- It's Really An Ad
You hear it all the time, "Your resume is a marketing tool."
So why is it that no one ever asks a professional copywriter
for advise when writing the most important ad of all time...
the one that could land you an interview? I'll tell you from
experience, as a copywriter I've landed many an interview
based on the successful resumes I've written. Now I'd like
to show you the tricks of the advertising trade that make
all the difference when promoting yourself.
When writing copy, the first and most important rule is to
know your target audience. In order to meet a buyer's need
for a product or service you must understand what they
consider to be important. Before beginning to write,
copywriters always create a list of the problems the
product/service solves. Next we list what positive end
results the customer will get from using the
Secondly, we develop a list of selling points. From the
customer's point-of-view, we answer the questions, "What's
in it for me," "So what," and "Why should I buy from you?"
Third, and finally, we turn all the features of the
product/service into benefits. So how does any of this apply
to a resume? You are the product! You are selling yourself.
Let's apply these tips to the objective and employment
history sections of the resume. I'll use myself as an
What does my target audience consider to be important? Copy
that sells! They want great copy that they can be proud to
use, and that brings in customers.
What problem do I solve? No more wasted advertising money.
By using my copywriting services, my customers are assured
What positive end result will they receive? More customers.
Let's begin using this information by looking at the
objective section of your resume. This section is the most
targeted area of your resume. So many people make the
mistake of writing something to the effect of, "My objective
is to obtain a position as a copywriter with a leading
advertising agency." That says absolutely nothing to your
potential employer. In this short paragraph, you must convey
what you can do for the company. Using the information from
our answered questions, I would write my objective this way:
Objective: To provide targeted, sales-oriented copywriting
that brings customers exceptional response and decreases
their advertising waste.
Not only does this let the manager know I can benefit
him/her, but also his customers. Focusing on what results
you can provide to both the company and their clients is an
excellent way to get the attention of anyone looking to
What you usually find in the next section of a resume is the
employment history. But what do you find happens in the
actual interview? The manager is asking questions about what
you did, not what your title was. Remember, we're targeting
our audience. Let's give 'em what they want.
Instead of listing your title and responsibilities under
each employer, insert a list of past successes. This is
where you turn features into benefits. Let's look at an
example or two.
Advantage Advertising Agency 3/89 - 6/94
Conceptualized, created and distributed press releases that
increased Web site hits by as much as 600 percent.
Wrote Web site copy that produced a customer conversion rate
Created, wrote and designed a direct mailing campaign with a
53 percent response rate.
Notice all these success statements talk about what I did
and what end result those actions had. They all list
benefits. The feature is that I can write press releases.
The benefit is that those press releases increased Web site
hits by as much as 600 percent.
If possible, try to focus the success statements toward
things relevant to the company with which you wish to
interview. Simply list two or three under each employer
along with your title and the dates you worked at each
Finally, never - ever - mail your resume without a cover
letter. Once again, focus on meeting the needs of your
target audience. Get specific. If an advertisement states
that an ad agency is looking for a copywriter who
specializes in press campaigns, play up that fact in your
cover letter. You might choose to mention, "My resume
provides reference to multiple successes I've had with press
campaigns. I will be pleased to provide more detailed
information during our interview." This type statement is an
excellent way to inform your prospect that your resume is
just the tip of the iceberg.
Presentation is also a plus. While a professional-looking
resume is important, don't go overboard. Colored paper,
several fonts (type styles) and colored text make for a page
that is difficult to read. Again, keep advertising
principles in mind.
Use good quality white paper with black ink. Use no more
than two different fonts, preferably a type style like Times
Roman. And, of course, don't forget to include the basic
information such as your educational background and contact
When you sit down to write, just remember: keep your target
audience in mind during the entire creation process, provide
a benefits-oriented objective and list your past successes.
When you do, you are well on your way to scheduling
interviews and landing that new job!
Copyright © 2000 Karon Thackston,
Karon is Owner and President of KT & Associates who offers
targeted copywriting, copyediting & ghostwriting services.
With over 16 years experience, Karon knows how to speak your
customer's language. Visit her site at
Resume Is Really An Ad
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On Resume Effectiveness
Present Your Resume
Finding The Right Keywords
Rewriting Your Resume
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Writing Better Cover Letters
Effective Interview Skills
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Interviewing Success Tips
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Pursuing The Right Career?
Management Career Option
Succeed At Career Fairs
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To Use Your Business Card