If you’re like many people, you might consider self promotion just a tad…well, sleazy, and not something you want to do in the professional resume you’re planning to use for your next job search.
However, I’d like to suggest that if you view it that way, you take a moment to reconsider. What if self-promotion in your resume simply means that you make the effort to communicate a strong value proposition to your targeted employers? After all, if you don’t do that, how are they going to know? It doesn’t happen by osmosis!
Self Promotion in Your Resume…the Right Way
First, self-promotion doesn’t mean you stuff your resume with every superlative you can think of—for example: “brilliant, exceptionally innovative, world-leading executive.” Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit there, but I’m sure you can see what I’m driving at. Exactly what does that description tell potential employers about you that they really want and need to know?
And, of course, it’s an over-the-top, pat-myself-on-the-back description, which would communicate to employers that you think you’re someone who can save the world in five days. Unless you really are (and I’ve never yet met someone who was), you’ve just shot yourself in the foot with regard to your job search.
On the other hand, how would it be if you gave employers something substantial and verifiable to chew on?
Suppose you were a senior HR executive who did this: “Increased employee participation from 17% to 39% and overall response from 59% to 63% over previous year, while increasing participating locations from 10 to 58 divisions.”
You won’t find a single non-essential adjective in the above statement. Not one. But it says volumes about your ability to transform a situation and produce measurable results.
A Different View of Self Promotion
According to an article I read in Forbes, titled “Self-Promotion Is a Leadership Skill,” the purpose of self-promotion is “letting others know of your accomplishments and your value proposition” and telling them that you are “offering to help in ways that benefit the organization.”
The article was primarily talking about advancement within an organization, but the premise applies equally well to your professional resume and its use in a job search. You don’t need—and don’t want—to create a “see how wonderful I am” document that makes exaggerated statements and is more likely to send employers running the opposite direction than it is to generate interview opportunities.
Focus on the clear, substantiated value you can bring to the employer—proven because you’ve done it and done it very well, consistently over time. That kind of self-promotion in your resume is a GOOD idea!
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