Brand Your CV to Get Noticed

I’ve been thinking about CV structure and what it means lately. There’s a lot of chatter out there about “branding” and it’s coming to your CV. Or at least, it should be if you want hiring managers to look at your CV to get the job.

Are you still putting the same old-school-obligatory objective after your name at the top of your CV? Something like “Objective: a management-level job in nuclear physics that will utilise my education and telescope skills.” It’s time to rewrite. I’m not asking you to make a change to be trendy with your CV. I think you need a branding statement to sell yourself in this market – this is a long-term way of thinking about it.

Think of it like this: for the amount of time you spend writing and rewriting your CV, it can be very disheartening to know that the time spent by hiring managers reading it is minimal.  Sorry to say it, but it’s true.  That is why you need to grab the reader’s attention immediately and compel them to want to continue.

The typical busy hiring manager looks at only about the top half of your CV’s first page before deciding to continue or round file it.  When you’re sitting in a pile of hundreds, you need to differentiate yourself while remaining credible – and FAST. A boring, trite old objective statement doesn’t really say much except that you read a book about CV formatting. It’s like the CV equivalent of “How are you?”  – everybody uses it because it’s formulaic – nobody expects to hear anything meaningful – so they don’t have their radar tuned in for it.

To show you the difference, let me give you two examples. One of a standard old objective statement and one of a new style branding statement:

BORING OLD OBJECTIVE:

Experienced technical communications professional seeks a position within an organization that will allow me to utilize my skills with the potential for growth.

ATTENTION-GRABBING BRANDING STATEMENT:

Award-winning technical author offering a unique combination of technical knowledge and communications skills. Proven ability to translate complex technical information effectively to non-technical audiences across a wide variety of subject matter areas. Full range of cutting-edge publications developed covering all areas of corporate technical communications.

Which one do you think is going to hold the reader’s attention? I hope you can clearly see the advantages the second one has to offer. It might not be your style. You might think it’s too over the top, but you have to realise that this is a marketing tool and you need to sell yourself to get that job. Especially in this market.