Don't Touch Your Resume Until You Do This First

Career Brand & Universal Resume

April 2020

Written by: Mike McElherne, Managing Director

Anyone who has been on one of my teams, or was a career coaching client of mine, has probably heard me say,

If you don't manage your career, someone will end up managing it for you.

What does that mean?

It means that we are responsible for making sure that we are building ourselves professionally to achieve what we want in life.  I remember being in mortgage banking in 2008; yes those were scary times, but when all the madness was happening around me, I focused on my career brand.  Your career brand is essential to understanding your career direction.  Simply stated...

Your career brand is a blend of who you are, and how you want to represent yourself professionally in the marketplace.

To start building your career brand, you must start with identifying the critical problems you solve for an organization. For example, if you are in sales, the critical problem that you solve for an organization is generating REVENUE.  Of course, we know that there is a broader range of activities you execute while in a sales role, than just focusing on generating revenue.  Because, let's be honest, if sales was that easy, all you would have to include on your resume is listing out your quarterly quotas, and how you surpassed those quotas. 

When you start understanding the critical problems you solve for an organization, you start developing your career brand.  Think about all the activities you do that support the critical problem you solve.  Many professionals start the resume writing process by listing all the activities that they do in their role. They miss capturing the actual critical problem they solve.  This creates an issue for the reader of the resume, because not every activity listed may not present value for the reader's organization or even for the role you're in.

Understanding and articulating the critical problems you solve first,  will help you develop what I call a universal resume.  A universal resume demonstrates that you have a very clear understanding of all the critical problems you solve in your job function and will attract more interview opportunities, as it will appeal to more potential employers. This writing style can also help greatly improve your interview skills, and that truly is the goal of the resume.  A great resume gets you the interview, BUT, a great interview gets you job offers.

In my next blog, I will discuss why the universal resume is so important to your interview skills.