resume to find what they’re looking for. 

Links to Your Digital Presence

Building a personal brand presence online is a great way to grab the attention of future employers and to build relationships with others in your industry. Those taking nurse practitioner programs may decide to create a blog to write about their experiences in healthcare, or those in photography may create an online portfolio website. Explore what makes sense for you and your goals. 

Creating a LinkedIn account is a great place to start. Setting this up is easy and you can link any of your other projects here to store everything in one place for future employers. You can say more on your LinkedIn profile than you can on your paper resume, so take advantage of that by expanding on your skills and previous job experience.

Job Keywords

When drafting your resume, use industry keywords as a quick way to grab the potential employer’s attention as they are skimming through. These keywords are usually words that involve types of skills, experience, values, or specialist knowledge. Most of these will be stated on the job application. Keywords will also help HR softwares that filter through job applications to hold onto your resume. In these cases, it is even more important to get these keywords right since there are no humans behind the screen to make personal decisions. 

Some of the best keywords include industry specifics, such as ‘healthcare’ or ‘nursing’ for those who want medical professions. They can also include specific skills, such as ‘design’, ‘research’, ‘analytics’, or ‘logistics’ for business or finance jobs. These keywords will help you to get to the next stage of the job application process, regardless of whether a human or a machine is checking your application form.

Specialist Knowledge 

It is reasonably easy to get a basic level of knowledge in a certain sector, even simply from reading online guides, books, and magazines, and by taking online courses. You can also attend conferences and workshops within your industry. However, specialist knowledge is often built up over time and is harder to find for employers looking to fill top positions. Some people choose to earn a degree; however, you should also consider taking on a role within the specialism that you are wanting to learn about. 

Then, as part of your personal branding, you need to find ways to showcase the specialist knowledge and expertise that you have acquired. For instance, you could set up your own webinar series or run digital classes, as well as running talks or conferences where you can share your knowledge. As well as helping to build your personal brand by making you well-known in your industry, you can add all of these events to your resume as concrete evidence of your expert knowledge.

Soft Skills

Specific skills and knowledge are important to job roles, especially those in managerial positions because they can reduce the training that companies need to give you and can ensure that you are an employee who will hit the ground running. However, soft skills are just as important as hard skills because many of them will determine if you are suitable for an entry- or an executive-level position. Some of the most desirable soft skills employers look for on your resume, and which you should work on when you are developing your personal brand, are communication, willingness to learn, interpersonal skills, flexibility, reliability, and trustworthiness. 

Your Impact on Previous Job Roles

It is one thing to simply state what previous job roles you have had and what you got out of them, but your potential new employers are also interested in what you gave to your previous job positions. Employers are looking for managers and top level workers that can help them build and grow their companies. This means that they are looking for people that are able to make a positive impact on the companies that they are employed by. The most obvious impact is from a business or financial aspect. However, if you are looking to get a leadership position in another sector, you should consider the positive impact that you made on people’s lives. In short, you should look at anything that you changed for the better within the industry that you worked in. This will help potential employers to see what you could do for them in the future.

Your Mission Statement

Particularly when they are looking for candidates to fill top level positions, many employers look for those that have values and mission statements that are similar to the policies of the company. In order to show that you are the right match for the business in question, you should consider adding a cover letter to your resume that details your values and how they coincide with this company. This is also an important part of your personal branding as your mission statement can help to show your aims and beliefs and how this affects your work outcomes. 

Quantified Achievements 

Although it is easy to simply use vague and generic statements in order to show your suitability for a certain role, for executive positions it is important that you are able to take this a step further. Rather than use phrases such as ‘used communication skills’, you should expand upon these to highlight specific situations where you put these skills to use. This is in addition to certifications, awards, and  outcomes that prove your achievements are genuine. Not only will this help employers know that you are a reliable candidate, but this will also give you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd of people who have graduated from top courses  by showing your individual prowess in a certain area.

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