Branding and Your Resume – What Is Your Resume Saying About You?

No marketer would ever use home-brand packaging to sell a premium product. The cost of the potential losses in sales revenue alone would be obvious, and yet on a daily basis, highly qualified professionals sacrifice potential income through poor resume packaging.

It’s not the design or resume template that is at fault, but peoples’ tendency when using templates to lose sight of the fact that the resume is actually a marketing document. To sell a product, marketers realise they must know their customer. They invest time and effort in developing branding and copy content that will appeal and inspire action by the customer to buy. This is just as true for applicants. Just as every product has its unique selling points, so do individuals, and time must be invested in designing a resume that will truly reflect your relevant selling points and will operate as a catalyst to mobilize employers to make contact.

Fancy templates on their own won’t do this. Pretty may catch the employer’s eye but what then? A good resume will do that and a lot more. It will capture their interest, immediately showcasing the amazing skills and benefits you can offer their company. It will funnel them down through your resume on a journey packed with achievement and genuine contributions to your past employers. It will paint the picture of a consummate professional, who has faced commercial challenges and soared… and yes they will be caught, hook, line and sinker… motivated and intrigued to talk with you to see if you would be able to offer the same contributions to their company.

So before you pick a template and just start to type. Stop. Pause. Take time to really consider:

  • Who will be reading your resume. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they want? What skills and experience do you offer? Why would they want to ring you? 

    • Evaluate the template design. Does it reflect the image you want to put forward? Will you stand out from the pile of resumes, professional and distinctive or just blend in?
    • Assess your writing and personal marketing skills.Do you have the skills to really showcase your achievements? Would you be better investing in your future through the skills of a professional resume writer?

    When you know this, then you can start the resume process because I guarantee if your resume is plonked into a template with no thought given to the content – it will more likely than not be just you reading it! On the other hand, take the time to consider the employer in your resume, your branding and resume image and you are one step closer to that ringing phone and job offer!

     Need help with your resume design. Contact Gill at Career Edge today.

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    Mistaken Identity – Do You Know What They Are Saying About You?

    When I was growing up I dreamt of seeing my name in lights. My imagination was filled of scenes where I would casually mention my name at restaurants and people would stop and say  “I know you – you’re famous!” 

    You know what they say ‘careful what you wish for’. 

    A couple of years ago I was visiting a hotel with my husband when I casually scanned the inhouse movie menu to find to my astonishment my name on one of their feature films. I can tell you I was even more surprised when on a closer look I saw that it was actually an adult movie (in every sense of the word).

    After a giggle I realised that I shared my name with a porn star. My interest piqued I later googled my name to find that not only did I share my name with a porn star but a very famous porn star at that! Complete with a suite of films and associated merchandise including the ‘Jill Kelly’ blow up doll.  My husband of course thought it was hilarious and so did I until the realisation slowly dawned about its potential impact to my online reputation.

    Armed with a new level of awareness, the impact of this started to be noticable. As an invited writer for the CDI Careerwiki, I noticed the google ads under my articles featuring my namesake’s films. When I gave my name at a local event, the gentleman on the desk said “Where do I know that name from?” and then a moment later promptly and rather obviously changed the subject.

    Now I had a dilemma – do I change my name and give up my hard earned global reputation or do I simply try and compete in the spotlight and hope people don’t get us confused.

    After much strategising I developed a rebranding strategy. Armed with a strong knowledge of exactly what my online identity was, I developed a plan to address and mitigate any potential damage to my profile.

    So today I start the execution of this rebranding campaign.

    Jill Kelly just became ‘Gillian Kelly’. My mother will be pleased as she actually spelt my name with a ‘G’ so that I wouldn’t shorten it to Jill.

    So take a few lessons from my experience. Remain abreast of your online identity and Google yourself regularly. Not only is it fun but it may save you from the costs of mistaken professional identity. As for me, from now on I’ll be known by Gillian Kelly. Except maybe for in the bedroom.     


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    Marketing You – Personal Branding Secrets Revealed

    Capitalise on your talent. Unleash your potential. Follow your dreams!

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    The Branded Resume Checklist – How does your resume rate?

    First impressions are everything. Does yours resume represent you as the consummate professional you are? Before you send it off, take a few moments to put it through the professional’s “Resume Checklist”.  The extra few minutes spent here could make all the difference to your resume’s impact and your subsequent job search success. 

    ð        Does your resume have impact from the outset? Will it grab the employer’s attention, telling him/her who you are; what you bring; and a snapshot of your career highlights and strengths?  Make sure it doesn’t waste valuable space with personal details. Condense your personal details to 1-2 lines and use the rest to sell you as a quality potential candidate.

    ð        Is your resume effectively targeted to the type of job you are seeking?  Every resume should be written with a target type of job in mind. Is yours? Read through the job advertisements for the type of employment you are seeking. Does your resume immediately paint you as “just what the employer is looking for”? Have you highlighted all the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that the employer may be seeking?

    ð        Does your resume start with a powerful header and profile? Your header should immediately tell the employer who you are. Experienced Sales Professional. Motivated Business Graduate. Qualified Training Auditor. It should be followed by a strong profile highlighting your unique experience, skills and benefits (or otherwise known as your unique selling proposition). Use this section to stand out from the others in the resume pack.  

    ð        Is your employment background written in an achievement-orientation? Is it focused on the challenges of each role and your personal contributions? Have you replaced accountabilities with achievements? Don’t bore the reader with a list of accountabilities that they probably already know – give them details on what you have achieved and the value you brought to each role. Draw them in on a journey packed with innovation, results and dedication. Don’t forget to make sure you include the title of the position, name of employer, and dates of employment, and ensure any gaps in your employment record are addressed.

    ð        Is your resume evidence based? Have you backed up your unique selling claims by highlighting in your employment your accomplishments including exactly what you did, how you did it and giving firm indications of the result. Eg slashed staffing costs 30% through restructured rosters that better matched staff ratios with peak period demands. Make sure it’s accurate and truthful. Be able to back up your claims.

    ð        Is your writing style energetic and filled with action verbs to create impact? Try starting your achievements with actions words. For example increased, lifted, slashed, reduced, eliminated, grew. This will bring power to your resume and increase its effect on the reader.

    ð        Does your resume include all licenses, qualifications, skills and credentials relevant to the job you seek?ð        Does it exclude all personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, etc. Make sure it avoids any negativities about past employers and never include reasons for leaving. Is your contact information up to date and accurate? Have you included your home phone, mobile number and email address.   

    ð        Does the overall layout of your resume look pleasing to the eye? Is it clear, logical and free from jargon. Is the layout simple, well structured and professional? Avoid graphics, keep fonts simple (just 1-2 at the most) and keep plenty of white space. Is it error-free? Check for grammar, spelling errors and grammar consistency.  

    ð        Is your resume scannable?  Ensure your layout can be scanned. No text boxes or graphics. True type fonts no less than 10 pt.

    ð        Have you proof read your resume? Have you prepared a powerful cover letter to go with it? Are you using good quality paper? Have you developed a separate referees sheet and included on your resume “Referees Available on Request”.


    If you have done all of the above – congratulations, you are now ready to start your job search. Good Luck!

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    The Dangers of Lying on Your Resume

    Almost everyone admits to it – adding that little white lie to your resume to make your case for that job just that little bit stronger. We tell ourselves it’s not lying – just embellishing. No-one will ever know. Think again!

    In today’s market, technology affords employer’s greater access to your career information than ever before, and the threat and costs associated with bad hiring decisions are pushing employers to scrutinize candidates more closely than ever. In fact with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse claiming “approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of job applications and résumés include some false or inflated facts”, employers are now going to greater extremes than ever to catch candidates out. Career Directors International latest Career Sector Megatrends Report 2007 stated that employers are now using Google, FaceBook and other internet forums to dig up digital dirt on candidates. They also highlight credit checks, reference checks and even handwriting checks as common techniques to assess potential candidates. From this it’s clear that candidates today need to do more to ensure their career and online identity is squeaky clean. 

    As a resume writer, I work to coach my clients that resume integrity is critical. Whilst a good resume will portray you in your best light, it’s never a good idea under any circumstances to lie. Not ever.A lie on a resume may get you to interview. But at what price? Today’s interviews are based on sophisticated behavioural interviewing techniques that demand a depth of detail not easily fudged. Nothing is more telling of a resume lie than a blank look as someone stumbles to put together feasible responses to what they wrote. Even if you manage to get through the interview – what then? Many employers now use professional pre-screening companies that are experts in hounding out resume lies and inaccuracies. As the internet has grown with sites offering access to a wealth of opportunities to buy mock degrees and fraudulent documentation, now we are seeing the backlash to this, as legal history is being made with individuals seeing the consequences both legally and financially for these actions.And of course, what if you do get the job? You’ve painted yourself as an expert in your field and now you are expected to deliver. Its highly likely that you’ll struggle to deliver performance at the levels they will expect and instead of having this great new job, you will have a failure leaving you rocked with poor morale and a terrible hole in your resume that you will now be again enticed to lie about to cover what happened. It’s a vicious circle and a place you don’t want to be.Instead consider the alternatives:

    •  Build yourself a resume that really sells you on your merits. A good resume writer will be able to structure your background to show achievements on any level.
    • Use your cover letter to address any gaps in experience you may have for the job through highlighting your transferable skills, and your capacity to adapt these skills to differing environments.
    •  Build passion into your resume for why you want the role, as employers will often be swayed by an individual’s energy and determination. More often than not, employers recognise that it is harder to find a person with the right qualities, than it is to teach job skills.

    Finally build a career based on integrity. Let your achievements speak for themselves and have confidence in yourself. You’ll do brilliantly. I know it!

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