by: Amanda D. Conradie
Your resume is not just your employment history. Nor is it simply a list of responsibilities hanging from each position you’ve ever held. Your resume should tell your story so that your potential employer knows who you are and what you stand for before inviting you in for an interview.
But how do you convey who you are on a few sheets of paper? By creating your personal brand. Your personal brand is more than a recap of your employment history and a few key attributes. Your personal brand is comprised of why you are good at what you do, why you are better than other applicants, what you stand for, and how you have overcome challenges. Your brand can be marketed professionally with a unique graphic, a signature color, and a distinct resume design.
Your major career challenges and achievements should be succinctly stated on your resume to show the reader why you are valuable to his organization. These challenges and achievements should be consistent through each position and tell the story of who you are: trustworthy, problem-solver, sales superstar, etc. While storytelling on a resume is essential to branding, your personal information should not be included in this format. Ever.
However, in your biography, if you choose to use one, the stories of your challenges can be a bit more personalized. You can discuss your defining moments or your leadership style, which further solidifies your personal brand. In addition to your credentials and experience, quotes or recommendation from your satisfied customers to colleagues, can be sprinkled in to accentuate who youare. In this scenario, a small amount of personal information– i.e. married with two children and almost made it to the Olympics in curling–can be added to humanize your story.
Your LinkedIn profile should also tell your story, but should not be a duplicate of your bio or resume. The Summary portion of your LinkedIn profile should tell a quick, but personal version of your story and deliver your personal brand to the viewer. Your Summary should serve as the hook that makes the recruiter request your resume. Linkedin profile must always be in first person. Engaging people through social media is key!
Your cover letter should also display you as a brand, but differently. You are essentially writing a letter to a prospective employer explaining why they should hire you. But it needs to express this in a way that is distinctly you. Perhaps choose one story that relates to the reason you want to work at this company and highlights why they should hire you. This allows you to appear as a human, not just a formatted cover letter, and gives you the chance to let your personality shine.