Use Your Resume to Sell Yourself

Most people don't know how to take a compliment, let alone talk about their achievements or display them in a resume. It can be difficult to "sell" yourself to employers, especially if you haven't really taken the time to uncover your true assets.

Your goal should be to get really clear on who you are professionally and what you offer your current and potential employers. Once you figure this out, your resume will basically write itself.

Follow these 5 Steps to make your resume "sell" you:

Step 1. Where have you been and where are you now
Record your educational and professional history to date. Add community service, leadership roles, entrepreneurial initiatives and other notable experience. For each job or position, write down what you were hired to do and your tasks and responsibilities.

Step 2. Dig deeper to find stories
Review your history again. But this time, focus on the contributions you made. You are creating mini stories that reveal a lot about what you can do, so be as specific as possible.

For each job or position held, what difference did you make? What accomplishments can you point to? Additional questions are:

  • What specific projects did you work on and what was your role?
  • What challenges or obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
  • What objectives did you achieve?
  • What lasting improvements did you leave behind?

Step 3: Track Record
Honestly evaluate where you were successful, where you weren't and what you think the factors were. Remember, this activity will help you get a handle on your unique value proposition. Include:

  • Where you achieved your goals
  • Where you exceeded expectations
  • Where you were recognized or rewarded

Step 4: Strengths
What does your track record tell you about your strengths? What patterns do you see? Hint: If you list a particular strength multiple times, chances are it is important. Here are 3 ways to uncover your strengths:

  1. For each of your accomplishments, what abilities did you have to demonstrate in order to get the job done? Customer service skills? Project management ? Quick thinking?
  2. Dig into past performance evaluations, reference letters, assessment tools, and notes you have made to yourself. What clues can you find?
  3. Lastly, and importantly, find a way to talk to people you've worked with. Ask them what they consider to be your strengths and why they liked working with you.

Step 5: Putting it together
You now know a lot more about yourself than you did before. It's time to put it together.

  1. Look for overlap and try to consolidate your ideas. For example, you might have a list of 14 strengths that could be boiled down to a list of 9.
  2. Try combining concepts to create a more focused profile. For example, an accountant with a passion for not-for-profits could effectively describe herself as a not-for-profit financial manager.
  3. What are your key selling points? Use your intuition to decide what is most important and relevant.

Selling yourself can be an awkward, frustrating experience. When you faithfully work through these 5 Steps, you discover that you have a lot to offer. This is the most direct route to effective resumes, interviews and career moves.

Go to Resume Builder to read additional expert tips and examples that can help your resume stand out to employers. Now with Cover Letters , you can properly highlight your skills and "sell" yourself with the click of a button.

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