Ditch the Summary for a Sales Pitch and Focus on Your Value
One of the critical components of your job search is to attract attention with your resume. Problem is, we also know that very little of our carefully crafted resume is actually read. It’s important to me that my clients and my readers don’t waste their time and energy. In order to make your resume stand out and clearly articulate your professional value: ditch the Summary for a Sales Pitch.
Summaries are typically areas to deposit tired descriptors such as: detail-oriented, team player, competent communicator, organized and multi-tasker (to name a few). Recruiters and hiring managers have seen all of the worn-out professional adjectives and will automatically skip over most paragraphs labeled ‘Summary’ or ‘Objective Statement’.
You Must Market Yourself
As a job seeker – you must market yourself. You have to sell your skill set, expertise, professional impact and value to stand out from your competition. As a career coach and resume expert, most original resumes I review include some of the following content:
- Career objective statement that is a whole paragraph long (or two!).
- Bullet-point lists of roles and responsibilities.
- No section for core expertise, skills or abilities.
- No key accomplishments section to highlight professional experience.
If you have some or all of these elements – don’t despair! Changing up a few items on your resume will help you stand out and encourage viewers to actually read your content. Immediately: Ditch the Summary for a Sales Pitch. Articulate the value you can bring to an organization and how you plan to deliver that value.
First, Understand Your Value
Defining your professional value is a huge step towards job search success. Without this, you will not be able to hook a hiring manager’s attention. To understand and communicate your value, answer these key questions:
- What are you the ‘go to’ person for?
- What makes you stand out from other leading professionals?
- What do you consider your expertise or core competencies?
Next, make a list of your key skills, expertise and abilities. As you review your list, think about what real life examples you have that demonstrate your use of a skill or expertise. For each real life story you jot down, consider how it positively impacted the organization, team or your ability to do your work well.
The Sales Pitch
As a ___________, I will ___________ .
In order to pitch your skills and expertise effectively, you can drop the endless opening paragraph with its tired adjectives. Also, by using the first person context – you are directly addressing the reader with intent. By understanding your personal brand and your value you will be able to clearly communicate why a hiring manager will want to contact you.
A successful Sales Pitch has the following components:
- Your Branding Statement & Focus
- Your Expertise / Value / Unique Skillset
- The Results You Deliver
Pitch Your Expertise!
Examples of a Sales Pitch:
As an accomplished Program Manager, I will demonstrate my proven ability to manage multiple projects of varying size and complexity while building and maintaining strong relationships at all levels of the organization to develop sustainable solutions for complex business problems.
As an experienced Financial Leader with expertise in business strategy, building robust finance departments: I will leverage my abilities to develop high-performance work teams, lead major projects, and collaborate with key stakeholders with a continuous improvement mindset to provide robust financial support to the strategic vision.
A successful Sales Pitch does not have unnecessary fluff, overblown adjectives (wonderful, fantastic, dynamite, etc.) or tell your life story. It also does not include words like ‘hard worker’ and ‘solid integrity’. While these are all good things to have, you are better off focusing on what value you will bring to the organization or what pain you can solve for them.
Focus on Your Value
Attention spans are short. Make sure that a hiring manager will actually want to read your resume so keep it concise and to the point. Highlight main keywords such as your expertise, core competencies, abilities and skills. List these under a section headed ‘Expertise’ or ‘Professional Acumen’.
Use your real life example stories as accomplishments statements in your resume. For more effective impact, create a section call ‘Select Accomplishments’ and list your stories there. Be sure to condense each story into 1-2 lines of text while still getting the point across. Focus on the ROI (return on investment), what your actions contributed and a brief description of how you achieved that contribution.
By focusing on your value and directly addressing the reader in your Sales Pitch to tell them what you will be able to accomplish for the organization, you are more likely to stand out from the other candidates right away!