When I started to write my resume, I went to my university’s Career Center Library and borrowed a few books about resume writing and some large books that contained hundreds of resume samples. The Library would loan books for only 48 hours, so there was no time to procrastinate.
I spent two full days with these books and wrote the first version of my resume. After that, I met with a career counselor who went over my resume and said it was good. Since then, I have changed my resume over 40 times, and I can wholeheartedly say that my first resume was crap. But that’s not saying much because the resume I have right now is also crap.
However crappy the whole resume thing is, you have to have one and it has to look good and read well. Even after more than 30 iterations, I could still find typos, grammatical mistakes, and capitalization errors in my resume. I don’t know how this happens, but it just does. And it shouldn’t.
Whatever it is you send a potential employer – a resume, your blog, an article you wrote – the employer will assume that you put a lot of time and effort into it and that it is “your best.” If you send a resume with a typo, it’s very unlikely that you will hear back from the employer. (Especially if you tell them that you are detail oriented!)
I will not go into the details of writing resumes and cover letters. There are plenty of resources on that, and I assume that you’ve already looked at some. I will give you some tips on how to make your resume and cover letter as awesome as possible and how to tailor them to a marketing position.
Note: Everything I will say about resumes applies to LinkedIn profiles as well.
Necessary for any marketing resume and cover letter
- Good, standard design. If you can’t do this, ask a friend with a flair for design to help, or use someone else’s template as a basis. Consider hiring a freelancer on fiverr.com or on another freelance marketplace to touch up your resume’s visuals.
- Clear information. Present information clearly, without excessive buzzwords or jargon (unless those words are in the job description).
- Emphasize marketing. Emphasize the marketing aspects of every job that you held, where it makes sense to do so. For example, if you held an administrative position, focus on when you ran events for your company and had to market them to other employees or clients.
Keywords to have in a marketing resume
It doesn’t matter if your resume is scanned by a human being or by machine; it should have the right words for the position you’re seeking. When I look at a resume (or, more likely, a LinkedIn profile), my eyes automatically skip to the words that are relevant to me. Then I read the sentences around these words. I don’t read random sentence that lacks words that can spark my interest.
For example, when I hired a marketing assistant for INcubes, I looked for someone who felt comfortable with WordPress. If a resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile contained the word “WordPress,” they were far more likely to get my attention.
So use the right words. Here is a list of some common marketing-related words to include in your resume. If you don’t know what some of them mean, either leave those out or google them to find out.
Note: Don’t overdo it! Choose the keywords that best fit the position you’re applying for so it won’t look like you spat all of the industry jargon into your resume.
- Account management
- B2B, B2C
- Business development
- Client base
- Competitive analysis
- Content mapping/development/creation
- Customer experience
- Customer retention
- Data collection
- Digital/online marketing
- Email campaigns /direct marketing
- Event planning
- Loyalty program
- Market share
- Marketing collaterals
- Mobile marketing
- Niche (market)
- Penetration strategy
- Persona analysis
- Press releases
- Public relations
- Social media strategy/implementation
- Trade shows
Marketing resume tips I’ve never read anywhere else
I will assume that you’ve already read or are going to read all the generic “How to write a resume” tips provided by other sources. I will give you only the tips I’ve never read anywhere else.
Never claim to be “a fast learner.” During your interview, what if you’re asked something like, “We need you to do the analytics for our company, but I see that you don’t have experience with that. Is that going to be a problem for you?” Instead of saying that you’re a fast learner, cite an example of when you had to learn something complicated in a hurry and aced it.
You might be inclined to say you’re a fast learner when you see a job that you feel is a great match for you, but which requires an acquired skill or experience that you lack. For example, suppose the job requires experience with Facebook advertising. You believe that Facebook advertising is simple enough to learn in a matter of hours or days, once you get the job. Well, if it’s that simple, why not learn it before the interview?
When you face a requirement like this, do some brief online research to assess how long it will take you to learn how to meet it. Then decide if you will have enough time to learn it before the interview so that you can avoid the “fast learner” concept.
Lying is always a bad idea. It’s bad karma, and the lie can be revealed, sabotaging your efforts. For example, do not mention your experience with Facebook ads if that is not true. Still, if you believe you can do it, then state in your cover letter, “I can easily help you with the Facebook advertising campaign you listed in the requirements section.” Then before your interview, learn how to use Facebook ads. Once you’ve studied it and think you know it, invest a small amount of money – as little as $10 or $20 – and advertise something on Facebook. Then look at the results and gather insights from the ad campaign. Having such practical experience will make you feel confident when speaking about Facebook advertising to your potential employer.
P.S. I totally believe you when you say that you’re a fast learner. I am too.
Should you mention languages? Being fluent in additional languages can be an asset, but if you are not a native language speaker, it can also single you out as an immigrant or newcomer. Whether it will help you land a job depends on the language and region. If you are in Canada and can speak both English and French, the number of jobs available to you may increase significantly.
On the other hand, if you speak Croatian, there must be a position somewhere that requires it, but most don’t. In such a case, consider whether you want to impress your potential employers with your bilingual skills – it might cause them to wonder whether your English is good enough.
This problem intensifies if you came from Croatia recently and all your education and employment experience is from there. Then just one typo in your resume might lead the hiring manager to suspect that you can’t communicate in English. Consider that issue when listing languages on your resume, and assess the advantages and disadvantages based on your particular situation and the job you are applying for.