Meeting Jobs.Com Magazine: Resume as a Foundation for Your Job Search Portfolio

The following article I wrote was published in Dawn Penfold’s Meeting Jobs.Com Magazine: Network Opportunities Spring 2015 Issue!

The foundation for your Career Communications/Job Search Portfolio is your resume. It is the primary building block for all your marketing collateral (cover letter, LinkedIn profile and digital resume) showcasing your personal brand, value and accomplishments . Without a strong foundation it’s impossible to build a well-rounded portfolio.

Think of your resume as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job, not as a comprehensive list of your career history.

Changes in career communications, job search procedures and advancement in technology during the past several years have kept resume writers and career coaches busy providing clients with the most up-to-date services available.

As a member of Career Thought Leaders Consortium, a think tank for those in the Career Communications industry, I am privy to their annual Global Brainstorming White Paper. Here is some of the latest information :

Resumes must be branded and consistent messaging applied across all job search messages and materials (LinkedIn and other social media channels, cover letter, e-note, bio).

Branding statements deliver a value-add message. These values-based mission statements are short (a dozen words or less) and are popular in Europe as well as the US.

Resume writing is storytelling. Powerful resumes “connect the dots” for readers and may include testimonials or other unique information that supports the job seeker’s personal brand.

Resume content continues to tighten. It must be short and snappy – and constructed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind through the smart and strategic use of keywords.

Effective use of keywords remains essential.


Make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. Take the time to analyze the position listing to understand what the company is looking for. Underline or highlight key words and phrases that you should include in your document.

Don’t include an objective statement at the top of your resume. It’s dated, it takes up valuable space, and—as long as you’re tailoring the rest of your resume to fit the position—it’s unnecessary.

The resume is a flexible document.

Let me repeat that: The resume is a flexible document. There are dozens of different types of resumes, but the reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) is still your best bet. I often write a combination of reverse chronological along with a skills-based document.

For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand.

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying.

No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than 6-7 bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

Quantify your accomplishments. Use as many facts and figures as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? This allows the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve this accomplishment.

Then, take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.


A new challenge is creating a resume to make sure it gets through the “black hole,” better known as the Applicant Tracking System or ATS, used by companies to manage the entire recruitment process from reviewing resumes and applications, screening and testing potential candidates to onboarding new hires. The latest figures indicate that 95% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS program while 50% of mid-level companies use it.

75% of resumes submitted online are thrown out because they don’t follow ATS format criteria. Your resume writer should be able to create an ATS-Optimized resume. This is the resume that is submitted to apply for a position online.

NOW that you have a strong resume, you’re ready to prepare a digital resume with graphics, charts, photos and logos. This document can be placed on your website and LinkedIn profile. It can be taken to an interview to leave behind or edited as a bio to bring to a networking event.

“As an employer, I want to know what a candidate will do to bring profit to my business and peace of mind to me. It’s that simple. I don’t want to infer or guess.”


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