Marketing Talent Agency: Do’s and Don’ts for Resume Writing 101

Marketing Talent Agency: Do’s and Don’ts for Resume Writing 101

The speed of change in marketing combined with today’s candidate-driven job market creates a recipe where companies are in a battle for top-quality talent.

Fortunately for you, the current market is very candidate-driven. With that said the traditional tool of finding a new job, the resume is still vitally important. Today, marketers must show a proven track record of success on their resumes to compete for the best opportunities. As a marketing talent agency, we noticed many marketers (even seasoned marketing executives) often make simple resume mistakes that can cost them an opportunity to be considered for a new role.

Resume building is an extremely important skill for every marketer regardless of seniority and experience level. As a marketer, it’s expected you know how to market yourself well, which starts with a well-written resume. As recruiters, we understand the challenge of finding time to work on your resume to only be frustrated when it seems to have disappeared into the internet after submitting it online. However, following these simple resume writing tips will help your resume get seen and pushed to the top of any applicant tracking software.

Video Discussion: Top Resume Mistakes Marketers Make (And How to Fix Them)

Marketing Talent Agency’s Top Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Don’t format your resume in PDF

Corporate HR departments shift through hundreds of resumes daily to find qualified talent. 

The reality is that they aren’t going to read every resume that comes across their desk. HR departments are required to put the resumes into an applicant tracking software (ATS) system, which will open you up for current and future opportunities with them.

Because many of these tracking applications and corporate offices run on Microsoft Office, it’s best to format your resume in a  Microsoft Word document, rather than PDF. So, as future opportunities come up in that organization, the ATS can crawl and search your resume for your skills and experience. The downside of formatting your resume into a PDF is that most software tools cannot search the content of your resume

Do make your resume chronological, not functional

The most common mistake we see marketers do is structure their resume functionally instead of chronologically. By definition, your resume is an explanation of your work history. To be able to get a good picture of your work history, we need to understand your job transitions, where you got promoted, and what you accomplished as a marketer. To logically understand your career growth, we need to see your resume in a chronological format.

Additionally, each past position must list how long you stayed with the organization in years and months. By excluding months on your resume, we are led to believe you are trying to hide something. How long you stayed somewhere and why you left will come out in the interview process. You might as well be transparent on your resume.   

Similarly, the same format should also apply to your LinkedIn profile. Think about it from the employers’ point of view, if they find your resume and LinkedIn profile do not match any discrepancy raises a red flag, and the question becomes, is the candidate trying to hide something.

Ultimately, your resume is a legal document, which means if your employer finds out you lied about something on your resume, that cause for termination. On the other hand, your Linkedin account isn’t a legal document–it’s an online profile. However, generally, we are seeing more organizations comparing the two together to make sure they align and match your work history.

Do show a successful track record

As a marketing talent agency, one of the first things we look at on your resume is your current job position. Then, we determine if the new role we are working on is a logical transition from your recent work experience. 

If we do determine you’re a good fit, then we examine your track record from your current position back to college. It’s not enough to list out your responsibilities. Top candidates also list out quantifiable results that they garner and achieved from each past position. If you can’t give out exact results because, for example, the company is private, then find a way to communicate how you achieved your KPIs with percentages such as in year over year growth. Nowadays, marketing is so numbers-driven and analytical, that the talent you will be competing against for that next role is certainly listing their results.

Don’t use too many “I” pronouns

Pronouns are where candidates make mistakes on their resumes. The risk of describing your accomplishments in “I” statements is that it comes across as self-absorbed. For example, “I drove this value…” or stating “I accomplish this goal…” can demonstrate a lack of ability to work within a team.

Keep in mind that companies look for marketing executives who are team-oriented and company-oriented. As a candidate, it is your responsibility to show quantifiable accomplishments without looking like you are all about yourself.

Don’t make your resume too creative

Before submitting your resume, ask yourself can it be understood by everyone? It’s easy (and common) to want to show off your creative side on your resume, as it the first impression of how you market yourself. However, oftentimes creative resumes distract and makes it more difficult for readers to understand the scope of your experience and key skills. Instead, show off your creativity on your portfolio, not on your resume. You want to realize it is likely the first person to see your resume will be in human resources. Their job is to save the hiring manager time, so keep the formatting of your resume traditional.

Do submit your resume to hiring managers

Hiring managers in most companies are often CMOs with numerous tasks to do besides hiring talent. Thus, the question you want to ask yourself is, what’s the most likely path of me being successful? There’s no one way of finding a job. It’s also not possible for HR departments to read every resume. If you are targeting a specific company, then it’s best to focus on the person who would be your direct manager if possible. With that said, do not underestimate the power or helpfulness of HR. 

Additionally, if you have the opportunity to work with a boutique executive search firm that specializes in your expertise, it will only multiply your opportunities over time. When you partner with marketing talent agencies, you have someone on the inside represent you in the best light. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ve already established a good relationship with recruiters who can recommend you for future job opportunities.

The bottom line

Let your resume represent where you are historically from a career perspective. You want to have accomplishments from everywhere you worked shown on your resume. Ultimately, that means spending at least three years at each organization to build a track record of success. Remember the goal of your resume is to get you an interview. Don’t let these simple mistakes stop you from opening doors to new opportunities!

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