How to Brand Yourself on Your Resume

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By Ngwe-Chantal Njiwah

You just graduated or are about to graduate. Now what? When I first graduated, I remember applying to numerous job ads and only getting rejection emails. I couldn’t figure out why. My experiences and qualifications were chronologically bullet-pointed on my resume so what exactly was the problem?

I then took it upon myself to do some research to see what I could do to improve my resume. After reading various articles about resume branding, I realized my resume needed a major fixer upper! Here’s what I found the problem to be: My resume wasn’t specifically tailored to the role I was applying for or the skills I possessed. My resume lacked personality! 

Here’s the thing. You may be the perfect match for a job but if your resume comes across as “confusing,” you’re probably going to end up in the “reject” pile. “Confusing” means the recruiter can’t easily identify what you’re good at. Recruiters have numerous resumes to skim through on any given day. They may be reviewing resumes for two or three different positions in a given time period so you want to make sure your resume is concise and specific to the role you’re applying for.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself: What am I good at? What did I enjoy doing in my last (current) position? What am I currently doing to enhance my skills, such as personal development? What proven strategies did I use in previous roles to implement and execute and what were my accomplishments/highlights? If you don’t yet have enough experience, your resume should focus on what your interests are and what you’re currently doing to enhance those skills. You’re smart! You’re talented! You’re skilled! You deserve a job that reflects that.

Think about McDonald’s for example. They are a fast-food restaurant. Their brand focuses on how to get customers in and out in as little time as possible while delivering the best quality meal for a fast food restaurant. They’re not trying to sell themselves as a healthy restaurant because they serve grilled chicken wraps, or sell themselves as a fashion brand because they sell McDonald’s merrchandise. In the same way, branding yourself on your resume simply means including specific details that helps recruiters quickly identify your specific skillset and interests.

Be patient when applying for jobs and know exactly what you want, and don’t worry about the skills and experiences not included on your resume. An interview will be the perfect time for you to expound on that.

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