sell yourself cover

Here’s a sample of the kind of advice you’ll get if you order this new book!


Sequence:  Education Then Experience?  Or Experience Then Education?

If you have a major that recruiters are actively looking for (e.g., business, computer science), feature it prominently.  If you don’t (English, sociology, philosophy), list it later.  Don’t give recruiters a chance to make hasty assumptions about what you’re able to do for them based on generalizations and misunderstandings (like how well humanities majors are suited for jobs in teaching and nothing else).  Let them get a sense of you first, and then tell them what you majored in.

Get a copy of Sell Yourself! Liberal Arts Skills Employers Want. Click HERE to order. (Only $0.99 from smashwords.com.)

GPA:  Yes or No

Maybe.  If your GPA is 4.0, and you don’t have much work experience, then, sure, you can include it.  If not, leave it off.  By the time you’ve been working for a couple of years, it becomes irrelevant anyway.  Also, I’ve seen students list their overall GPA and their GPA in their major.  One I saw the other day said “Overall GPA 3.8; Accounting GPA 3.85.”  The difference is miniscule and not worth mentioning. If you’re going to list a GPA, list one or the other, not both.  And if it isn’t outstanding, don’t mention it at all.

Summarize Your Qualifications

Put a summary of your qualifications at the top of your résumé.  Be modest and creative.  For example:  “Experienced researcher, voracious reader, quick learner, astute discerner of quality.”  Or “Literate, responsible self-starter; fluent in Chinese; broad and deep knowledge of Asian culture.”

Your summary should just be a short (no more than three or four lines) bullet list of your highlights.  What makes you different?  How would you quickly tell someone what you have to offer?  That belongs in your “summary of qualifications,” nothing else.

“Excellent Communication Skils”—Really?

Don’t say you’re an “excellent communicator.”  Demonstrate it.  Many people say they have “excellent communication skills,” but most of them don’t.  If you really are a good communicator, describe your abilities in some detail.  Be specific, as I’m sure your English instructors have insisted.  “My communication skills include writing for audience, conducting research, organizing qualitative information, writing efficiently, and optimizing both written deliverables and presentation materials.”  Something like that.  People who are “excellent” communicators know what goes into being one.  People who aren’t don’t.  And one more thing:  your résumé itself demonstrates a little of your abilities as a communicator.  Make sure it reflects all you claim–good organizational abilities, proficiency in copyediting, sizing up your audience, etc.

Get a copy of Sell Yourself! Liberal Arts Skills Employers Want. Click HERE to order. (Only $0.99 from smashwords.com.)

Talking About Your Experience

When it comes to job experience, don’t just say what you did—Responsible for this…. Duties included….  Yeah, so what?  Say also what good came of the work you did.  What were the results?  Sales people usually have the easiest opportunity to exploit this—like “Implemented a new cold-calling sales approach that resulted in a 8% increase in sales the first month.”  But they’re by no means the only people who can do that.

For example, a student recently submitted her résumé draft to me.  It said she’d worked in the university library as part of a group to assess security issues.  Her résumé listed the name of the group she was with and then said “Examined student safety issues at library.”  Yeah, so what?  “What came of the work you did?” I asked her.  “Nothing,” she said.  “Well, except we made recommendations for changes to make in some library areas.”  “And?” I asked.  “And they made those changes, so students feel safer now.”  Ah ha!  She changed it to:  “Our group examined student safety issues at the library, made recommendations for physical security improvements which were implemented.  Students now have an improved sense of personal security while using those sections of the library.”

Get a copy of Sell Yourself! Liberal Arts Skills Employers Want. Click HERE to order. (Only $0.99 from smashwords.com.)

Sell Yourself! is a step-by-step guide explaining how you can translate liberal arts skills and abilities into business language and how you can prepare a résumé that sells prospective managers on your liberal arts job-ready skills!


One thought on “Sample “Sell Yourself”

  1. Thank-you for this site. I find your information succcinct and pertinent. When I think of the amount of time I spent reducing my resume to present the most attractive level of white space I could cry. In the process of editing for looks and efficacy, I forgot the basic point of listing job skills, to let your prospective employer know not just what you did but how well you did it using concrete language. Sigh.

    As a recent English graduate, seeking a career, I appreciate your timely intervention and tips.

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