Resume writing is marketing. It’s that simple!

To create a powerful and successful resume that will advance your search campaign, you need to identify the features and benefits you have to sell to a prospective employer. Then carefully, and with great thought, provide that information in a resume.

Let’s suppose I’ve run an advertisement for a CEO, MIS Director, National Director of Sales & Marketing or Manufacturing Plant Manager. And now, only one week later, I have 429 resumes on my desk and at least 100 phone messages from interested applicants. It would be easier to just do the job myself (if I knew how!) than to try to work my way through this task.

So, I spend the next week sifting through resumes that all say the same thing. Programmers tell me they write code, systems analysts tell me they design new systems and applications, chemical engineers write that they develop processes for chemical manufacture and CIOs tell me that they direct the corporate information management organizations.

I KNOW THESE THINGS! That’s what the job is.

Looking at what I think is resume #388, something is different! This resume says something. It highlights projects, achievements, special task forces, and a host of other interesting and distinctive activities. I want to meet this applicant!

Now, is that applicant you? It certainly can be if you learn the tricks and techniques to effectively market yourself through your resume.

The Sales & Marketing Game

The resume is a great tool. There are really no rules, no definitive procedures that dictate how you prepare your resume. The choice is yours. The opportunity is there to sell your achievements creatively and aggressively, to effectively position yourself above the competing applicants, and get in the door for an interview. Just remember, the purpose of your resume is to get the interview. Resumes don’t get jobs.

Let’s suppose you designed an innovative new product line. You’re ready to begin selling the product, so you develop marketing plans, sales literature and other campaigns that highlight the features and benefits of the product. In essence, what makes it so great.

Well, the concept is the same when you prepare a resume - highlight the features and the benefits. Yes, of course, you need to include the “typical” resume information - professional work experience, educational background, teaching experience, technical qualifications and professional affiliations. Equally important is the emphasis you place on selling your career successes — special projects, new systems development, productivity improvements, quality improvements, reductions in operating expenses, and more. The list goes on and on. A few examples include:

Directed the development and implementation of a new corporate Information Management System to replace obsolete technology. Managed project from initial conceptualization and systems specification through the entire programming, configuration planning, installation and technical training cycle.
Redesigned internal product scheduling procedures and reduced net days per project by 32.
Redesigned engineering processes and expedited daily production by 18%.
Identified cost overrides in contracting data processing fees, renegotiated vendor agreements, and saved over $2.3 million annually.
Wrote and implemented a series of customized programs (e.g., accounting, inventory control, purchasing, order entry) to support UNIX-based operations for a multi-million dollar global distributor.
By including this type of specific information, you are “teasing” the prospective employer. It is important that you provide detailed information to substantiate not only your qualifications but also your ability to contribute to the corporation and effectuate positive change. In today’s economy, everyone is suffering — from the large corporate giants of yesterday to the small, high-tech companies. Money is tight, competition is fierce and economics are forcing massive change.
Companies need expertise and the ability to produce. Your job is to use your resume as an effective sales tool that will demonstrate your knowledge, achievements and capabilities. As your prospective employer, “tell” me not only what you have done, tell me how well. Be careful, however, about “overkill”. Achievements must also be within the realm of reality (and documentable)!

Capture Attention & Win

A recommended format for high-tech resumes for engineering, data processing and other technical and management personnel, is as follows:

Technical Qualifications

Brief, hard-hitting summary of your significant technical, and if appropriate, management qualifications. Also include any professional credentials or certifications, along with your technical proficiencies (e.g., equipment, computer hardware, programming languages, network protocols, operating systems, electronic test instrumentation). The summary can be presented either in paragraph form or as a bulleted listing. For example:

“PC SPECIALIST offers strong background in customized software applications, systems/needs evaluation, user training and systems support services. Seeking a technical services position offering opportunities for career training and enhancement.” “Comprehensive knowledge of government regulations and industrial hygiene standards.

Substantial experience in project planning, implementation and management.

Ability to independently manage governmental affairs.

Solid field and site investigation skills.

Strong planning, analytical, writing and negotiation skills.

Proven record of achievement in responding to/managing environmental clean-up programs.”

Professional Experience

Include job titles, employers, locations and dates of employment in addition to a short, yet comprehensive summary of responsibilities with special emphasis on project highlights and achievements.

Professional Activities

Broad category to include teaching experience, research projects, public speaking/presentations, writing experience, conference attendance and any other activities related to your career.


Include college degrees, attendance at college courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and any other professional development activities. Be sure to include distinguished academic achievements. College activities may or may not be appropriate based largely upon dates of graduation and amount of professional experience.

Professional Affiliations

Include membership in professional associations and societies, and of course, any specific leadership roles.

Please note this is a recommended format that may or may not be appropriate to your particular circumstances. Remember, there are no rules to resume writing. Prepare a resume that will sell your talents, technical qualifications, career history and achievements.

The “Make It Look Good” Game

Yes, visual presentation matters. In order to sell yourself as a professional, you must “look” like a professional. With the advent of word processing, desktop publishing and laser printers, there is no excuse for a non-professional presentation.

A few helpful hints:
Use bold and italics to highlight specific items on your resume.
Right hand justify the text for a “cleaner” appearance.
Use high quality paper (24 lb, 25% cotton). Ivory, light blue and
light gray are distinctive and attractive, yet conservative.
Use matching stationery and envelopes for your cover letters.
Proofread and double proofread. Errors are unacceptable.
Leave lots of white space. Readability is as important as content.
If no one reads the resume, it doesn’t matter what you’ve said or how well you’ve said it.
Stay away from long paragraphs of more than 6-7 sentences. Break paragraphs with blank lines in between and/or use bullets to enhance reading ease.

The one versus two page dilemma is a constant point of concern. Years ago, the “Resume God” said “Let your resume be one page.” At it was law. But times have changed, the competition is fierce, and you must make every attempt to aggressively “sell” your qualifications. If two pages is required, so be it. You will find that the response to your job search campaign will be directly dependent upon how well you’ve marketed your qualifications and achievements; not on number of pages.