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Critical Resume Question

2 September 2019

Does this sell me in the way I want to be bought?

This is the most critical question to ask about your résumé.

Does this sell me in the way I want to be bought?

Use this question to guide every element of your résumé.  When I say every, I mean every - your choice of headings, your content, your design, your spelling, your punctuation... everything.

If an element you have in your résumé fails to pass this test then don’t include it. For example if including your middle name doesn’t help to sell you in the way you want to be bought remove it.  Just because everyone else you know puts it in their résumé doesn’t make it right for you.

The critical question has two distinct elements.  The first is the element of selling.  At its core your résumé is a sales document.  It sells a product to potential buyers and that product is you. To know if an element you are putting into your résumé sells you put yourself in the mind of your potential reader.  Ask if what you are including will entice them to want to know more.  If the element won’t do this then think seriously if it needs to be included.  A simple example will illustrate this concept.  If your name is Charles, but your nickname is Charlie you need to decide which one to use.  If you want to sell yourself as reliable, dependable and careful then Charles is the obvious choice, and conversely if you want to sell yourself as creative, friendly and productive then Charlie might be the better choice.  As you can see the decision is contextual and dependent upon the role you are going for. Therefore your résumé is often re-crafted for each opportunity for which you put it forward. 

The second part of the critical question focuses on how you want to be bought.  The emphasis here is on you and how you want your career to develop. Maybe you have skills, knowledge or experience in an area that could be valuable in the role you are applying for, but in terms of your career development this is not something you wish to continue to develop.  For example you may have skills in people management, but through your ongoing career maintenance you have now decided you wish to focus on your technical skills rather than your people management skills.  In this case you need to make a decision if, and to what extent, you include your people management experience in your résumé.  Even if people management is not part of the role for which you are submitting your résumé in a subtle way you are holding out the promise of these skills to the employer.  Consequently you may be selling yourself in a way you don’t want to be bought. 

In essence the critical question helps you take a big picture look at your résumé in a way that helps you craft it into a document that does what you want it to do.

As always wishing you a flourishing career.


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