For decades generations of job seekers have been told that a resume should contain three generic components: an objective, a work history, and education credentials. These components functioned as a synopsis of your professional background. It spoke to what a job seeker sought after, what a job seeker did in current and previous positions of work, and what specific training a job seeker possessed. Not much more thought was given to it.

However, in today’s professionally saturated job market, simply writing out a resume to fit a job description is not good enough. Companies today are bombarded with hundreds of resumes by potential employees. So what can you do to set yourself apart from your competitive counterparts?  Rethink your resume.

Your Resume is Your Personal Brand

Your resume is your personal brand. Ask yourself: what are the personal qualities that define you? What are your values?

More companies are looking for candidates that cannot only do the job, but who also fit within their corporate culture. Finding a candidate who can bring value to a company’s organization is their number one priority. Forget about writing a bland objective statement at the top of your resume. Instead, consider starting your resume with an impact statement.

An impact statement functions in a similar way that a tagline does in advertising. Your impact statement must contain strong, active language that grabs your potential employer’s attention. It should convey who you are on that piece of paper and advocate the qualities you bring to any organization. The impact statement needs to tell an employer what you are able to accomplish. The rest of your resume must support your impact statement as evidence of the value you brought to your previous employers.

By starting with an impact statement, you garner far more attention from an employer’s eye than other candidates who stick to writing a formal objective. This is the place where you can actively advocate your soft skills and sell yourself into your next career position. To utilize this space effectively, allude to your achievements and how they set you apart from the competition. In doing so, you will spark the employer’s imagination into visualizing your potential fit with their company.

Celebrate Your Skill Set

The next section of your resume should celebrate your skill set. Your skill set should be an extension of who you are as a professional. It should contain your technical proficiencies, highlight your strengths, and align with your work history. You should also include skills that are transferable, but not enumerated for the position. Each skill should be quantifiable and objective.

As such, listing your soft skills need not apply here as they do not demonstrate specific knowledge and abilities. Communicate your hard skill set instead and let the rest of your resume speak to your soft skills. After all, you have a full two pages to demonstrate who you are on your resume, so take advantage of the space provided.

Accentuate Your Accomplishments

Your work history is essentially the meat of your resume. In this section, you should accentuate your accomplishments in every career position you’ve held. Not only does it nee to contain quantifiable data, but it should also communicate qualitative data.

To zero in on what is meant by quantitative and qualitative data, think about the key achievements you made while working for past employers. What were they? How did you accomplish them?

Brainstorm backward into your past jobs and think hard about the results you delivered day in and day out on each job. Afterward, organize and select the best of each that can be adequately summarized into a bullet point. Choose action verbs that positively and accurately demonstrate how you were effective in each position. Use numbers to convey the value of your work. Think and be results-oriented in communicating what you accomplished in each position that you held.

Employers want motivated individuals who aspire to achieve success, so avoid listing duties that are not measurable. Anyone can do mundane, so don’t be afraid to brag. By focusing results-oriented accomplishments you demonstrate not only competence, but you also convey confidence, Confidence gives you premium value. 

Demonstrate Your Expertise and Interests

Three other sections that are standard on you resume are your education, certifications, and the activities that show your professional interests. The education portion is straight forward. If you have a degree, you list the college or university in which you attained it, the degree and area of study in which you focused, and most often the graduation year. If you a high school graduate, you simply list your school and the year you obtained your diploma.

In addition, certifications are also important to list if they are professionally relevant for your position. This pretty much sums up the education portion. It doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, but it is still relevant in branding who you are. Listing activities, on the other hand, can provide an employer a new dimension into your personality, but it’s important that the activities you list be relevant and useful.

Be Creative, But Be Honest

Don’t be afraid to be creative, but be honest. Your resume is your marketing tool for your next position, and as such, it should be treated as a creative opportunity to express to a potential employer who you are as a person. By rethinking your resume in the context of personal branding statement, you effectively gain an edge in the job market.