Four Easy Tips to a Visual Resume

Working on your resume is like writing everything down that you ate today. It’s cumbersome, it’s annoying and it feels like a lot of work (then it really is). You know you develop skills and are growing in your career every day, but I see you staring at a screen with the words “Skills: Microsoft Word Proficient” wondering if the wine you are sipping is drier.

According to U.S. News and World Report, “Simply being qualified won’t get you an interview in today’s job market. Employers are being inundated with applications from qualified candidates. If you don’t differentiate yourself, you will not attract the attention of hiring managers or recruiters.” Proving your value and worth to potential employers will take a little more than having a skill set – it might take

Proving your value and worth to potential employers will take a little more than having a skill set – it might take marketing yourself in new ways.

So, let’s not panic and think you learned nothing this year. Here are four easy steps you can do in 15 minutes (seriously, I did each of these in less than 15 minutes) that will help you spruce up your resume and promote your personal brand.

1. Find your value.

Consider the value you bring beyond your prior work history. In some cases, you may have to think deeply about this question to find an answer. Find out what your target company’s mission statement or business model is and think about what hard/soft skills you have that are either directly or indirectly related. Make sure to include all of this in your CV/resume. Keep notes on your thoughts so you can convey the same information during your interview.

Bonus: if you are looking for popular skill sets to add to your resume, read an exclusive Windy City Cosmo interview with the President of ADVISA, Heather Haas, who specializes in workplace trends.

2. Quantify your CV/resume.

Due to a high volume of applications being submitted, you will need to catch the reader’s attention very quickly. Always err on the side of professionalism when it comes to font and structure of your CV/resume. Use metrics – concrete examples of the quantifiable effects you have had on your previous company, team or department. Adding numbers and specific examples will highlight your accomplishments and help you stand out to the hiring manager. A good way to start writing resume bullet points (and also answering job interview questions) is a method called Problem Action Results (PAR). 

3. Create a video or add visuals.

If appropriate, you may consider using more than just text in your CV/resume. Infographics, color and company logos can tell your story in an engaging way. After all, even LinkedIn moved to a more visual format. You may also wish to send a video “thank you” message or a video resume like this one. One of my favorite tools is this easy to use visual resume builder, Visual CV, where they take an average Microsoft Word resume and transform it into a design template.

4. Make your LinkedIn headline pop.

You will most likely be “googled” by the employer, and LinkedIn will be one of the top results. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and accurate and engaging. You can choose your title as your headline, but professionals have found that using keywords like “Content Creator” or “SEO Expert” might help them place higher on LinkedIn searches. There’s a lot of blog posts, like this one, about strategies to improve your online visibility. You can also seek professional counsel from career workers like IMPACT for a more tailored approach to your job search.

Remember to take advantage of every opportunity to showcase what you have to offer. Standing out to a potential employer during these busy job search months may take a little more time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end!

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