LinkedIn, personal branding, and the faster speed of the working world has shifted the role of the resume during job searches. And that shift means individuals who are searching for new assignments need to make a few adjustments if they still have a more traditional resume.
Essentially, job candidates need to attract the hiring manager in the first five seconds or half page of their resume. You have the best chance of doing that by shifting the lead section of your resume from the traditional focus on a personal objective to a description of what you can do for your employer and how. This summary statement communicates two major types of information: your specific area of expertise and what characterizes how you get the work done.
It used to be that your resume was a list of everything you had done so that the hiring manager could see your range and potential. In today’s fast paced world, contractors are being hired for a specific task so the hiring manager is looking for particular experiences and knowledge. Craft your statement to highlight the settings in which you have worked and any specific knowledge you have developed in relation to that work.
The second type information you want in this summary statement is how others characterize your work. What advantages do you provide through your work? How does this benefit the organization? And, how do you achieve the outcomes that you produce? This component of the summary statement ideally highlights both “hard” descriptors of outcomes achieved and the “soft” factors people attribute to your working style. Are you known for your light touch in difficult situations? Do you use software solutions to meet the unique needs of a virtual team? Are you a careful and/or creative negotiator?
Many people have not thought much about how they get things done or, alternatively, they are not sure how other people might describe how they get things done. If you are one of these people, take the time to set up a quick survey via surveymonkey.com or one of the other free services and send some of your past co-workers a two question survey (this will allow their responses to be anonymous). The questions: “What do you see as my major work contributions?” And “What descriptors would you use to say how I make those contributions?”
Crafting a summary statement that is not too detailed or abstract takes some effort. And once your summary statement is composed you probably need to rework the rest of your resume to support it. Remember the goal of the summary statement is to help the hiring manager see how you could add value to their organization immediately. If it’s a match they will take the time to explore the rest of your credentials and hopefully lead to an interview.