The key lesson from advertising copywriting that can get your resume noticed

Not a marketer? If you are looking for a job, you are now. So, if you want your job application to stand out to hiring managers, you should try applying the most important rule in ad copywriting to your resume.

We’ve pointed out before that your resume is a marketing document. It is a brochure that needs to sell your candidacy for a specific position. That is why you need to tailor your application for every job you apply to with the needs of that employer in mind.

In this marketing scenario – you are the seller. You are selling your services. The buyer is the employer. You need to market the skills you are selling to their specific needs. How does what you have to offer benefit them?

Starting your application with something like, “I am detail-oriented, passionate, self-starter…” doesn’t speak to the employer’s needs. That’s all about you. Self-descriptions like these are used in so many resumes that they don’t serve to differentiate candidates anymore. In fact, they do the opposite by making the job seeker appear to be templated and generic.

Stop trying to describe yourself. The most important rule in ad copywriting is to start with the audience, the customer, in mind, not the product.

Understand the needs of your audience

Since marketing writing starts with the customer, do your homework. Research the company and the industry. What would benefit your audience? Employers are hiring because they need something done. Understanding what challenge the employer is trying to solve will help you market yourself as the right candidate to fill that role.

Understand what you are selling

Think about the things you have achieved in the past that have made you stand out on the job. Then write these down as they relate to the job you’re applying for, closely matching the language used in the job description.

Your underlying key message: Here’s what I have previously accomplished and therefore I can deliver comparable results for you. You are marketing your ability to excel on the job above and beyond what other applicants might be able to achieve.

You can do this most persuasively by using numbers. Instead of stating that you are passionate and detail-oriented, demonstrate those traits with real-world results. For example, rather than saying:

“Refreshed website content regularly to maximize traffic conversions.”

Try something more like:

“Launched a new web content optimization strategy that resulted in a 155 per cent increased click-through rate and an over 200 per cent rise in page views. This more than doubled advertising revenue across all product channels.”

Numbers will always impress more than adjectives.

Begin your brochure with the headline

It starts at the top. The title of your resume should be the same as the title of the job you are applying to. This way the first thing that employers read is that your application closely matches what they are looking for.

Then, instead of kicking off your resume – as many people do – with an ‘objective statement’ about what you are looking for in a job, open with a summary of your key qualifications for the specific job and employer you’re targeting. Again, don’t start your resume by writing about the product (you), start by writing for the needs and benefits of your buyers (employers).

Then describe your education, experience, and accomplishment in a way that showcases how what you’ve done demonstrates what you can do for them.

Write your resume with your audience’s needs in mind. That’s how you market yourself and stand out from the crowd of detail-oriented, passionate, self-starters.

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