Creating a value based resume means it’s time to treat yourself as a product that has strategic (employer) value. The hard part is avoiding the trap of TELLING employers what the product (you) does versus SELLING its value.
Here we are in the early part of 2023 and so many of my talented friends, former colleagues and customers have fallen victim to the mass layoffs in high tech.
I wish I had a magic wand. I’d get each and every one of you into a job that leveraged your talents to the fullest. Unfortunately, I don’t possess any magic powers. Not even in the ballpark!
In lieu of any supernatural powers, the most valuable thing I can offer is a resume template that sells your value to potential employers in a way that improves your odds of getting noticed.
Before you download the template (link at the bottom of the page), read this post to make sure you utilize the format to its fullest.
What is a Value Based Resume?
A value based resume is a non-traditional resume structure that emphasizes WHY employers should hire you, versus a traditional resume that emphasizes WHAT you’ve done. It contains all the same elements as a traditional resume but categorizes the content in a way that’s more conducive to telling a story to potential employers about your value.
A resume can be created in many forms like documents, videos, web pages, etc., Below is an outline for telling your value story in a non-traditional resume format using whatever mediums you choose.
How Does a Value Based Resume Differ From a Traditional Resume?
Most resumes follow a traditional format of a bold headline that states what you are (e.g., Product Management Leader), a positioning statement or career objective followed by work experience, hard/soft skills, education, and other interests. Most online job applications follow this format too.
Here’s the downside of this format. Your real value is buried way down in the bullet points. It’s hard to get noticed using this format because all resumes read the same way.
The other downside to this format is it’s mostly about what you’ve done versus what you can do for your next employer and why they should consider you.
Value Based Resume Format
Creating a value based resume is about using headlines and supporting bullets to tell a story. That story should speak to the ultimate goals and outcomes employers are looking for in their next hire and how you’re going to get them there better than all other candidates.
It doesn’t use a traditional format but contains much of the same information, albeit in a different structure that’s more conducive to communicating WHY they should hire you.
Your H1 Value Headline & Positioning Statement
Your top-level headline should be a short phrase that describes something every employer wants when they hire a person into this role.
For example, if you’re looking for a product marketing role, your H1 headline might be something like “Making Technical Products Easier to Market, Sell & Buy.” Is there any technology company that doesn’t want that?
Because this headline is so different than the typical headline, “Experienced Product Marketing Leader,” the resume reviewer is more likely to pause and read your resume because it engages them. Of course, your resume has to make a shortlist to even get a look. More on that further down in this post.
Below your H1 headline, use a 1-sentence positioning statement that summarizes WHY this goal is so important for your next employer and the key issues you address to consistently meet this goal.
For example, “Unique skills for helping marketing departments, salespeople and customers understand, internalize and articulate the value of products without a heavy dependency on technical product knowledge.”
Everyone knows product marketing’s job is to drive more revenue from existing products, but that’s what every product marketing resume emphasizes. You need to be different in a way that’s more engaging.
When you use this approach, you’re communicating your value from a different angle that tells employers you have a skill for eliminating one of the biggest hurdles to “generating more product revenue” keeping with the example above.
Your H2 Value Headlines
This is the area of your resume that will look most different. Instead of bold headings that list the company, your title and duration in that role, you want headings that support your H1 headline and positioning statement.
For example, one of your H2 headlines in the product marketing scenario might be “Emphasizing WHY vs. WHAT & HOW.” Again, if eyes are on your resume, the uniqueness of the headline will cause the reviewer to slow down and take it in.
The objective in this part of your resume is to elevate your skills to a headline level and complement them with supporting accomplishments instead of burying them under each company and role where they’re far less likely to get noticed.
Bullets to Support H2 Value Headlines
In this section, list 3 bullets that communicate your most compelling accomplishments from employing the skill referenced in the H2 headline. For example,
- Grew product revenue by X% at [company name] in 2 years.
- Reduced the number of sales tools by X% at [company name] in 1 year with X% revenue growth.
- Improved response rates on marketing campaigns from X to Y at [company name] in [timeframe].
What you’re communicating here is that you have a skill (the H2 headline) you’ve repeatedly used at multiple companies that consistently delivers results. You’re visibly elevating your most valuable skills and the results instead of burying them under the headings of your recent employers.
Repeat this section two more times for a total of 3 max. Each section should have a unique H2 value headline that emphasizes a different skill of yours phrased as something that addresses a big problem.
In the example above, the headline is phrased in a way that implies the problem – product positioning that focuses too much on what the product does and how it works versus why it’s valuable.
If a reviewer were to quickly scroll your H1 and H2 headlines in a few seconds, they should come away with a short story that tells them why you’re worth an interview.
Work Experience/Employment History At-a-Glance
Beneath your H2 headlines and bullets, do the employer a favor and list in typical chronological order starting with the most recent employer, role and dates you held each position. No need for bullets here because you’ve covered those above, but under different headlines. This is just a summary in the format employers expect when reviewing your employment history.
The Tone of Your Writing
You want to come across as conversational, engaging, energized and positive. No one wants to hire a cranky, lazy complainer that’s high-maintenance and riddled with issues (you already knew that)! Be sure to have someone else review your resume to make sure your tone meets that objective.
Once you get eyes on your resume, you want the reviewer to feel like they’re having a conversation with you.
The SEO Slant on Your Resume – A Necessary Evil
Keywords are a critical part of your resume. Without the right ones, this effort is all for naught because your resume will never make the shortlist. Unfortunately, those shortlists are largely, if not entirely determined by automated applicant tracking systems.
I see resumes that have 20, 30 or even 40 keywords in the skills/expertise sections. Do a little research first and find out which keywords are most critical for the role and do your best to keep it to 10-ish. More than that and your resume runs the risk of becoming written white noise that won’t get anything more than a left swipe.
The Bottom Line on Creating a Value Based Resume
Not so ironically, when I’m teaching product marketing courses, I tell my students to treat their product positioning artifacts as a resume. The goal is to open doors for salespeople so they get more interviews, a.k.a. discovery meetings.
Product positioning that emphasizes what the product does and how it works won’t open doors for salespeople. The same goes for you and your resume! Emphasize WHY employers should hire you versus everything you’ve done or can do.
You are the product and your resume needs to open doors and get you interviews. Stop telling and start selling!
Template for Creating Your Value Based Resume
Download the Value Based Resume template.
by John Mansour on April 25, 2023.