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Cover letter, PERSONAL BRAND, Resume

You brand yourself even if you don’t try to brand yourself. Is it true?

If you’re searching for a job, your resume is your personal brand, like it or not.

I’ve talked to candidates who have refused to brand themselves – They felt branding was for products, not people.

While I can appreciate that candidates don’t like the idea of marketing themselves like a cheeseburger or insurance policy, you brand yourself even if you don’t try to brand yourself.

… Let me repeat, You brand yourself even if you don’t try to brand yourself

So whether you try to or not, whether you like it or not, even if you refuse to brand yourself, you still brand yourself. You can’t help it.

While social media can certainly influence your personal brand, if you’re a job seeker, the way most job seekers use social media, it’s usually social proof of the brand on your resume. Or worst case, the way a few unfortunate candidates use social media, it conflicts with your resume’s personal branding … causing job search frustration.

Here are 3 reasons your resume brands you, whether you manage your personal brand or not

  1. Your resume creates your first impression: If you’re a job seeker, your resume creates your first impression. Even if a recruiter/employer finds you by searching social media, what they really want to see is your resume – that’s what forms their first impression. Social media profiles don’t get searched by applicant tracking systems and aren’t the first thing hiring managers read … but your resume is.
  2. First 4 – 6 seconds: TheLadders.com published recent research based on heat map studies on resumes, to show where human eyes land and where readers spend their time while reading your resume. This study demonstrated that in the first 4 -6 seconds, the average resume reader makes a snap decision whether to continue reading, or if your resume is an immediate discard. Your reader makes an immediate decision based on how you’ve branded yourself – not based on your experience, your skills, or what a wonderful person you are.
  3. First 15 Seconds: It’s common knowledge among recruiters and HR people that the average time spent on your resume to decide if you get an interview, or the reject pile, is 15 seconds. 15 seconds isn’t enough time to read your whole resume. 15 seconds is enough time to skim the one document on your readers’ screen – not the whole document, just the portion on their screen. How closely you brand yourself to what your readers are individually looking for determines if they’ll press page down, spending more than 15 seconds and reading more than just the top half of your first page.




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