A resume tool to differentiate yourself in the job marketBy Rhona Bronson
In today's job market, job hunters need to appeal to as many hiring managers and recruiters as possible. The challenge in throwing a wide net is maintaining quality over quantity while also creating differentiation for a specific industry. My technique was the Resume Addendum.
I first created an addendum as a working document to build self-confidence and pride by reminding myself of my own relevant experiences long forgotten in industries outside of my key areas of expertise. When I started my search, there were not many jobs in my niche. Since not working was not an option, I had to borrow advice from fishing experts and learn how to prove appealing to the fish biting in other industries.
Find the Fish
One of the first rules of fishing is to fish where the fish are. During the early weeks of my job search, several jobs were posted by health associations. I had initial training in health care, and my first job was in a health care consulting company. Since that time, however, my career experiences were in anything but health care. In applying for health-related association jobs, what could I say that would position me as qualified?
It's hard to apply for any job if you lack self-confidence. I started a "Health Highlights" document one day to see for myself if I had enough experience to consider applying for health-related marketing posts at any level. The worksheet was not pretty, nor formatted, but once completed, it gave me confidence that I had something to offer.
I then attempted to revise my resume to be more health specific. But, an odd thing happened. My resume tinkering weakened my resume. Changes highlighted less important experiences, took too much time to write, and didn't present well. Precious time I wanted to devote to finding jobs was now being spent in altering a resume that was already strong. At that point, I made the decision to keep my resume intact and tinker instead with the highlights document to see if it could serve as a stand-alone document. It couldn't. But, with some formatting changes, it was a decent Addendum.
Test the Waters
I started formatting the document to match my resume much as I would an accompanying cover letter. I added color, changed fonts, and paid attention to presentation. Within a short time I had a document that I retitled my Resume Addendum.
It was a calculated risk when as I sent out my first application with three elements – a cover letter, resume, and my new addendum. When the first call came in for a phone interview, I thought the technique had merit. When a second call came for an interview with an entirely different company, I knew I had something of value.
No Two Addendums Are Alike
Unlike resumes, addendums have no set format. My addendum was text heavy and matched the look and feel of my resume, but instead of listing accomplishments, it highlighted clients and expertise. For instance, my stint as an entrepreneur at Plaza Communications appeared on the addendum (with clients edited for privacy here) as follows:
In contrast, my bulleted resume listed projects completed with results detailed in numbers and percentages.
If I were a designer, an addendum could be a sheet of thumbnail graphics projects. If I were a writer, an addendum might display headlines and lead lines of published articles. Some people have added Infographics. Every field is different and job applications should be as well. But if your resume isn't telling enough of your unique story, consider how you might use an addendum to tell more of unique story to your own advantage.