Depending on how you’re using them, positioning statements and the ensuing qualification summaries can either be a complete waste of space or a total game changer. For those of you who don’t know, a Positioning Statement is where the resume writer clearly, and specifically, connects with their reader on what service they offer to their next employer.
Thursday, November 2nd… Developing in-sync Personal Marketing collateral materials: Having a GREAT Resume
There are several ‘cosmetic’ ways for a job seeker to position themselves. It can be as generic as the functional area of expertise… or as specific as the actual title that is of interest, for example: A job seeker looking for a role in OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT might be interested in an employer’s need for a
SW REGIONAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Because job titles can be very misleading from one employer to another, the knowing job seeker further ‘defines’ their positioning with ‘keywords,’ functional terms that describe the work performed. Again, this can be as generic as…
Strategic Planning | Operations Analysis | Process Improvement
OR, very specific, with defining keywords selected from the employer’s actual job description… or better still, from the job seeker’s research of the employer’s actual needs…
SW REGIONAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Multiple Facility Management | Quality Control | Staff Development
Following these concepts, the job seeker actually can control for the nature of ‘FIT’ that they will be measured against by the employer! But, let’s give the job seeker even more advantage with a Qualification Summary that allows the reader to see evidence of the great ‘FIT.’ A well written summary essentially consists of a few pithy and strong statements at the beginning of your resume that help summarize your skills and experience in order for a prospective employer to quickly get a sense of the value you could offer. Here’s a sample:
The editorial concept sounds great, right? Minus the part where you have to give up valuable resume space for information that’s already on your resume. So, the big question is: Do you really need one?
The short answer is, it depends. Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme (read: brand). Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills. On the other hand, if you have a pretty linear or straightforward career path, the space is probably better used for additional bullet points in each role.
If you do decide that a summary statement is right for you, get ready to do some digging and some introspection. You only have a limited amount of space for your summary statement (think four to six bullets, give or take a couple), and you don’t want to a) regurgitate your resume bullets or b) sound like a list of buzzwords.
Once you have these two cardinal rules down, the real fun begins. Here’s a three-step plan to help you craft the perfect summary.
Step 1: Figure Out The Most Appropriate ‘NEXT STEP’ in Your Career
Since you need to be concise, it’s important to figure out what you want in your next position, so you know exactly what skills and experiences to highlight. If you are not absolutely clear about what you want, envision an ideal position that will value you for the main characteristics and experiences you want to be hired for.
Step 2: Analyze Your Target Industry
Once you know what you want to do, your next step is identifying where you want to be—think industry, city, and companies. Then, research your industry and key trends affecting it now: Read relevant industry news articles, research companies, and analyze job descriptions you’re interested in.
- What is most valued in your target industry?
- What experiences, skills, and characteristics matter in your target jobs?
- What would you look for if you were the hiring manager?
Step 3: Find Your Fit and Condense
With your knowledge of your target industry, it’s time to figure out how you fit in (or want to). Identify, describe, and refine your key selling points with your end goal in mind. Then, craft them into 4-6 bullets, shooting for statements that are vivid and that clearly illustrate what you bring to the table over anyone else.
- What is the intersection of your ‘value proposition’ and what your target industry, or specific Company, needs?
- What are your most impactful areas of experience, knowledge, or skill?
- What critical problems are you well suited to solve?
A well written qualification summary can be a powerful branding tool the helps send the message that you’re a great FIT for the job. The best thing about taking the time to put one together (whether you decide to actually use it or not) is that it not only helps hiring managers get a clear sense of what you have to offer, but also helps you better understand what you bring to the table.
So, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly how to sell your value proposition the next time you’re networking, interviewing or presenting yourself online.