IF YOUR APPLICATION includes a resume objective statement, it’s time to update your materials. Savvy job seekers should ditch old-fashioned resume objectives in favor of a more modern, marketing-driven personal brand statement.

Why? Because when a hiring manager has received your resume, he or she is intelligent enough to know that your objective is to fill an open position. What he or she might not know is what sets you apart from all the other people who have the same objective.

Think about this analogy: Product marketing shows how one widget stands out from its competitors. It is all about differentiation, which might stem from a feature, color or function. Likewise, personal marketing and branding is all about showing what is unique about you and the value you bring.

It is fair to assume that all serious candidates for any given position will share common backgrounds. Your challenge, and the purpose of a resume, is to sell yourself by focusing on the facts of your individual history and attainments. There are likely lots of people who have had similar jobs and titles as you – but only you have your unique story to tell based on your career trajectory, the companies you’ve worked for and the challenges you’ve beat.

An effective resume will clearly explain what makes you a better fit than other job seekers. The best resume template for today’s job market includes a compelling personal brand statement right at the top. 

Replacing the Resume Objective

In the old days, candidates thought a lot about how to write an objective for a resume. A good objective for a resume used to look like this:

“Accomplished [insert your role] seeking a new opportunity at [insert the type of organization to which you are applying], where I can apply my passion for [insert topic] and my professional experience to gain job satisfaction and upward mobility.”

Previously, that introduction took the prime resume real estate right under your name and contact information. Today, reserve that spot for your personal brand statement. 

Crafting a Killer Brand Statement

A personal brand statement should be brief, no longer than four or five lines. Set it apart with a headline and italics and align it with the center of the page.

The text should provide details about why you’re different from your competition. Don’t waste space explaining why you want the job. Instead, demonstrate why you will bring more value to it than every other wannabe.

Successful personal brand statements:

  • Can the babble.
  • Use carefully selected keywords.
  • Show how you are the solution to an employer’s problem.
  • Present the facts.

Can the babble.

When you use stock phrases and business jargon like “results-oriented,” “go-getter,” “dependable” or “people-person,” you make yourself sound just like everyone else. Use this test to screen for tired language: Would anyone claim to be anything opposite of how you’re selling yourself? Who would fess up on their resume to being a lackadaisical, undependable human who doesn’t like other people?

Carefully select keywords and use them.

Tailor your resume to each position for which you are applying by carefully selecting keywordsfrom the target job ad and using them in your statement. This way, you will be seen as a match by applicant tracking systems and recruiters looking for these words on winning resumes. 

Back up your assertions in your resume.

Be sure that claims made in your brand statement are supported by the details you supply in points listed below each of your previous positions. It is often helpful to wait to write the brand statement until you finish the rest of the resume. Then you can select key elements to highlight at the top of the document.

Show how you are the solution to an employer’s problem.

Employers only hire people to fix problems. When something that needs to happen isn’t happening or isn’t happening the right way, companies post job ads. When you see a job description, read between the lines to figure out what is really going on. What is the overall purpose of the job? What problems will the new hire need to fix?

Use your brand statement to reference what you’ve gleaned. For example, if an employer is hiring a product manager to enhance its line of product offerings, and you have past success in this area, you might say something like: “I’m accustomed to stewarding new widgets to market on time and with record-breaking sales.”

Present the facts.

Use simple declarative sentences, like in these personal brand statement examples:

  • Reduced expenses by $X and Y percent over Z years.
  • Conceived and led new initiatives to do A, B and C.
  • Supervised a department of X employees.

When you present a compelling overview of who you are, how you differ from your competition and the value you bring with you, you are sure to gain the full attention of a hiring manager and earn his or her consideration for all the other information you present in your resume.

Happy hunting!

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