Future State Chief Solutions Officer Leila Lance reviews thousands of resumes each year as she seeks people with talent and skills for the firm and its clients.
And she’s seen it all when sifting through those resumes—everything from inappropriate personal emails (hello, firstname.lastname@example.org) to distracting formats and extraneous information.
“Everything you do from the moment you apply either supports your brand or destroys it,” she says.
To ensure that you stand out from the crowd and best present yourself and your skills, Leila shares these five tips to build a resume that will get you noticed.
Who are you and what is your brand? Provide a big brand statement. If it says what everyone else says and it’s just capabilities, it’s not memorable.
Share your bio early. I need to know something unique about how you approach your work and who you are as an individual. Ask yourself why have people told you they hire you or take you on to projects. What’s that special sauce—your superpower? Why do people pull you into things? Why are you unique?
Give me a tagline that summarizes you—how you approach things and what you value, so I can remember you. That helps me get a sense of who you are and whether you’re a fit for this culture. You only have one chance to engage me.
One candidate put, “I make sense out of crazy.” I need that! Our clients need that.
Everything is about storytelling now. Make yourself interesting and memorable. What’s your story? Every position incorporates some form of sales—can you sell me on your own story?
People tell brilliant stories on paper, and I want those things to line up. Just don’t tell me what you do; give me stories about what value you delivered, how you did it, what was the result.
List your core competencies. I want to know what you produce and how you do it. Do I want to know you’re great at integrative process mapping? Yes. Getting sponsors aligned on a clear direction? Yes. The how and what both matter.
Never give me a one-page resume, because you only have one shot. Give me two pages. If it’s more than that, you better have something very interesting to say.
Put nothing in your resume that distracts from your brand. I will naturally focus on the discrepancy. Everything after the first brand statement needs to reinforce it.
If I’ve looked at your resume, I’ve looked at your LinkedIn profile. If they don’t align it’s the first conversation we’re going to have—again, focusing on the discrepancy. They should link up. Looking at both of those things, I’m looking for three things: Do I know who this person is? Is there a through line? And do I believe it?
Top line of this is it’s a branding document. Your profile should win me from the beginning, and your capabilities should support the overall brand.