[Executive Level] Five Keys to Creating a Powerful Résumé Profile
Sharon Graham, CRS, CIS, CCS, CPRW, CEIP
When you submit your résumé in application for a position, it is likely to be quickly scanned by recruiters to determine if the document is worthy of an in-depth review. For this reason, the introductory section of your résumé is crucial. These first few lines will persuade recruiters do one of two things – either to read on or to bypass your résumé completely. The good news is that you are in control of how you introduce yourself by incorporating a compelling profile that readers cannot resist.
In the résumé writing business, we often call the profile a “power statement.” Since your profile is the first thing that recruiters see, it is also the first impression that you will give. So, the statement you make is critical and it must be powerful to ensure that it captures the reader’s attention and interest. If you can impress the recruiter with an effective power statement, you have done a great part of the job.
Writing a strong résumé profile is not much different from writing an introduction to any document. You might notice that most interesting news features start with an introductory paragraph to capture attention. This introduction “hooks” the reader and drives him through the document in anticipation of what is coming next. In the same way, your power statement is the hook that will capture the recruiter’s attention and the doorway to ensuring that the rest of your résumé is read. So, here are five keys to opening the door:
Key 1- Drop your Objective Statement
- Consider that your résumé is not for you – it’s for your next employer. Objective statements are typically self-centered and self-serving. Rather than writing out your personal objective that tells readers what you want, tell them what you offer. Don’t discuss your interests and desires. Instead, create a strong profile that will entice the prospective employer by addressing your qualifications and credentials in terms of the job requirements.
- The purpose of your profile is to offer a short “advertisement” marketing your best attributes to your next employer. Therefore, you must have a clear job focus and target market in mind. The more specific your focus is, the easier it will be for you to emphasize the wording to the employers’ needs. When you know what you are aiming for, you can gear every word, phrase, and sentence to advertise features that are most valued by the employers in that target market.
- Your profile must generate interest from humans and “hits” on computers. So, make sure that it is rich in key words and phrases. Rather than focusing on soft skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership skills, outline the hard competencies that you offer. Think about your profile from the perspective of the person searching the résumés. Determine the top competencies they might be looking for and, if you possess those, include them in the profile section of your résumé.
- Use future-focused wording. Instead of focusing on your past, feature what you can do for your next employer. Address the bottom-line results that you can produce for the company and how you can generate revenue, decrease costs and/or increase profitability. If you can hint within your power statement, in a short and compelling way, how you will benefit the company, you are on your way to your interview.
- Your ultimate goal is to create a compelling opening statement that highlights your talents and distinguishes you from your competitors. So, once you have thought through all the other keys, determine your answer to the employer’s question “Why should I hire you instead of other qualified candidates? When you have uncovered your unique qualities that position you ahead of the others, incorporate them into your profile.
Sharon Graham is the author of Best Canadian Résumés. With multiple certifications in résumé, interview, and career strategy, She assists job seekers though her consulting firm Graham Management Group.