Jennifer Way on your Resume Sandwich

  Pic: Georgia Cross with Jennifer Way of Way Solutions

Pic: Georgia Cross with Jennifer Way of Way Solutions

I recently attended Nashville Women In Digital’s February meet up, where the speaker, Jennifer Way of Way Solutions, gave some inspirational advice on career management, personal branding, and resume crafting.

As a marketer, branding myself is one of my toughest challenges. Sure, I can give my clients advice and recommendations all day long on branding their products or services. I can whip up insightful branding and advertising messages, focusing on the RTB’s- (reasons to buy). I can cut copy, prioritize the product attributes, frame a call to action in a way that appeals to the audience, etc. 

But, honestly, When it comes to marketing myself and my skills, I am not as objective. I rely on career coaches, like Jennifer to guide me. Full disclosure, I am a client of Way Solutions. I have learned so much from working with her, and want to share a snippet of what I’ve learned to help inspire you. 


INSPIRATION FOR THE WORKING GAL:

As women in general, but particularly women in business, we have a tendency to be demure, quiet, listen and not speak. Times are changing, and we need to get vocal about our contributions in order to manage our careers. Let’s face it, no one is going to do it for you. The signal starts with you. The way you talk about your experience tells people what to think of you. Choose your words wisely, both on paper (your resume) and in person (around the water cooler or coffee pot). 

Jennifer’s advice: Pick good stories to tell. Show your value to get hired and promoted. It is all about branding yourself. Don’t be shy!

  • When speaking to company executives, focus on what you can do for them with their bottom line (aka... increase sales).
     
  • When a co-worker asks you what’s going on, what are you up to. Don’t tell them you are busy. Brag on yourself a bit! Focus on results, not your to do list. Brand yourself by the water cooler by talking about the results you are making and seeing in your role. It’s okay to share your wins. 
     

INSPIRATION FOR THE JOB SEEKER:

FACT: You have 6 seconds to convey what you are all about when someone looks at your resume or LinkedIn profile. They are scanning. They are looking for keywords. 

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I love this sandwich analogy that Jennifer uses to break down the purpose of a resume and how it relates to your personal brand and job search:

  • Think of yourself as a sandwich. You may be a double-stack BLT with pepper jack, spicy mustard, and jalapeños. Look at you, hot stuff!
     
  • Think of the employer's job description as their sandwich order. They have a sandwich in mind before even looking at your resume. Their mouth is watering for a certain flavor. 
     
  • Your resume is your refrigerator. The first quarter of the page should be the most important of your resume. It should give the recruiter or hiring manager an idea of what kind of sandwich you can make, based on what ingredients you have listed. 

What ingredients are they asking for? Do you have the ingredients to make their sandwich? Maybe you have some, but not all. If they aren't asking for pickles, maybe you should leave pickles off your resume. How can you make your “ingredients” appealing? Maybe they are asking for mustard and you have spicy mustard. Sell your value and they may be attracted to what makes you unique.

Here are a few resume essentials to ensure mouths are watering over your sandwich:

  • Your meat: What kind of problem do you solve? Your summary should be 3-3.5 lines, point to the value you bring, and send signals about who you are. Here is where you differentiate yourself from others. Are you roast beef, ham, or pepperoni? Maybe you are a little bit both ham and turkey? Maybe you are turkey ham!
     
  • Your add-ons: These are the keywords for hard skills the employer is looking for. TIP: List your skills in a section at the top, underneath the summary. Prioritize the list by your strongest skills first. Make it easy to see you have onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and the other ingredients they are looking for in their sandwich.
     
  • Your special sauce: Under each role in your resume, highlight your achievements with bullet points. Emphasize results over activity. Your resume is not your task list. Use numbers, be specific, connect the dots. Focus on the facts. 

EXAMPLE: As a digital marketer, I have access to analytics that tell exactly what the results of my strategy, branding, and campaign project management were. I know exactly what content drove action and resulted in sales. I am able to connect the dots to meeting a business objective.

TIP: Find out what measurable results your actions have made and use these numbers in your resume. Don't use wimpy words, use power words- like spearheaded, revolutionized, etc. Get that thesaurus out and get creative! 

Best of luck and bon appétit! Own your career. Start moving in the right direction. Speak to your value. 

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