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How to Stand Out from the Crowd with your Marketing Resume

posted May 9, 2017, 6:10 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 11, 2017, 2:41 AM ]

Marketers are experts in selling goods and services to customers, however when the focus is turned in on themselves, they seem to lose their flare! This is where an outstanding resume can make all the difference in a hiring manager’s eyes, differentiating you from being yet another candidate - to a clear winner.

This can be achieved by taking on board the below tips and advice from hiring managers themselves and implementing them when creating your resume.

Download these free resume templates to get you started.  

How to Write an Impressive Marketing Resume

1) Know your target

Rule 101 in marketing; never start a marketing campaign before you know who you’re marketing to. The same rules apply when writing your resume. You are now the product/service and you’re selling yourself to a targeted group of recruiters.

Once you know what your target audience is looking for, you can shape your message accordingly. You need to keep the type of company and role you’re looking for at the forefront of your mind when writing your content.

Ask yourself questions like; will the job require both traditional and digital work? Will you be specialising in an area, or a generalist? What kind of culture is already created within the marketing team? Is it a large department or a small one looking to grow?

Once you’ve established the company’s primary goals and requirements the company is looking for from their employees, you can shape your resume to adhere to the same goals. This can be done by including a specific skill, keyword or an aspect of your past experience to your resume.   

2) What Makes You Unique

Everyone is different, each person has a unique skill set and characteristics to their personality; thus you need to play on your unique features to set you apart from other marketers.

Your value proposition will depend heavily on the type of positions and companies you’re applying to. For example, small business’ usually look for a very different employee than large business’ do. Once you’ve thought of the various aspects that make you valuable, you then align these attributes with the company's values.

3) Determine Your Messaging Strategy

Before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard; you need to determine your messaging strategy. Create a story, a theme and make yourself the main character.

Consider the below points:

  • What structure best showcases your value proposition?

  • What keywords are the company looking for?

  • Highlight real world examples of your marketing accomplishments (i.e. social media successes, unique ideas you’ve developed, various campaigns you’ve run).

  • Which layout and design best represents your message?

All these decisions need to be made with your target audience in mind, and before you begin your resume. You can therefore be assured that your resume will resonate with potential employers.

Take a look at an example of digital marketing executive resumes’ here, and take note of the progression of roles and accomplishments that tell a story and show improvement as the employer reads further into the resume; constructing the individual as extremely qualified and experienced.  

3) Showcase Your Resume

If you seem to lack connections in big corporations, you’ll most likely need to apply through a computer system. This is where things like the readability and format of your resume is crucial, i.e saving it as a PDF. This ensures no formatting mistakes are made, avoiding you looking lazy in the recruiter’s eyes, if the layout is out of whack.

Once your resume has been sent in, the computer will scan it for keywords that have previously been entered in by the recruiter and as a result, it will determine whether your resume passes or fails. If your resume does fail, don’t sweat as it doesn’t mean it’s completely disregarded; however it still isn’t a good look (first impressions do still carry weight!)

Keywords to include might be the names of the social media platforms you use, computing systems, analytics or CRM systems and software programs. These keywords need to be integrated throughout your resume, ensuring they don’t stand out by not flowing with the rest of your content.

Hiring Managers Are Looking For These 9 Components In Your Resume

While the internet and various computer systems might be taking over our many aspects of our lives, at the end of the day it is a human being who will be deciding on your resume. Therefore, they can be won over by identifying aspects they can relate to, such as the university you went to, or perhaps become completely annoyed by your paragraph-long descriptions (or drool, one might say). Therefore, how your resume is presented carries significant weight.

While it may seem we use computer systems for everything these days, the story is a little different when it comes to resumes. The final decision will be made by a human being, meaning you have the advantage of being able to identify with them. You can do this by mentioning the university you went to or shared hobbies. However, you also run the risk of playing on their bad side by overlooking simple grammatical errors, or long paragraphs of info that could be mistaken for your dissertation.

To make ensure you’re aware of the specific areas employers tend to focus on, take a look at some tips hiring experts themselves have shared.

1) Length

6 seconds is all it takes for a potential employer to decide whether they like your resume or not. Therefore, it’s beneficial to you if you can keep your resume down to one page. In some cases, continuing onto a second page is acceptable if you’re showing relevant experience. If a recruiter wants to find out more information about you, they can always check out your LinkedIn profile (so be sure to keep your profile updated and comprehensive! Remember, your profile is your brand.)

2) Formatting

I like to think of formatting as a representation of how you make sense of your thoughts and ideas. As HubSpot's VP of Training and Development Andrew Quinn explains it, “A candidate’s resume is their ad to me. How are they structuring this ad so I get a clear picture of what they’re capable of?”

There is a fine line through, if you get too creative, it can become messy and too complicated for a hiring manager to even have enough strength to try and make sense of it. Your level of creativity can work both in your favour, or against you. Every hiring manager that has suggested the advice included in this article, has stated not to create infographic resumes. They’re hard to follow and understand, and therefore making unnecessary work for the reader.

Top tip; everyone appreciates a simple and clear resume that provides them with the necessary information for the position.

Be sure to look at the different layouts in the downloadable resume templates to get an idea of how people design their resumes to fit to their desired job role.

3) Quality of Writing

A capital letter and full stop goes a long way. Your resume will be thrown out if there are spelling mistakes, but writing in a skillful and meaningful way can be a significant differentiator between the person who is hired and the one who isn’t.

Being able to write well, in a concise and understandable manner is a crucial skill to have for any position. Are your accomplishments clearly conveyed, have you overstuffed your content with keywords, or are you making the mistake of mixing up your past/present tenses?

Everyone knows that formatting, spelling, syntax and structure are all components that represent your level of attention to detail. Therefore, asking someone to proofread your resume could highlight mistakes you might’ve over-seen.

4) Location

Don’t be secretive about your address. Hiring managers want to know where you live for commuting purposes, as the accessibility of an employee to their office space is an influential factor when choosing who to hire. If you do need to re-locate for the position, you should still include your current address and just be prepared to answer questions on the possibility of re-location. (Keeping in mind packages of whether the company will financially support this move, or whether you will have to do it yourself.)

5) The Question of Education

We’re all very conscious and aware of the weight university and school names carry, however there has always been the question of which carries greater influence; the degree or the institution?

More often than not, your degree is the more relevant out of the two when you are being considered for a role. Keep in mind, this isn’t to say that someone who has studied marketing is only eligible for marketing roles. Hiring managers are more interested in what you’ve studied within you degrees, or what you’re capable as a person and can utilize this skill set for the specific position.

The level of success you had with your degree also influences a hiring manager's choice. For example, someone who receives high distinctions for all their work at a community college could be more appealing than someone who fails majority of their subjects at a top university.

Whether to include your A-levels mark on your resume is also up for debate. If you’ve done well in school and graduated with a high A-level mark then it is recommended to include it on your resume. However, if you didn’t graduate with a good mark, but have had good experience at well-respected jobs, then it would be in your best interest to omit it.

After 3-5 years you can move your education history to the bottom of your resume, as hiring managers become more focused on your past job history than your school marks.

6) Companies and Position Titles

Companies will look at your past career history, looking to identify with companies in their own industry, or possibly in direct competition with them. They will also look at your previous job titles, to draw any similarities with the position you’re currently applying for. Many people will tweak their previous titles to fit more with what they’re searching for, for example; Clerk for a High School to Customer Service Clerk.

Forewarning, don’t ‘tweak’ your previous job titles too dramatically, as potential employers could call for a reference and discover the vast difference in the role you claimed to have had. LinkedIn is also another great point of contact, so ensure you’re consistent across all platforms.

7) The Importance of the Bullet Point

Each position you have had should be accompanied by no more than 5-6 bullet points. Hiring managers have many resumes to go through and therefore are probably only scanning each one. Keep yours concise and clear, avoiding chunky paragraphs at all costs.

Luckily, in the marketing industry, everything can be analysed and measured and therefore your successes can be easily showcased in info-packed bullet points. Focus on your accomplishments first, before you list your responsibilities and duties.

Be sure to include goals and metrics that hiring managers can use to compare you to other candidates. These need to make sense, even to your parents. Examples could include; increasing social media engagement, improving ROI, reducing bounce rates, boosting landing page conversions, etc. Once you’ve decided on your top achievements, turn them into bullet points such as:

  • Drove 37% improvements in newsletter click-through rates by re-writing sales copy

  • Grew e-commerce sales by 23% in just 6 months by redesigning and A/B testing all landing pages

8) Dates of Employment

Red flags on your resume consist of large gaps in employment, or job hopping. These gaps could be interpreted to represent commitment issues to a position, unable to work well with others or a person who creates a hostile working environment. Staying at a job for at least a year, or for 2 years, is recommended.

If you were unemployed for longer than 6 months, it’s recommended you include a short sentence explaining why this was; as hiring managers will look to see if you did something productive with your time. (i.e. “Travelling abroad”, or “Took time off for family reasons”).

9) Interests and Hobbies

Including this personal aspect of a resume can be beneficial according to the type of job you’re applying for. For creative roles, listing your interest in painting, or photography could be interesting to an employer and provide a more rounded and comprehensive image of yourself. Whereas, if you’re applying for an accounting role for example, this information is rather irrelevant.

Keep in mind the conclusions that could be drawn from your listed interests and hobbies. Quinn advises, "Do they enhance or detract from the image you’re trying to convey?”

If you know the company you’re interested in is attracted to people with an interesting background and culture to add, then this section of your resume could enhance your application, However, if you’re applying to a more conservative company, it could jeopardise your chances, as they could interpret your hobbies/interests as distractions or view them as ill-suited to the company’s culture.

Check out HubSpot's culture code to gain an insight into the culture of the company you’re interested in.

Aspects of lesser importance…

But still need to be considered!

1) Personal Statements/Objectives

These you could skip all together. They’re quite irrelevant and provide a great space for serious mistakes to be made.

You could instead replace this section with ‘Skills’ or ‘Key Skills’ at the top of your resume. These need to be relevant to the company / job position you’re applying to and should be changed accordingly.

Don’t plagiarize the job description in your skills. For example, if the company is looking for someone who has a ‘deep understanding of the consumer lifestyle’, you can’t simply re-write this on your resume. Instead write, ‘Comprehensive knowledge of the consumer lifestyle’.

Although you should leave the ‘Summary’ section off your resume, you should include it in your LinkedIn profile. This section needs to be focused on your specific skills and achievements, and also provides a good opportunity to link to your portfolio, blog, or any work you’ve created. Talk about specific achievements from previous roles, awards you’ve won, or projects you’ve worked on. Everything in this section needs to be targeted at your future career, not your irrelevant past skills.

2) Cover Letters

Cover letters are extremely subject to the industry, or the company you’re applying to. Some companies find them completely irrelevant and instead focus on similar questions in the interview; however others will require one, but will still focus mainly on the resume itself.

Be sure to include important aspects (i.e. explanation for gaps in employment) in your resume, rather than relying on the cover letter that may or may not be read. Transfer the hours spent on perfecting your cover letter, to perfecting the resume as this is the fundamental piece of it all.

Think Like A Marketer

Utilize your talent of communication and understanding of people’s behaviours to best critique and form your resume. By applying this knowledge and angle to your resume, it will surely make you stand out from the crowd.

Happy job searching!