Women Lift Women: Your resume, your brand

your resume your brand by ann mukundi

Want to build your personal brand? Start with your resume

When you’re looking for a job – whether it’s your first job or you’re looking for a new challenge – how you present yourself makes a big difference. We often speak about this as being your ‘personal brand’. And just like you remember the first time you deal with a company, the people in a company will remember the first time they interact with you. In short, first impressions count.

But why should you concern yourself with your personal brand? Why is it such a big deal?

  • It helps you understand and communicate who you are and what you stand for.
  • It allows you to build your confidence in your skills and abilities. If you’re developing your brand as an expert in applications for the banking industry then you’re going to make sure that you’re ahead of the curve in this area.
  • It creates visibility by telling prospective employers who you are, the type of work you do and the impact you’ve had in the past.
  • It gives you a chance to evolve as you identify areas of growth and work on them.

Your personal brand is a combination of who you are as a person and your capabilities in the professional environment.

That’s all well and good, but what does your resume have to do with your personal brand?

Like it or not, the first time that most companies will interact with you will not be in person. It’ll be directly with your resume or even your LinkedIn profile. So it’s essential that you take as much care of your resume as you would of any of your social media profiles, or how you dress for an interview. A personal brand isn’t created overnight, nor is fixed forever, it’ll evolve with you as you continue on your career journey.

Nail your summary
Just like your LinkedIn profile opens with an ‘About me’ section, your CV needs to start with a summary. This isn’t something you’ll get right on the first try, but it’s your personal brand statement. It’s the one place you can tell people what they can expect and what value you’ll bring to their organization. As companies spend time building out their mission statements, your summary is your personal mission statement. Who are you, and what makes you awesome? Why should the recruiter bother to read anything else?

Discover our exclusive tips for updating your LinkedIn profile too!

Back up your talk
The rest of your resume needs to showcase:

  1. That you’ve got the skills and education to do the job
  2. Your work experience
  3. The projects you’ve worked on

Always keep your resume current.
As you move from one project to the next, update your resume to reflect this. If you spend 5 years in a single job, you won’t remember every project you worked on, what your exact role was, and how you contributed to your previous companies’ success. By keeping your resume up-to-date, you won’t have to dig through your email archives to remember the details of a project you worked on 3 years ago.

While building a brand requires clear communication, the foundation remains action. Whatever you claim to be able to do, you have to be able to deliver. Just as you’ll avoid companies that promise but don’t deliver, recruiters will do the same.

Be authentic. Be yourself. And once you’ve established what you have to offer, organizations will recognize – and demand – your talent!

Watch the full-length Women Lift Women webinar “Your resume, your brand” here.

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