A personal career profile is known by many names, among the most popular of which are skills summary, career summary, performance profile and personal career profile. Crafting a well-written profile can be the most difficult part of the resume writing process, but once completed, it will tell prospective employers who you are and what you have to offer.
A personal career profile immediately follows your name and contact information on the resume. It can contain two sentences or warrant a full paragraph plus bullets. Regardless of length, it weaves your credentials, skills and experience into a unique and powerful summary. Each part of the profile contains only information that is relevant to the position. As described in David Noble's "Gallery of Best Resumes," "Results-driven management executive with an in-depth understanding of real estate development and construction."
A well-written profile begins with a short phrase describing your profession. As written in David Noble's "Gallery of Best Resumes," "Elementary educator with 20+ years of experience." It is followed by a statement of general or specialized expertise and two or more additional statements describing your skill set, awards and other accomplishments. As Noble writes,"Incorporates effective cooperative learning techniques and unique classroom management style to establish a creative and stimulating classroom environment." It ends with a description of personal characteristics. Noble offers this example of the personal characteristics: "Highly adaptable, multi-disciplined, organized, competent, and loyal."
Some profiles also mention career goals and state your career objective. The profile can be supplemented with a bulleted section containing key strengths or a skills summary.
Screening software focuses on the skill sets of the job description. A well-written profile uses strong action verbs and industry specific keywords, which improve the resume's ranking in database searches. For example, the screening device will search for words like "financial analysis" when scanning an accountant's profile. Resume spiders are always searching for brand-new documents. Instead of rewriting an entire resume, write a different profile for each job.
A single job posting could attract thousands of resumes. Prospective employers will quickly skim the profile and decide whether to continue reading. Including tangible proof of competence will distinguish an applicant, especially if references are made to numbers and finances. As Noble writes, a reference could read "Delivered $800 million in revenue growth through innovative hands-on operating leadership and high-profile property management."
Recycling the Profile
Extend the life of the personal career profile by utilizing it during an interview. Use it as an "elevator speech" to capture the attention of a captive audience. Originally used to promote entrepreneurial ideas, elevator speeches reflect the idea that it should be possible to deliver a speech in the time span of an elevator ride. In the two to three minutes that it takes to go from the first floor to the top floor or vice versa, you can present a well-crafted summary of your achievements. This comes in very handy when a hiring officer says, "Tell me about yourself."
- "Gallery of Best Resumes;" David F. Noble; 2007
- "Resume Magic;" Susan Britton Whitcomb; 2010
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