Branding

3 Simple Tricks to DIY Your Unique Resume Template

Interior design and resume writing have a lot more in common than you think.

Aesthetics matter. They matter to me in my home, in what I wear and even in resume design. After all, I view all of these things as extensions of ME. I want my home and my clothes to express WHO I am. Same goes for my (and anyone else's) resume for that matter.

When I start a resume for a client, I need to know the format and color first. I like to have the blueprint of the document and then pull in all the furniture and then select show-stopping accessories.

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No matter if you design first or last, how you showcase your professional achievements matters. Remember, a resume isn't a professional activity list, it is a marketing document - marketing YOU! So, ditch the generic, ready-made template and create your own.

Easy Microsoft Word tricks to DIY your own template:

Font. Express who you are, but also use a universal font that every operating system can read. Feel constrained by universal fonts - use two! One for the main text of the document and the other for headings. Ensure font is appealing and readable both on screen and on paper.

Borders + Shading. Draw the eye by employing these two functions to highlight job titles, key skills, headings, and even your name.

White Space. This one is easy but often overlooked. Write succinctly and leave room for your text and format of the document to breathe.

There are a lot of different ways to start a resume, what do you do first?

What Does Your Resume Say About You?

Who I used to be isn't who I am today. Does your resume say the same?

Retrace your professional steps.

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Catch your resume up on your current value not the breadcrumbs of job duties past. How? Zoom out. Look at your experience from a bird's eye view.

✪ What common threads do you see throughout your career?

✪ What is different about you compared to typical applicants of your job of interest?

✪ What skills have you loved using in your employment history?

Need help claiming and articulating your unique value? Unlock your confidence in what you have to offer by working through guided exercises in the resume branding mini-workbook.

Be an up-to-date version of yourself. Do the work to open the door and share it with the world!

One Childhood Lesson that informs a High-Performing Resume

Show don't tell.

We all know this well. Travel back in time to your kindergarten classroom to revisit the lego creation or favorite stuffed animal you brought in to share with your class. Seriously, do you remember?

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Now, use your muscle memory to replace your display of childhood trinkets with quantifiable results on your resume.

So, ditch vague TELL descriptors like:

❌ Revenue-driven

❌ Hard worker

❌ Results-oriented

Instead, SHOW quantifiable metrics. Share NUMBERS like:

💡Dollar Amounts - Money saved or earned.

💡Time - Speed of service or deadlines met.

💡Percentages - Increases in market share or efficiency.

For those who, like me, aren't math whizzes, use the percentage calculator [percentagecalculator.net] as an online helper.

One Easy Way to Market Yourself in your Resume

Make a marketing move on your resume with a headline.

This is one simple fix helps shift your resume from a professional list of experiences to a marketing document. A headline is located under your contact information and above your branding statement.

Don't complicate it. The headline is the job you are applying for. It’s the billboard that shouts the purpose of your resume.

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You are not only branding yourself as said position but listing the job title up top in your document is advantageous for ATS.

⚡️BONUS MOVE: Add the most important keywords found in the job ad underneath your headline that is also synonymous with your skillset.

FOR EXAMPLE:

Headline >> Product Manager

Keywords >> Cloud-Based Product Development | Project Management | Information Technology

Does your Resume fall into the Information Trap? Three Tell-Tale Signs

Are you informing or selling? Many resumes that land on my desk share an abundance of information without discernment towards a job target. Resumes with a lack of focus do not perform. Do you fall into the informing trap?

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INFORMING looks like:

🚫 Copy and pasting your job description into your resume.

🚫 A laundry list of professional positions and community activities you've participated in.

🚫 Blocks of text with lengthy descriptions that lack accomplishments.

SELLING is:

✅ Articulating your unique professional accomplishments that demonstrate your value towards company pain points.

✅ Carefully organizing and discerning which jobs to include and where (within a 10-15 year time frame) to create a coherent and thoughtful narrative.

✅ Using the top third of your resume to market yourself toward a specific job (using a headline and branding statement).

Need help transitioning from informing to selling? Grab our branding statement mini-workbook.

Showcase your Difference in your Job Search

I lived in Sweden for a year after I graduated college. I learned a lot that year and was introduced to many wonderful people and Scandinavian treasures – Fika. H&M. IKEA.

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The most interesting was a Swedish cultural concept - “Lagom.” It comes from the phrase “laget om” (correct me if I am wrong, Swedes, as I struggled in that 6-week language course!) which means middle, median, appropriate.

While this concept permeates Scandinavian culture from social interactions to what you wear or eat, it won’t do you any favors in an American job search. In fact, if you stay on middle ground in your job search, you will be anchored there. 

Most people who are applying and networking for your new job of interest, typically have a similar degree, qualifications and skill set. Don’t stay similar. Be different. 

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Identify your competitive edge. 

✪ What are you known for?

✪ What strengths do others consistently acknowledge in you?

✪ What are you really good at?

Leverage what sets you apart in your job search and career documents. Need help discovering your 'difference'? Find resources here.

What do people think about You? One FREE way to find Out!

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I’ve always wanted the ability to read people’s minds. Now you can.

Find out what people think of you based on your LinkedIn profile headshot with Photofeeler.

Photofeeler is a data science company that according to their website helps people “land good jobs and life partners.” You can now learn if people find you competent, likable and influential in categories of business, social and dating.

I decided to give it a go with my LinkedIn profile photo!

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Just download your photo, choose a category and enter your job title. Then wait for votes from others regarding your competency, likability and influence.

Check out my results from my LinkedIn profile photo:

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I recommend to test out a few photos and then choose the photo that best represents YOU and the vibe you want to project. Whether you are heading into a job search or leveraging your expertise online, effectively optimize your photo for your professional endeavors.

Cover Letter: Less is More

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I used to jam pack all the words I could on a page to describe why I was the best candidate for the job in my cover letters. More words = more qualified, right?

Wrong.

I recently was having this same discussion with a client. The verbosity of complex experiences doesn’t mean more readership, it means less. Do you have that person in your life that is constantly talking versus the one who refrains, but when s/he does speak up - it is profoundly worthwhile to listen? Be the latter in your cover letter.

The purpose of a cover letter is to illustrate how you are the perfect (or near perfect!) candidate for the job. Land an interview to tell more! Here’s how:

+ The job posting is your compass. Demonstrate your skills and qualifications for the job by first knowing what experience the company/job are requiring. Customize your letter accordingly.

+ Use bullet points to draw attention to hard and soft skills, education and/or professional experiences relevant to the posting. Let your text breathe with white space. Pack a punch with succinct sentences and powerful accomplishments.

+ Highlight memorable stories. Those applying for the position have a similar skill set. Convey what makes you unique. Illustrate your skills instead of listing them. Share a distinct professional accomplishment or a personal story tying you to the company or brand values. Stand out!

Give yourself the advantage by sending a strong cover letter even if not required of the posting.

Give Career Fulfillment This Christmas

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Happy Cyber Monday! As you sift through the deals of the day, consider giving the long-lasting gift of career fulfillment and hope (for under ten bucks)!

Grab our resume branding mini-workbook ($8.99) to guide you or a loved one through our branded statement writing formula, that ensures you can:

➝ Communicate the best blend of your skill set to win interviews.

➝ Infuse professional accomplishments into your resume.

➝ Locate keywords in a job posting to tweak your resume for your application.

➝ Craft a statement that showcases your value and sets you apart from the crowd.

Take charge to hone your professional value and lead a friend to theirs! Career fulfillment belongs to those that do the inner work to get there. Buy your copy here.

Develop Skills With Intentionality

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Nothing like a snow day in central Indiana to slow you down.

While I take stock of ingredients today to cook up a baked treat with my kids, it reminds me what I’ve been reading regarding “deliberate practice” in Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit.

I’ve never been good at baking and honestly, getting out and dirtying all the kitchen things to do one of my most dreaded chores (washing dishes) always sways me to another activity despite a sweet reward.

But this holiday season, I’m aiming to establish traditions around baking with my family that I have yet to create. “Deliberate practice” is more than just logging hours and hours of a new skill, but in being intentional in the practicing of it.

With baking it might be trying a recipe a few different ways, adding a smidge here or there of an ingredient, commenting on a recipe noting what worked and what didn’t and having honest taste testers (I have three little ones of those;) reflect which was the most successful.

What skill do you want to improve or add to your skill set? What deliberate measures can you take to practice honing it? Mastering a skill adds to your value and brand.

Need help articulating it on your resume? Invest in our mini-workbook.