What I Learned from Reading 1000 Marketing Resumes

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What I Learned from Reading 1000 Marketing Resumes

Chiropractors can’t do their own adjustments. Doctors can’t make their own diagnoses.  Marketers can’t market themselves. Wait, what? That’s right. Every day, brilliant marketers construct strong branding platforms for their products, yet when they try to market themselves, they fumble the ball. It’s like all the excitement and joy that goes into personal branding was  thrown out the window in favor of a technical spec sheet (have you ever had a *single* page of text put you to sleep? I have).Marketing and strategy

Today, I’m going to give you five secrets to making HR professionals fall in love with you.


Secret # 1.  Don’t Use Flash. Do Use Substance.

Let’s go back to our high school and college days for a minute. Don’t worry, we won’t be there for long. Remember when you were trying to fudge for space on that three page paper and you had maybe two-and-a-quarter pages worth of content? Instead of taking the time to do that extra research, you might have simply enlarged the font size in the hopes that the teacher or professor wouldn’t notice. Well…your teacher noticed.

If you’ve decided to use formatting trickery on your resume to overplay your skills, the HR professional reading this will know. Instead, use accomplishments and think about the value you will be offering your new company. If you can use it in a classy and clean way, spice up your resume with color. Color attracts people’s attention – wanted attention that helps people remember you.


Secret # 2.  Don’t Be Boring. Do Use Humor. 

Superman has pajamas with your logo on them. When you meet the Pope, he kisses your ring. You once won a staring contest with your own reflection. You are the most interesting person in the world. You are the unexpected. You are the employee that will change the world, vanquish your competitors, and still have time left to pick up a nourishing lunch for ALL 50 of your coworkers.

What gets the callback? It’s definitely not something that puts your HR person to sleep. Humor, when used right, is unexpected, charming, and sticks in your HR person’s mind. What is the most creative way to describe your current position? Be definitive, defiant, and the most interesting person in the world.


Secret # 3.  Don’t Talk About Job Duties. Do Use Bullet Points.

When was the last time that you read your employee manual? I mean, seriously. Cover to cover.  If you’re like most people, you might have given it a passing glance at the beginning of your employment, and now it’s taking up residence in THAT drawer. Yes, the drawer of ‘stuff you’ve got to keep but will never look at’ – better known as the company junk drawer. That manual has job descriptions in it. Do you want to get put in the company junk drawer?

Instead, brush off your accomplishments and buff them up into shiny bullet points. Use them sparingly, between three and five per job, and you’ll fire it through your recruiter’s heart like cupid’s arrow. Here’s an example:

  • Led TechiesRUs’s search engine marketing strategies, resulting in a 300% increase in leads, $2 million in revenue, and maximized flash memory production and sales.


Secret # 4.  Don’t Blather. Do Be Laser Focused.

You’ve seen those awards shows where the winner goes on forever thanking their mother, their father, their dog, their director in third grade… to the point where they have to use the bumper music to rush them off the stage. When you blather, that’s exactly what happens in the recruiter’s mind. They want to hear that you’re thanking the Academy, but honestly, they could care less about your third grade teacher.

Open your resume with a laser-focused purpose statement. Take the time to devise a short and sweet statement that sums up why they should hire you to work at AwesomeCo. You landed the biggest contract ever with a vendor, you make things happen, you cause the heavens to open up and rain fall from the sky. Don’t exaggerate in the process, but be confident.


Secret # 5.  Don’t Focus on Features. Do Focus on

Instead of the latest widget or bauble, YOU are the product that you’re selling. It’s time to turn that incredible gift that you have for turning anything into a benefit to your advantage. Telling someone your features (I’ve been in marketing for 5 years, I won Best in Show at the Annual Westminster Marketing Show, Etc.) does nothing to stir up the imagination of the person who has been tasked with hiring you.

You have to read between the lines to figure out what a recruiter is really looking for, but once you are able to speak to that, you’ve got the keys to the kingdom. The recruiter is your customer, and you are the product. Benefits, not features.

By using these five ways to win over your HR professional’s heart, you pave the way for better job opportunities, get closer to living the dreams that you’ve had since you were little, and run the risk of becoming deliriously happy at what you do for 40 hours a week. What’s the recipe to a dynamite resume? Mix a little humor, pepper it with a lot of accomplishments, and throw in a heaping helping of ‘how can I make you look good?’ and you’ll be the next starter for your company of choice.

By | 2017-07-05T18:58:40+00:00 April 3rd, 2015|Resume Writing|2 Comments

About the Author:

I'm a professional resume writer, recruiter, and job search guru who works with clients from every walk of life - CEO to software engineer, advertising executive, teacher, mechanic, doctor or even mortician (true story). My specialty is crafting individualized documents, telling my clients' stories - and making them shine.


  1. Tracy Diziere April 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Your first paragraph drew me in . . . So true! I love the way you used humor throughout the post as well. You are quite the wordsmith and your clients are lucky to have you.

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