Personal branding has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. Basically it is all about being able to paint a picture of yourself in your summary/profile section or the ‘about me’ section of your resume.There is a very small window of opportunity that allows you to convey your personality to the prospective employer who is reading your resume. It is all about getting your human voice over and giving yourself a brand that identifies you as a balanced and well-rounded person. One that would be able to fit in well with the company office culture.
What not to put in my summary
You have to remember that the person reading this section of your resume doesn’t know you personally. They will not be able to accurately judge if what you say here about yourself is entirely true. Yes you want to make a good first impression. Being able to stand out from the other candidates applying for the same position. But you also want to take care that you don’t come across as overly boastful of try to make out that you are better that anyone else.
Many larger recruiters will be looking for someone that will become part of a team and will be able to fit comfortably in with and work in cooperation with an already established team. If you give off an impression that you will have a disruptive influence on others, refuse to work as part of a team or would somehow challenge the status quo, productivity and fluidity of the workplace then your resume may well be dismissed without a second thought.
Don’t be boastful or brag about your abilities if that is not really you or what you are about. If teamwork and working alongside others is what you are good at, then this is what you should be stating here.
What should I include in my summary?
Let’s say that you are applying for an opening within a company IT department. You will more than likely become part of a team of people with the same skills, so emphasizing that you get on well with people and have an ability to speak to people from all backgrounds will come across as a real positive.
This sort of role will involve you having to converse on a daily basis with company employees who have varying levels of understanding about computers and information technology, so having the ability to be friendly and approachable and to be able to explain what you do in layman’s terms will give you an edge over someone who chooses to fill this section with their technical skills and training.
Remember that this section is about who you as a person. Your summary/profile/about me section should never be used to compare yourself with anyone else, or for restating your technical skills that you will already have listed elsewhere in your resume.
You want your personality to shine through rather than to paint a picture of yourself as yet another company drone.
What else should I talk about?
Although you may be coming at this potential new job having had a similar background working for others, you want to be able to show that you are adaptable, innovative and willing to adopt their company practices.
Some companies have very strict guidelines that their employees must adhere to while working for them, but that doesn’t mean that every employer runs their business in exactly the same way. If you have spent a number of years doing things one way, you must be able to adapt to your new work setting and potential employers will be looking at your resume to see signs that you are willing to do this, or even take up any in-house training that is on offer to help you settle into your role easier.
It is all about what sort of mindset you have. If you are the sort of person that enjoys new challenges and likes to keep their energy moving forward, then mention this in your summary. You can brand yourself as a positive forward thinker that can work well as part of a team.
Technical skills and qualifications aside, you want to inject a bit of life into your resume. Many potential employers and hiring managers spend countless days sifting through resumes. What they will always look for, apart from the candidates skills that make them suitable for the job, is a resume that looks human.
When recruiters see a resume that looks and reads like there is a real living, breathing person behind it, they will be more attracted to it and you will be more likely to have your resume hit the interview pile. A resume that better reflects a person will show a recruiter that they care about their work and also their colleagues around them.
Practice makes perfect!
I know it may seem a little scary at first, but you have to give yourself permission to be your own person in your resume. Take the courage to step out of the box and practice crafting your resume over again in your spare time.
Print out or email samples to show your close family and friends and ask their opinions. Ask around your family acquaintances who run their own businesses to see if they like what you have written and can get a good picture of you and your work ethic from your resume.
Try out different styles of resumes to find one that better suits your personality while reflecting the industry that you are in. Freesumes can help you here. You can download our free resume templates to practice with as well as to use when applying for your dream job. Take a good look through our professionally crafted selection of different styles of templates and try out your favourite ones for size.