May 27

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How to write a great resume profile

Discover how to grab the attention of both recruiters and ATS with these tips on how to create a perfect resume profile.

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Everyone needs a perfect professional resume profile to start their resume.

Sitting in the topmost section of your resume, it sets the scene, highlights keywords and skills, and outlines your background, providing a perfect snapshot for both recruiters and ATS systems – if it is written properly.

Find out what you need to know and the top mistakes to avoid, ensuring your resume will stand out from your competition and get you those interviews.

Here's what we'll cover.

Should you use a resume profile or a resume objective?

The power of a great resume profile

The 3 reasons why people don’t include a resume profile

5 things that you should definitely NOT do with your profile

5 things you SHOULD be doing with your profile

The winning formula- how to structure your profile

Resume Profile Examples

Key Takeaways​​

Should you use a resume profile, or a resume objective?

If you have been looking for resume writing advice, there is a good chance that you have come across the concept of using a resume objective.

So you may be thinking, which should I choose and what is the difference?

Whilst both of these are used to introduce the reader to a job applicant, there is one very important difference. 

A resume profile seeks to promote the skills, experience and knowledge a candidate has to offer whereas an resume objective sets out what a candidate is wanting.

A resume profile seeks to promote the skills, experience and knowledge a candidate has to offer whereas an resume objective sets out what a candidate is wanting.

Here's the harsh truth from someone who has been recruiting for many years.

Recruiters and hiring managers really don't care what you want at this stage - they want to find what they want.

And what they want to know is whether you are worth bringing in for an interview or taking the time out to contact over the phone, or Skype or Zoom.

So, if you are thinking of using a resume objective, I strongly advise you not to and, if you already have one, swap it out for a profile and watch your 'luck' change.

First you need to secure that interview.  Later, once they discover they want you, then you can talk about what you want.

The power of a great resume profile

Now you know why you should choose a profile over an objective, I also want you to understand just how important this section is for your resume.

Your profile can change the whole way people think about you as a candidate.

You know the saying first impressions count? Well as your profile is the first section of your resume under your contact details, this is the first thing recruiters and hiring managers read about you so you need to get it right.

Think of your resume profile like the blurb of a book, or the trailer for a film.

Think of your resume profile like the blurb of a book, or the trailer for a film.

You want to grab their attention – for the right reasons – and leave them wanting to know more about you.

Recruiters typically spend 7 seconds scanning a resume but they will always spend time on the first thing they see - your resume profile - because it gives them a snap shot of who you are and what you can offer.

And the best bit? You get to control how they view you by telling them exactly what you want.

When you go to a restaurant and your food arrives, the presentation is so important. If you like what you see, you look forward to eating it and when you find the individual ingredients as promised in the menu you feel satisfied you made the right choice.

The same is true of your resume. By giving recruiters what they want to see at the beginning, you are guiding them to the key points you want to stand out. When they find them in the body of your resume, they feel satisfied that you will be a good choice for interview.

The 3 reasons why people don’t include a resume profile

Clearly it is a huge opportunity missed if you don’t include a resume profile. So, why doesn’t everyone include one?

Of course, it could be that people are just lazy and are not prepared to put in the effort to put one together.

However, if you are reading this post and don’t have one on your current resume, it is most likely to be for one of the following 3 reasons.


1.

You are worried that a profile will make it too long and recruiters might get bored and not read your actual resume.


Yes, its true that recruiters speed read and typically spend around 7 seconds scanning your resume, but the key word here is ‘scanning.’


The truth is that nobody, and I mean nobody, reads every word of a resume. First, they want to ‘get you’ by understanding your core skills and experience and then they want to back up those key areas with facts.


Including a well written resume profile actually saves them time because they find what they need straight away.


Instead of obsessing about the length of your resume, concentrate on the quality of your information.



2.

You think it is unnecessary to include one because it is all in your resume


Yes, this information will all be in your resume but a snapshot highlights certain points over others to frame you positively for a role. It will also condense experience and provide an invaluable overview.


For example, you may have experience in project management within multiple roles. Your profile will add up those years to show that you have 8 years’ experience rather than a recruiter having to work that out themselves.


Perhaps repetition is something that worries you?  If that is the case, don’t.  


Regarding recruiters, think of it as reinforcement. They read it in your profile and then it is backed up by facts.


Further, you need to remember that it is not just humans that will be scanning your resume.  Applicant Tracking Systems will score you higher for a role if a key word they are looking for appears multiple times.



3.

You simply don't know how to write one.


This is such a common reason. The fear of getting it wrong can be so great that people prefer to just add a couple of lines or even nothing at all.


If that applies to you, don’t worry. In the rest of this post we will show exactly how to write a great resume profile so you can be confident of making the right first impression.


Let’s get started by running through a few things not to do when writing your resume profile.

5 things that you should definitely NOT do with your profile.

1. Use stock phrases that could apply to anyone

For example, ‘excellent team player’, a ‘driven individual’ or ‘possessing strong integrity and work ethic’.


These generic phrases are boring for a human to read and meaningless to the ATS bots.

​ 

2. Start or end it with a quote 

This is about you and what you can offer a future employer.


You may think it is profound to quote Gandhi or Branson but it is not - it is just weird. You may feel that is harsh, but I think not getting interviews is harsher.


Further, don't use a testimonial quote either. Leave these for your referees.

​ 

3. Don't tell your life story

Don’t talk about all your experience since leaving school.


You need to highlight what is relevant for the particular job you are applying for.

4. Don’t confuse this with a cover letter

Remember to think of your profile as the blurb of a book, the information you find on the outer cover.


Its job is to get the reader interested enough to read on.


5. Hold back and be humble

For most of us, it is hard to think of selling ourselves without sounding like we are bragging but this is one occasion when you absolutely have to.

5 things you SHOULD be doing with your profile.

1. Once upon a time...

Think of it as a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

The beginning should be a strong focused statement about what you can offer the employer.

The middle section should further enhance your first statement.

The ending should talk about your qualifications and when you are available.

2. Back it up

Use facts and stats to back up your claims.

Replace those bland generic phrases with quantifiable, impressive statements. For example, don't say 'strong leadership skills' - tell them how you led a team of 15 in a multi-million dollar project that completed on time and in budget with zero safety incidents in a challenging brown field environment..

3. Name drop

Recruiters and ATS may be looking for people who have worked for their competitors so mention company names if relevant.

Use both acronyms and their spelt out forms so either can be picked up.

If certain projects, machinery, IT, systems or processes are important, mention them by name.

4. Tailoring

Prepare your base resume with a strong profile using the tips and advice in this post but...

make sure you tailor it for each application..

Read the job description for the position you are applying for.

Note the keywords and attempt to match them in your profile.

By doing this you lock in your suitability in the head of the reader right from the beginning whilst also satisfying ATS systems.

5. Sell, sell, sell!

Don’t be shy! If you feel uncomfortable remember you are up against dozens of equally suitable candidates, so you need to stand out from the crowd.

What you say might just give you that edge over another candidate with similar skills.

The winning formula - how to structure your profile

So, what does this all look like in practice then?

Here's a quick example. 

Read the following two profiles. If you had to hire one of these which one do you think has more to offer?

Candidate A

“I started as an apprentice at a meat factory about 30 years ago and since then I have worked in a variety of jobs in shops, the motor trade and lately in the resources industry. In the last couple of years I have gained some tickets and I can operate lots of machinery. I am reliable and a real team player. I also have good time management skills. I am flexible about whatever opportunities you may have available”

Candidate B

“A competent, multi-skilled operator with solid experience in a wide range of high dollar value projects, maintaining excellent zero incident safety and attendance records. Possessing a demonstrable history of continuous personal development, such as currently studying for Occupational Health & Safety Cert IV, coupled with a strong commitment to making a positive difference to others through organisations such as Mates In Construction and the IIF programme. Current coal board medical, available at short notice and willing to FIFO, DIDO or BIBO for the right opportunity.”

This is the same person. The first was his original profile and the second was the one we wrote for him. Same person, same skills but very different results.

Remember to focus on the relevant parts of your work history and not mention those positions which are not useful for your target role.

After searching for work unsuccessfully for just over a year, within three weeks of using his new resume he was hired.

Now it’s your turn.

The best time to write your profile is when you have finished writing your entire resume. That way everything will be fresh in your head about exactly what you have to offer.

Here is a proven formula for you to use to create your own profile.

An / a [adjective(s)/strong character trait(s)][your job title] with [years experience of key skill…] within [ name companies/industries/sectors]. Skilled in [ key areas ] underpinned by [ qualifications ]  [ Key achievements ]  Seeking a challenging position where all skills and experience can be used to a positive effect and available [ when ].

Use this formula as a base to start your profile and add information on relevant skills, techniques, projects, companies, and qualifications depending on your industry and the job you are applying for.

To give you some ideas of what you can achieve using this structure as your starting point, here are a few examples of resume profiles that we have written for our clients that successfully landed them the jobs they wanted.

Resume Profile Examples

As you will see, these vary substantially due to the fact they were targeted to specific job descriptions which is what you really need to do.

Mirroring the job advertisement and the culture of a company is key for each application.

Administrator Resume Profile Example

An experienced and successful Maintenance, Technical and Project Administrator with advanced administration skills, able to manage, maintain and implement effective administration within large projects including maintenance and planning activities, account functions covering payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, workforce mobilisation,
human resources, project management support, project coordination, policy development, continuous improvement initiatives, meeting management and associated minutes and documents, time sheets, expenses, recruitment, training and maintenance of personnel records.

Strong technical and system optimisation skills include extensive knowledge of various accounting and office
applications including advanced knowledge of MS Office Suite: Excel and Word, JDE (JDEdwards) , SAP, SharePoint along with a various other software package.

Successful employment record across all periods of employment with experience across The X  Project
with both X and X.

A team player who is happy to work both as part of a team, able to manage and motivate staff, liaise with clients, contractors, and wider stakeholders to provide positive outcomes, whilst comfortable in presenting and preparing reports to all levels. Appropriately qualified for all administrative tasks and has regularly maintained skills with further training courses when necessary.

Business Analyst Resume Profile Example

An experienced Technical Business Analyst who has consistently achieved across various sectors, bridging the valley between business and technology. Employers have included X, X and X in roles covering Senior Business Analyst, QA/BA Analyst and QA/Development Systems Specialist, drawing relevant from
irrelevant information, ensuring consistent critical thinking whilst maintaining a focused analytical approach, using minimal resources to obtain maximum and most efficient solutions.

Experience has covered responsibility for the acquisition and management of requirements for projects, driving the technical implementation of applications, utilising strong technical skills to support internal and external stakeholders with data, analysis, and strategy to drive key decisions and continued organisational growth.

Further experience covers modelling, schema structuring, and experience with operational processes, maintaining and optimising vast data streams, working with product and engineering teams to collaborate on processes, developing reports and tools for internal users, and fostering technical processes, policies and procedures.

Current and previous roles have seen the development of business process models and documentation for technology initiatives, working with internal business divisions, senior leadership, and technical teams, in a consultative manner with business stakeholders to design and define the entities, attributes, relationships, data matching rules, data model & workflows necessary to support business data flow, test analysis, and KPI development.

Appropriately qualified with Bachelors of Business Administration, over 10 years professional experience in a Technical Business Analyst role, with strong planning, problem solving and decision-making skills, as well as business case development and solid technical understanding covering Operating Systems, Network infrastructure, database platforms such as SQL Server, DB2, Oracle 10/11, Interbase Databases, SQL. Performed in projects managed though Agile and Waterfall Project methodologies.

Head of Finance Resume Profile Example

An accomplished KPMG trained Head of Finance with experience across a variety of business environments maintaining accounting records, managing risk, ensuring compliance, monitoring accounting operations, analysing business expenditure, producing comprehensive forecasting reports whilst coordinating all auditing requirements and tax returns.

Experience has been gained over 20 years within significant businesses as Finance Manager and Financial Controller and currently employed by X as Finance Manager for the significant X contract.

Skills include the ability to prepare financial and management reports on a monthly, quarterly, half and full yearly intervals which form the basis for detailed and summary analyses of actual results against budgets/forecasts, with those results compiled from high quality, rigorous and up-to-date financial policies and procedures.  Management of external audit engagements, maintenance of records with a view to evaluating and managing compliance and risk mitigation expectations whilst providing the primary point of liaison with external financiers and wider stakeholders.

A natural manager who can lead, develop, mentor and coach teams of all levels and disciplines including non-financial stakeholders.  Holds an extensive array of experience with software including MYOB, Office Pack 365 (inclusive of VLOOKUP and pivot table experience with Excel) and SharePoint.  Professionally qualified with membership of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (CA designation). 

Project Manager Resume Profile Example

A safety, people and quality focused Contracts and Project Manager with comprehensive experience in Australia, UK and Canada. Responsible for managing projects of significant value >€300m, for leading employers including X Group, delivering positive outcomes for clients including X, X, X, and X.  Projects have covered various industry sectors including renewables, water, gas and electrical.

Primarily responsible for establishing both commercial and contractual management procedures and policies for projects spanning many industry sectors. This has involved the management, preparation and submission of progress claims and final accounts to ensure receipt of prompt and complete payments.  Other skills and experiences include the ability to manage subcontract progress payment claims, variations, contractual claims and final accounts in accordance with the terms of subcontracts; manage contractual issues associated with subcontractors/suppliers and provide advice to the management team on contractual issues.

Supported internal and external stakeholders and Project Management in the preparation of monthly reports, providing accurate commercial data including compilation, collation and presentation of cost related information and reports to ensure the production of comprehensive, effective and accurate program reports.

Committed to continuous personal development including BSc Hon Construction Economics (Quantity Surveying). Seeking a further operational management role within the UK and Ireland where strong disciplined leadership, industry experience, local knowledge and commercial management skills can deliver significant results.

Business Development Resume Profile Example

An experienced and successful Business Development Manager and Sales Specialist with expertise across new business development and market expansion.  An experienced professional with a 10 year plus track record successfully meeting organisational objectives across several challenging sectors.  Experience has been gained throughout Australia and the UK building an exceptionally strong network throughout Australia for market leaders including X, X and the X Group. 

Expertise in designing, refining, and implementing sales and business development concepts, business plans, budgets, workflows, and projects to achieve immediate sales and business development goals while establishing a strong base for continued growth and development.  Committed to building a solid and actionable understanding of clients and industry by conducting analysis, researching financial and legal regulations, and studying existing processes, maintaining the quality and accuracy of strategies while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Able to identify operational and structural deficiencies and apply creativity and technical skills to developing solutions, as well as using considerable project management experience to ensure outcomes are delivered on-time and on-budget. An accomplished, strategic negotiator with a firm understanding of globalisation in the modern business market, exceptional communication and networking skills ensuring a consultative sales style and natural problem-solving abilities. Proficient in building and maintaining working relationships with internal and external stakeholders and actively networking with industry professionals to create strategic partnerships and generate business opportunities. A firm understanding of operational methodologies such as the Traction EOS System, Risk-Based Thinking, ISO Standards including ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 27001:2013, and lean practices, seeking a role in a Business Development or Sales executive capacity with the NSW area.

Key Takeaways

These are just a few examples to give you an idea of how to structure your own profile.

First, form your base resume ready to be tailored to a specific position when it becomes available.

When you want to apply for a role, pick and match your key accomplishments that match the position.

Always make sure you quantify achievements by backing up with facts.

Have a question about writing your resume profile? Just leave a comment below and I will be happy to help.

 



Mark Daniel

About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and the Hi Vis Hub. A prolific publisher, Mark contributes to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

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