Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: business writing

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to business writing.

Write the Perfect Profile Summary for Your Resume

How to Write the Perfect Profile Summary for Your ResumeIn case you missed the memo, the “Objective” section in your resume is dead. It means very little to anybody evaluating your resume and is quite useless. What’s not dead, and in fact is still very well alive and kicking, is the Professional Profile or Profile Summary.  If you’re an independent contractor and don’t have a Profile Summary in your resume, stop whatever you’re doing right now and start writing one. It may just be the fastest way you can help yourself get more call backs from recruiters.

Successful sales people develop an elevator pitch — a quick blurb about their product they give to clients that grabs attention, opens a door, and allows them to deliver their complete sales pitch. Independent contractors need to follow the same logic. Your product is you and your services. Your client is the recruiter or hiring manager. And your Profile Summary is your elevator pitch. It’s what grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read the rest of your resume. Without that great elevator pitch, a sales person risks losing the opportunity for a future sale and without a great Profile Summary, you risk having your resume overlooked.

Let’s take a closer look at six items you need to consider in your resume’s Profile Summary that will make it exceptional so you stand out among the other job applicants:

  1. Positioning: It should be obvious. The Profile Summary needs to be at the top. First thing, right after your contact information.
  2. Easy-to-Read: You want this to be a quick and easy read. Consider bullet points or a short paragraph with simple sentences. This is not the time to try and impress people with your complex academic writing (unless it really fits the position to which you’re applying).
  3. Tailor it to the Reader: When possible, write a different summary for every application you submit. Know what the reader will be looking for in the application and highlight those points.
  4. The Meat: As noted above, you need to include information that the reader cares about. Give a high-level summary of your experience, education and skills that are relevant to this position. Remember to add quantifiable facts, such as “Managed 15 people ” or “20 years of experience.”
  5. The Fat: You know all of those fancy clichés and unique adjectives? Delete them. All of them.
  6. Your Differentiators: Like every great product, you must have one or two qualities that separate you from your competition. Perhaps you led a very successful and complex project, or maybe you’re and expert in a single skill you know that client is looking for. Know what separates you from the pack and then make sure the reader knows it too.

As noted in #3, ideally you will tailor a Profile Summary for every resume, but you also want a generic one. That base Profile Summary needs to be absolutely flawless. Spend hours working at it, re-reading, and the re-writing. When it’s done, pass it to friends for feedback and continue updating it until you have the perfect elevator pitch about yourself (that’s also 100% fact). Your final summary will be more than just a block in your resume, it can then be used for intros to emails when you send a resume or your LinkedIn profile.

Even Recruiters will appreciate your great Profile Summary. In fact, once you’ve sold them on your abilities, their job is to sell you to clients and, that’s right, your Profile Summary will be their number one tool. Sure, if you write a terrible one they’ll re-write it to something awesome, but it won’t be as great and you will have less control over the content.

Do you have a Profile Summary? Are you proud of it or is it something you’ve just thrown together? If that’s the case, we recommend you have a look at it.

5 Tips for Business Writing

The rise of social media and other forms of electronic media has radically changed the way that people communicate on an everyday basis.  It is not just the young who text each other using the abbreviated “language of texting”, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become mainstream ways to communicate and certainly email has unseated the traditional letter as the preferred communication method.

Along the way, the “art of writing” has become a casualty.  All too often, we see jumbled thoughts, poor grammar and spelling errors throughout business communications.  The good news is that this presents an opportunity for you to stand out as a contractor.  You’ll gain a competitive advantage and enhance your personal brand, simply by ensuring that your communication is professional, sentences are constructed properly, spelling is checked and thoughts are presented in a clear and concise way – EVERYWHERE including your resume, client reports, and emails to colleagues.

“Easy rading is damn hard writing” - Nathaniel HawthorneThere are lots of great sources out there that can help you improve your business writing.  Here are a few tips we practice at Eagle and want to share with you:

  1. Get very clear in your own mind what message(s) you are trying to convey.  Write them down and separate them so messages don’t get mixed up.  If you have several messages to deliver then make a call about whether they should all be in one communication, or several communications.  If you expect some action from the communication, then be clear about that too. A rant or a bunch of facts without a “call to action” is not very productive.
  2. Organize the structure of your communication. It should have an introduction with the main message, a separate section (paragraph perhaps) for each sub-message and a summary paragraph that ties it all together.  (Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them, which is the same structure for presentations).  If you are writing a tough letter/email, try “mapping it out” on paper first.
  3. If it is an emotional subject then be VERY careful to take the emotion out of your writing. It should be very factual.
  4. Keep it brief.  Most people don’t read long messages but rather scan texts and the more you “drone on” the less impact your message will have.
  5. For the tough, or more important, correspondence, get someone else to read it before you send it. They can vet it to ensure it is clear, professional and “hangs together” in addition to spotting typos.“The Reason one writes isn’t the fact that he wants to say something.  He writes because he has something to say.”  - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modern communication tools are a way of life today, and with friends and close colleagues, it’s alright to use less formal way of writing. It can be dangerous, though, because the less you practice your writing (like anything) the more it deteriorates. So embrace the new technologies, BUT don’t forget how to write a good letter!

What do u think? Is it a good idea 2 use casual writing @ work?  Let us know with a comment!!!!!!!