Promoting YOU: Avoid a Weak Resume by Knowing Your Own Strengths

Your resume is a snapshot of you and your abilities, and having a resume that is “WOW!” versus “Owww…” will depend on how well you have highlighted your strengths to capture the attention of the reader.

Did you know that most recruiters will feed the electronic version of your resume into a system that is pre-programmed to filter (that is “search and capture”) key words the hiring line of business or organization is looking for among candidates?  This is why it is critical for you to have your strengths captured at the top of your resume, immediately under the “Executive Summary” section which was covered in our previous blog.

Now, I can hear some of you saying, “But Tonya, I am too humble or too uncomfortable to talk about my strengths and am not sure what they are anyway.”

Let me help you remove the self-imposed pressure of hating to self-promote by focusing upon what’s great about you (we will address this elephant in the room in a later blog):

Simply ask five professional acquaintances you have done work alongside to identify your top two strengths.  That’s it.  Voilá! You will end up with a beautiful list of at least five unique descriptions of your abilities and even up to ten, all of which you did not have to work to uncover by yourself.

Why should you to the trouble of doing this exercise?  As I teach my Promoting U! program participants, this exercise provides the following value:

  • It takes the mental stress from you in coming up with a list and puts it into the hands of a third party.
  • It gives you a clear picture of how others see you, which equals part of your professional brand.
  • You will get either repeat descriptions or similar words that mean the same thing.  This is great because it tells you that description is a highly visible and known strength that stands out.
  • Your peers will describe your strengths with words that are different and more descriptive than you might use.  Take for example the word “volunteerism” that I would have used as one of my strengths.  One of my peers came back with “community-minded” which sounds much more impactful, far-reaching and inclusive.  So “community-minded” went on my resume and is part of my lingo when verbally describing my strengths to others.

Do you have other fun or unique ways of coming up with your strengths? We would love for you to share with us.

Coming up next:  Promoting YOU:  Using Your Strengths to Build a Powerful Resume

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