In Exercise and Resumes, You Have to Work Harder To Get Results

how i look when i run

I’m just going to warn you now, there is a bit of TMI in this article. As a professional storyteller, I find a touch of personal or a unique story makes content – and the point I am trying to get across – more relatable.  I apologize if this is more than you wanted to know, but I promise there is a point and a purpose.

Twenty years ago it was perfectly acceptable in your resume to simply list job duties. It was certainly easier. Just copy a job description and plop it right there in the experience section. It was ‘good enough’ to give the reader an idea of the job.

Yeah, well, twenty years ago I didn’t have to work so damn hard to not look like a marshmallow with toothpicks sticking out.

Here’s the problem, I have a tiny frame that is out of proportion. I have the same length of legs as my sister, who was about three inches taller than me. Somehow the DNA scrunched up my middle section. Translation – any time I put any weight on it goes straight to my gut and I look like a marshmallow.

Twenty years ago I could easily get rid of the marshmallow by cutting out the carbs for about a week and adding a bit of running on the treadmill to my walks and I hate running.   All while still pretty much eating anything I wanted. So not healthy.

Not anymore. This isn’t an age thing, although I am closing in on 50. This is a pre-menopause thing. (and….there is the TMI). Interesting fact – during pre-menopause it is notoriously common for women to put on weight and it goes straight to their midsection. Seriously, Mother Nature, that is like a double whammy to me! Good night, haven’t I suffered enough with hot flashes? Apparently not.

Lucky for me, I live with a workout nut. Chief works out two hours a day, six days a week. I now go to the gym every morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am and spend about an hour on the treadmill. I am using HIT to incorporate running. The good news – my legs are amazingly strong and look as good as they did twenty years ago. The bad news, it wasn’t enough. I was less of a marshmallow but still a marshmallow. So with a redesign of my eating habits and cutting out added sugar, I am slowly whittling away the marshmallow and getting healthier.  But I really miss my full-on sweet tea!

It is taking too long and is a heck of a lot more work than it was twenty years ago, but I will get my results.

Now, how the heck does that relate to resumes? Your resume is out of shape. Those job descriptions plopped in there – they just don’t cut it anymore.

Here’s the problem, they tell the reader what you were hired to do, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care about what you did.

What value did or do you bring to an organization? Anyone can claim that they are great at a certain skill, but can you prove it? You have to prove it. People reading your resume are only going to believe about half of what you say, so you darn well better prove it.

Lucky for you, I’m going to give you a workout regime that can turn that marshmallow into a four pack (I don’t have enough midsection for a six-pack, so we are going for a four pack).

Step one – warm-up: Determine what is important to the reader. What are their challenges or goals?

 

Step two – hours on the resume treadmill: For each bullet, break it down to who you worked with, how you worked with them, what you did and how they benefited.  Now, you will have stories to tell.

 

Step threeweightlifting: Determine your differentials. What makes you good at what you do? Is it your education, approach, skill set – what makes you better than anyone else in doing what you do? What makes you valuable to an employer?

 

Step four – cool down: Intersect the answers from step one with the answers to step three and support with the answers in step two.  That is your sweet spot.

 

Step five – cut the carbs and sugars: Cut, cut, cut your answers. This is what my mentor calls ruthless editing. Anything that is expected, implied or unnecessary – get rid of it. For example “Successfully launched program that generated 25% increase in ….” Get rid of ‘successfully’. It is implied that it is successful by achieving the results.

 

Step six – add the healthy stuff to your diet: Analyze job postings and descriptions to find keywords. Incorporate those into your resume. Mix it up by using the exact words and using them in context with synonyms. ATS systems either read by content (words specifically) or context (meaning). This means that if a keyword is project management, you can use those specific words for content and use ‘oversaw project….” and the context will understand that it is the same as the keywords even if not exact because oversaw is a synonym of managed. (ATS systems are the computer software that companies use to screen resumes).

 

Step seven – power up the impact: Front load your bullets to put the most important piece of information first. If you saved 30% in costs by redesigning a process, which is most important for the reader or in demonstrating your differential? Is it the cost reduction or the process improvement? Whichever is most important put it first.

 

With the work of following these seven steps and your new resume will put your old one to shame and get the healthy results you are looking for in your job search.

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

 

A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

Don’t You Dare Dumb Down Your Resume!

do not dummy down your resume

Question: “I am overqualified for all the jobs I am applying for and not getting any response – do I need to dummy down my resume to get a response?”

Answer: No.

How is that for a short article? The question was answered, yet it probably does not eliminate the frustration of the original question, so let’s expand a bit.

First, do not ever dummy yourself. Period. For any reason, job or person. It is disrespectful to yourself and that is not a state of mind that is healthy or to operate.

For your resume, it is not a matter or overqualified, underqualified or just right qualified.

There are plenty of candidates that know they are a perfect fit for a job and still do not hear anything back.

There is a bigger issue at hand: focus. Focus on them. Focus on what is important to them. Focus your resume to make that connection.

Most resumes are compiled with two flawed premise: tell the reader what you were hired to do and speak to all your experience.

What you were hired to do are your duties, which are too often used as bullet points. No one cares what you were hired to do. They care what you did.

Speaking to all of your experience is a convoluted road map. This is not about you, this is about them and what they need. Your job is to provide a succulent road map that shows you are the solution to their problems.

Focus

Back to being overqualified and how to focus your resume to a specific position. Let’s use the example of having run your own business and now going after a sales leadership position.

Remember – we are focusing on them. Forget about your history for a minute and analyze the opportunity. Do your due diligence here and identify key factors including:

  • Company size
  • Product
  • Industry
  • Needs
  • Metrics
  • How you be measured and on what
  • Responsibilities

What does this job really entail? Now, how does that match up with what you have done?

If you were running a company, you were doing sales. There is overlap there, find it and mine it.

Running a company and sales have four goals in common: revenue, growth, profit and market penetration/expansion.

When you were running a company, how did you measure success? Do they echo what is typically used in a sales leadership role: ratio of new business versus repeat business, turnover rates, lead response time or rate of contact?

Some typical goals or responsibilities assigned to a VP of Sales or Sales leader include:

  • Strategic planning for developing business, hitting company goals, building go-to-market strategies and corporate sales plans
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, development, aligning behavior to culture
  • managing team of X number of people
  • Growing a channel
  • Managing key client relationships
  • Working in a specific industry, specific products/services to small/medium/large companies or to individuals
  • Closing key opportunities
  • Utilizing CRM to manage team tasks, pipelines and closing data
  • Analyzing, reporting on markets, trends, competition and metrics
  • Budgets, compensation, incentive programs, training, process management / improvement, forecasting

 

The new job’s responsibilities and metrics are your roadmap – take that back to where you have been to build a road right to the opportunity.

Use the 80/20 rule. In your resume, focus 80% of what you put on what aligns with the position and the remaining 20% on the remainder of what you did.

If you ran a company it is not going to be expected that you only focused on sales, there were other important responsibilities that you fulfilled. That is your 20%.

And you don’t have to tell them everything.

If you had some really major accomplishments that you think would scare the crap out of them, you don’t have to put those down. The point of your resume is to tell them your story the way you want them to understand it.

 

Speak to what you want, what you know as it aligns with where you want to go and soon they are going to want to be talking to you!

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

To Advance in Your Career – Show the Dynamics of Change in Your Resume

Dog writing resume

Recently I lost one of my best buddies.

Luke on guard
Luke, my personal protector

Luke became a part of my family almost a decade ago and was my constant companion and the court jester of the office.  He was also my personal guard dog. Any time someone came into our home or approached me outside of its confines, he would stand in front of me blocking potential danger and letting the world know, he was my protector.

Our little family of furries is adjusting.  My remaining male dog, Bandit, has now taken on a new role – my personal bodyguard. Anywhere I go, he goes.  On walks he now does not venture more than 10 feet from me. In the evening he watches the boyfriend and inserts himself on occasion just to let him know in that dog way, “I’m watching you buddy, I’m her protector now and I got this.”

Bandit has also changed in that he responds quicker, is more attentive and puffs up in a grandiose style when walking with his mom.  He has assumed Luke’s job as my primary protector.

How does this relate to a resume? It is all about writing forward.

You want to write your resume to where you are going, not where you have been. If that next desired position is the next wrung up on the ladder, write toward that.

What if you do not have direct experience with those required tasks, you ask? Take those tasks and break them down to the skill set necessary to complete the task. What is needed in order to do the job that you want?  List those skills, for example, communication, problem solving, certain applications, presenting, leadership etc.

Now use those skills as the framework when writing where you have been – i.e. you current and past positions.

Bandit has assumed the role of my primary protector, but he is not the alpha in the pack. That place is still held by our 11 year old Great Pyrenees / Yellow Lab mix.  But if he were applying for the alpha position, he would take the qualities it takes and demonstrate how he has performed them in the past. He would use the change in his environment to demonstrate those skills.

When there is a change in your work environment, take a moment to reflect how this has impacted you. Have you been asked to step up and do more, take on additional assignments, lead certain components of projects?

If your boss asks you to take on additional responsibility, you can easily transition that into your resume by stating that you were depended upon or requested by executive leadership to assume those duties which align with parts of the next step position.

It is more than okay to give the parameters of what is going on relative to the changes in what you do. In other words, tell the story. It is important to paint the picture of having to take on more stuff, in addition to your own, to demonstrate your flexibility, dependability, adaptation and work ethic. It shows you are ready for more.

happy office puppy
Bandit assuming his new status as bodyguard

Bandit might write, “after departure of primary protector, immediately assumed all duties and responsibilities for continual safety and security without downtime.”  He could say “maintained 100% customer satisfaction in vermin extraction while assuming the duties of full protection detail eliminating the need for a new full time bodyguard.” (You could say until a full time bodyguard replacement could be found, but no way will that happen in our house.)

Change is not always easy or fun, yet it can provide key experiences that will help you advance to where you want to go next – as long as you show the dynamics of the change and how it prepared you to take that position now.

 

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

It is All in Your Attitude!

confidenceHave you ever heard the phrase “it is easier to get a job when you have one?” If I remember correctly the principle applied to the dating world, too (but that’s another story). Have you wondered why? Attitude. It comes through everything that you do. When you are accomplished and comfortable within your world other things open up to you more easily. Positive attracts positive. When you are stressed about finding employment, it can come across too.

Two tips I give at my workshops: when you have a phone interview do it in front of a mirror to make sure you are smiling and positive because it comes across the phone. Second: whatever your thoughts or mood when writing your resume or cover letter they will come across. If you do not feel confident, it will show.

It does not matter what my mood is before I speak in front of a group, whether it be anxious or lethargic, you will not see it when I speak. I get in the frame of mind that I am a damn good speaker, present with an abundance of energy and I will help or inspire someone in that room! Period. With that mindset I can go out and do what I do best. You won’t hear me whine that I do not feel good or that I am nervous, I save that for my wonderful fiancé at home. Poor guy!

When you are speaking to someone about a position whether that be in an interview, networking or casual conversation you need to be in that positive frame of mind. You are the best candidate, you are interviewing them for the job, they want you – there is not a challenge that you cannot answer! If you do not really believe that you can accomplish a task then guess what, it is going to come across. I love to study body language and intonation, they are so telling. Think back to when your kids were young and you knew when they weren’t quite telling you everything. You could tell even though they swore up and down they gave you the whole story. Others can pick this up on you, too.

Fake it until you feel it. Practice it in front of the mirror, with friends, with your dog – I do not care who your audience is, just practice, practice, practice that confidence! Soon it becomes second nature. You can’t sell it until you feel it, and let’s face it, you are selling your skills, your talents or abilities right now.

I love the quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” So simple but so true.

Lisa K McDonald

Make the Most of Your One Play

jakes catch at hseMy son plays football. The first game he played offense and defense all game. Two touchdowns, an interception for 40 plus yards and was named Offensive Player of the Game. The next game they brought in a couple of receivers to give them some time, he was not pleased, but he was going to play defense all game. Before the game I told him he might get a play or two on offense so make the most of it. He went in for one offensive play. He was a receiver, caught a 35ish yard pass. He also was a maniac on defense and was named Defensive Player of the game. I would say he made the most of it.

Your resume has one chance and maybe 10 seconds to make the most of you. Someone reviewing your resume will scan the top quarter of your resume and decide in those 10 seconds or so if they are going to continue. You need to make the leap for that catch – put yourself out their early to let them know you are here to play the game.

So often I read through resumes and they include really good information. Information about accomplishment, money saved, increased clients, improved client satisfaction employee retention or money made. But these things are hidden further along in the resume – many times on page two. You are making yourself second string.

Once you have your strong Objective or Mission Statement follow that up with your accomplishments. Put the proof behind the words. Not only can you state that you are successful in increasing client base and sales, follow that up with your statistic of doubling sales boosting bottom line over $2 million in less than a five year period. If you state that you implement time and cost savings strategies, follow that up with how you implemented a new project management tracking system that linked all contributors and averaged a time savings of over 20% per job equating to cost savings for company and clients. Pretty good numbers to throw out there, huh?

Putting good solid accomplishments front and center allows you to make the most of your sales pitch (your resume) and gets you noticed more quickly. It also confirms that you have the talent and ability to back up your Objective or Mission Statement. Just like catching that one pass when is most needed. You increase your chances of being put in the game.

Lisa K McDonald

KISS – Keep It Simple Silly

girl yawning readingOkay, so that is not the original acronym, but hey, I am trying to be family friendly and not insult anyone with the first line of my blog! I stress over and over again to make sure your resume is written clearly so those that are not in the position to hire you but are reviewing your resume can understand your amazing qualities, and spot them quickly. The reason – most people have a tendency to skim read. They begin reading and think they know what you are saying so they fill in the blanks if it is too rambling.

My son proved this point to me again this weekend. My son is not a patient person – I take full responsibility on that trait! He definitely did not get my short gene, but he did get my impatient gene. I was on the phone with his grandmother when he walked in my office and started mouthing a question to me. I pulled out a pad of paper and pen and we had a conversation this way. To make a long story short, he got snippy and walked out. After I finished my conversation I called him back into my office and asked in that oh-so-gentle-motherly way what his problem might be today. Turns out he skimmed something I wrote and completely misunderstood what I said. So, again, in that supportive, kind motherly way I sweetly showed him exactly what I wrote and asked him to read it slowly out loud word for word. Hmmm, error found.

When you are writing your resume, you do not have to be flowery and go on and on because quite frankly the reader is going to lose interest and mentally fill in the blanks. I will repeat what I frequently say: teenagers are the best audiences because their attention span is that of a Nat. If they can understand what you are trying to get across or at least read the whole sentence, you are on to something!

Make your works impactful, your thoughts clear and your abilities stand out. For the company for which you are submitting your resume highlight how you can make money, save money or improve their customer satisfaction/retention. Know your audience, what is important to them and communicate that clearly through your resume. And always, always keep written communication between you and your teenager – you never know when it will come in handy!

Resumes – Break it Down to Get Rid of Dust Bunnies

cleaning houseI hate cleaning my house. With a passion I hate cleaning my house. It just seems overwhelming to me. I start with one thing – “Today I do all the laundry”. In sorting the laundry I go into the bathroom to gather anything that did not make it into the hamper and I notice that I have not put away the girly things in the bathroom, so I straighten that. Then back I go to the hamper in the closet and notice that I haven’t put my shoes away and there is one in there without a match – so off I go to search for its match, which I find by the bed. But then notice the bed isn’t made so I have to make the bed, then I notice there is stuff on my nightstand that needs to be put away. So I start putting that away and notice there is a glass that needs to go down to the kitchen, so off I go to the kitchen. Do you see where I am going here? One thing leads to another and another and another – I meander from one room to another stopping and doing little things here and there but never really cleaning. Things on the surface look okay, but please do not look closely, there are dust bunnies hiding everywhere. But I am a grown up with teenage boys, dogs and a fiancé – so I have to suck it up and clean. No matter how hard I hope and wish those damn cleaning fairies just never show up in the middle of the night!

My best friend Jackie on the other hand – total Betty Crocker Super Mom! She is awesome and amazing and I want to be her when I grow up. She is focused, organized and an amazing housekeeper – with pre-teen kids, dogs and a husband. How does she do it? She determines what part she is going to do and sticks to it, she goes into the closet, sorts the cloths, gathers them takes them down to the laundry room and gets it done. Does she see the other stuff, yes, but she stays focused on one task at a time. She breaks her house down to little components, makes a list and is able to check things off one by one.

How does this relate to your resume? Take Jackie’s approach. We tend to get so overwhelmed by the entire process that we spend little time on each section but then it reminds us of something else in another section so we start working on that and we end up with a product that is may look good at a quick glance, but then when we begin to look at it closer we see dust bunnies. (And as a side note – why on earth are those called dust bunnies? I think Dust Tumbleweeds is more appropriate, but I digress…)

Remember when you are writing your resume, you know what you are trying to say, but to another person there is vital information missing. I recently sat down with a woman who was a purchasing goddess. She saved over $350k in less than six months just in evaluating a department and the internal system. This was one of her highlights and she stated it as she manages purchasing departments to run more smoothly and effectively. I asked her what does that mean, how does she contribute to making it more efficient? She explained that she would evaluate the people working in the department and their responsibilities making sure that their strengths matched up with the tasks at hand, she was also responsible for training individuals on the internal processes, recruit people, perform internal testing to make sure there were no duplicate procedures – she did a lot more than just “manage”. We talked about how to incorporate the key factors that she did to highlight those in her bullet point.

Instead of “Manage Purchasing Departments to run more smoothly and effectively” we stated with “Manage Purchasing Department systems, controls and personnel by effectively evaluating processes, procedures and individual responsibilities to incorporate time management, system efficiency and development of individuals resulting in a cost savings of over $350,000 in six months.” Now that is something you can work with! You can take that into two different strengths – the development of the individuals incorporating the evaluation, hiring, training and development and the management of the systems and processes.

Take a look at your resume – copy and paste one section, one job or one highlight and paste it into another document. Underneath that statement or section start making notes on what exactly that means. How did you add value, save money, save time or increase client satisfaction? Really break it down. Do not try to put it into pretty resume language, just make notes. Again, just talk plain English as though you are explaining it to someone who knows nothing about what you do. Do not worry about proper grammar or sentence structure, just write. Once you have done this then you have a lot of material that you can work with.

Ask a friend to read your original statement and ask them what that means to them. Is it coming through loud and clear what your strength is in that statement? If not, start to read your notes to them then ask them if it defines what you were attempting to say. More often than not they will tell you that it is much clearer picture.

It is a long and difficult process, but staying focused and breaking down each section bit by bit will create a much stronger resume, one that communicates more clearly what your strengths are and leaves room for an interviewer to ask you follow up questions. And there will be no dust bunnies!

Lisa K McDonald

I Want the Life of a Dog!

I want the life of a dog, I really do.  I have three dogs. On the surface you The Three Candidateswould think that all they do is sleep all day, sun their bellies in the sun and beg for food, which is what I want to do – except the beg for food thing.   At least this is what my fiancé thinks they do all day (and I won’t tell him, but ninety percent of the time, that pretty much sums it up!). He’s not a really big dog person, so quite frankly to keep the peace and show him the way of the dog, I had to convince him of their strengths and value to our little pack. Explain their different personalities, traits and well , reasons for not kicking them out of the house when they have an accident or make a sneak attack on his food.   How on earth does this relate to resumes, interviewing or job searching?   Wait for it….Know your strengths and be able to communicate them.

Your resume should give a good strong picture of who you are, what you want and what you bring to a company. When you are granted the interview, you might look similar to many other candidates. So you need to know your strengths and how to communicate them to a potential employer – what you can do for them.

For example, with my dogs. Micki is the guard dog (and main beggar/thief). She is fiercely protective and very intuitive. You would not think so by looking at her, but I have seen her go from pushover to monsterous guard dog on a dime just by a change in someone’s tone when speaking to me. Her strength is recognizing trends and patterns, good or bad, and acting swiftly and appropriately to increase opportunities or diffuse situations that could be difficult.

Misfit, well, she’s the comic relief and reminds us that everything can be exciting and brand new.  She runs in the backyard like it is the first time every time and bounces with so much energy and enthusiasm that you cannot help but smile.  Her strengths are being able to look at situations that are commonplace with a keen eye and fresh perspective. 

Charlie, well, my poor old Charlie.  He was diagnosed with brain lesions so he has some issues.  He mainly walks in circles (cannot do a straight line more than three steps) and tramples over the other dogs because he just can’t help it.  He has learned to cope by taking new paths so the next circle he does is a little wider and he can make it in the kitchen instead of doing another lap around the front room.  He’s also learned to duck his head to turn around in tight right circles because he, for some reason, can no longer turn left.  Charlie’s strengths are his longevity and commitment to the “company”, continually learning new skills to adapt and improve performance.

So you see, no matter who you are, your talents and strengths are there – you just have to let people know what they are and what they can do for them.  I hope this helps you, if nothing else, it has kept all three dogs in my house safe and now adopted by my fiancé.

Lisa K McDonald

Career Polish

Your Resume – Your Mission Statement

collge picYour Mission Statement – the very first paragraph of your resume.  It is the first glance a prospective employer is going to look at and determine if they want to continue reading your resume. In the past it has been called a “career objective” but now it is more a career summary, a statement of what you have to offer – a mission statement if you will.

I use the term mission statement because it gives it weight and importance in your mind. Think about it, when you research a company and you see their Mission Statement listed boldly, it makes you take note. This statement is important. That is the exact feeling I want you to have about your summary, your mission statement.

It is vital, it is direct, it is selling yourself. It is not what you want, rather it is what you can do for that company! (Yes, there are a lot of italics and a bold in that last sentance – which means it is important!)  It was most common to list directly what you want in that very first line of your resume, for example, “Objective: Obtain Accounts Payable Manager Position”.   It has also been stated as your strengths, for example, “Detailed, organized, professional Administrative Assistant looking for right-hand position in a progressive company”. 

Well, employers are receiving hundreds of resumes for just one job opening.  Honestly, they just do not care what you want.  Nor do they care about your strengths in that manner.  Sorry kid, it’s just not all about you anymore.  Nope, now it is all about them.  So, what can YOU do for THEM is what they want to know.  Think about the last time you went to a store to purchase, let’s say a cell phone.  When the salesperson walked up, did you want to know what he wanted?  No!  You did not want to hear all the chit chat and fluff, you wanted to get to the point of what can you do for me?  What kind of plan, phone, features and really, money can you save me.  Same mentality for employers.

So, in this one to two sentence structure you must gather the most important selling elements about yourself in an impactful way to grab your reader’s attention. You can direct it to a specific company or a general market. It is important to know your audience if you will be targeting a specific company. What is it that will set you apart from everyone else – your achievements, knowledge base or licenses and credentials?

Three very important things to remember when writing your mission statement: 1. be HONEST 2. sell yourself and 3. be able to follow it up in the resume. If you are going to tell a prospective employer that you are “able to identify challenges and opportunities in the department”, you must follow that up in the resume stating how you have done this in the past. If I read that statement the first question I am going to have is “how?” I will be looking for this. If you then tell me that one of your accomplishments in your previous position was creating a new system saving the company over $350,000 in one quarter – I will take note. It will build your credibility and show you are what you say.

Remember, those that read the resumes are a skeptical bunch – full of “prove it” and “yeah, rights” when reading resumes. Unfortunately people do exaggerate their abilities and it is not known until the interview – a huge time waster! So be able to bring those great qualities to light and show you are backing up what you say. And if you state it, you darn well had better done it! Lying and exaggerating are absolutely forbidden. Keep in mind you never know who is going to see your resume and who they might know. If it is discovered you lied – well, quite frankly, you are toast.

That covers points one and three, now for point two – sell yourself. Oh, do we hate (for the most part) talking about ourselves. We are taught not to brag, but you must. If you do not toot your own horn on your resume then who on earth will? This is where the buddy system comes into play. If you are not working with someone to help you write your resume, then ask a friend to listen. Read them what you have and ask them what that says to them. Be your own critic then your own agent. Now, look at it as if you are an agent in charge of helping sell this person and pick it apart mercilessly, hold nothing back. Does it sound too meek?  Are the strengths coming through loud and clear? Check the verbiage – a thesaurus is your best friend! Please do not used tired words – “experienced”, “able”, “good communicator” – you get the idea. Yes, you can use some very common words as long as you have high impact words worked into the Mission Statement. Be careful, do not go so overboard that your points are missed due to all the big words. Just remember, you do not want to sound like anyone else, because quite frankly, you are not like anyone else! You are the best candidate, you are the one that they need to interview – you are THE candidate!

Lisa K McDonald – Career Polish