Writing a resume career profile
Tips for hooking reader's attention!

Why is having a career profile statement in your resume so important to the success of your job search?

The answer is pretty simple. Unless this initial piece of information in your resume hooks the reader's attention there is every chance your job application will be overlooked.

Think about the reading of your resume from an employer/recruiter perspective:

  • They may 100s of resumes to consider for a single position
  • They want to know what is so special about you - right away!!
  • Unless your profile hooks their attention and interest they aren't likely to take the rest of your resume very seriously

So how can you hook the reader's attention?

The very first thing you can do is to use the "Career Profile" heading at the top of your resume.

Why does this work so well?

There are two reasons:

  • Because this is at the top of your resume, it is going to be the first thing they read - literally!
  • The heading itself draws attention. The title "Profile" implies that what is written underneath it will a snapshot about you professionally.

Resume Writing Tips

Which is the correct heading to use for writing your profile?

It doesn't really matter. Any of the following headings will help attract the reader's attention:

  • Career Profile
  • Professional Profile
  • Career Summary
  • Overview
  • Or..... just simply Profile

While the heading you isn't important....what you write under the heading is!.

Career Profile = Your personal brand

The term "personal brand" is now commonly used in job search circles and in job search coaching.

The concept of "brand" is borrowed from professional marketers of products and services.

It refers to a name, sign, symbol, slogan, or anything that is used to identify any product, service or business. And, as you will realise by now....the process of job search is all about self marketing.... so the use of branding concepts in job search is quite relevant.

Personal branding in relation to job search really refers to self packaging or self positioning - it's about creating an indelible impression in the employment market place.

It's a means for you to differentiate from other professionals (or brands) in the market place when you are actively job seeking.

When you are writing your resume professional profile, you are basically describing a version of your personal brand.

How to write your career profile

Even for experienced resume writers putting together a career profile statement takes some work and experimentation.

The easiest way to get started is to brainstorm some of the resume key words that you want to include in your statement.

Play around with ideas first, then work on your grammar and descriptions.

Your aim is to produce a professional resume profile that makes lively, engaging reading about you - something that will make a real impact on whoever reads your profile.

Oh.....by the way, it also needs to be tailored to the selection criteria for the position and also be relevant to the employing organisation.

Use a worksheet

Get some blank paper and use the following headings to help you to really explore all the elements of your personal brand:

  • Your personality - write down at least three words which best describe your personality. For example outgoing, confident, pragmatic, energetic, proactive. Download this page "Personal Style Inventory Worksheet which will help you to identify some terms to describe your personality. If you have done a comprehensive personality assessment, use the results from that to get your key words.
  • Describe your specialisation/s in a word or two - this is not necessarily the same as your existing job title. For example your job title might be Group Training Manager, but your area of functional expertise or specialisation could be described as being a corporate training and development specialist. Why the difference? Job titles tend to mean something within the organisation where you are employed, but can often be meaningless in the employment market place.
  • Summarise the scope, breadth and depth of your experience; the geographic area/s that you have previously or presently work in
  • Elaborate on the level of responsibility you've held in your career - size of the team/s you lead, your level in the hierarchy, size of budget
  • Your strengths - what are your most employable strengths? Write down at least 6 of your key strengths.
  • Briefly summarise your career path - where did you start, where did you go next and so on
  • Make notes about what are you famous for so far in your career - what are your most significant achievements or contributions?

Sell the benefit of employing you

The final heading on your worksheet relates to describing the potential contribution you can make.

Seriously consider:

  • What contribution/s are you capable of making?
  • How do you consider your strengths and other personal attributes will enable you to make a contribution to a future employer?

Describing the contribution you can make is pointing out to the reader the benefit to them of employing you.

It shows that you are focused on their needs and problems and are keen to be a part of the solution.

What sort of contributions do employers want?

Depending on what type of work you do, and the organisations you are targeting in your job search think about some of the common need areas in organisations and your ability to influence these types of outcomes:

  • Developing or increasing sales or market share
  • Developing or increasing customer or client satisfaction
  • Developing or improving reputation or image
  • Delivering exceptional service
  • Improving quality or safety standards
  • Improving profitability
  • Improving efficiency or productivity
  • Consistently meeting deadlines, or working within budgets

Putting your career profile together

Now that you've done some serious reflection and examination of your past career you are ready to summarise this in a professional career profile statement.

There are many ways of constructing your career or professional profile. The most common options are :

(Click on the links below to jump ahead to section that are most interesting to you)

A narrative

Here are some examples of career profile narratives:

Example 1

Charismatic, energetic and results focused with extensive general management experience in a diverse range of fields including tour wholesaling, the conventions industry and the hospitality sector.

Adept at developing people, managing and maintaining strong client relationships, and sourcing sustainable and profitable new business.

Example 2

Highly organised and dedicated management professional with extensive background in client service and administration. Achieves service excellence by focusing the team on getting the little things right. Also excels in documenting work flows and developing user friendly operations manuals for the purposes of training staff and to assist in implementation of quality controls and continuous improvement initiatives.

While strongly task focused is also known as a people person. Has a highly engaging interpersonal style which enables the development of excellent working relationships with the team, and with both internal and external clients.

Introductory narrative with bullet points

Example 1

Public relations professional with over 10 years experience in the not for profit and community welfare sectors. Has a demonstrated track record of success in relation to:

  • Developing and maintaining excellent relationships with print and electronic media.
  • Business development and fundraising.
  • Image development and brand repositioning.

Example 2

Specialist project manager in the Information and Communications Technology field. Significant experience in managing project teams in large scale government IT development projects. Areas of strength include:

  • The ability to consistently deliver projects on time and within budget.
  • Solid grasp of all aspects of process in relation to systems analysis and design.
  • Outstanding people management skills.
  • Has particular expertise in CRM, finance and logistics applications.

List of bullet points with accompanying narrative

Example 1

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills - Is highly adept in situations where social mobility is required.
  • Confident, poised and politically astute -  Able to effectively negotiate and deal with politicians, senior public servants and a range of other public officials.
  • Well developed written communication skills - Has produced work for a variety of audiences including public and private sector clients, the higher education sector and academia, management and consumers.

Concise list of bullet points alone

Example 1

  • Exceptional planning and organisational skills.
  • Well developed interpersonal and written communication skills.
  • Enjoys working either independently or in team situations.

Resume Writing Tips

In terms of overall impact, the bullet points with narrative, and bullet points alone styles don't have as much punch as the other two options.

This style of profiling is more applicable to people who are early in their career and where their experience is a bit on the skimpy side.

The narrative, or narrative with supporting bullet points styles tend to more strongly sell managers and professionals with a few runs on the board.

You can no doubt see that this format of career profile enables you to elaborate in more detail on the breadth and depth of your experience.

Your Career Profile - Summary

Your career profile statement is perhaps one of the most important parts of your resume. It will be the first piece of information that you will be giving to the reader about you.

Be prepared therefore to spend the time to experiment and re-work your profile until the language you use leaps off the page at the reader!

Your profile is that important!

Other resume writing tips

Check out these links for other really useful resume writing hints and tips

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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