You feel under more pressure than most to ‘sell yourself.’ After all, you’re used to selling product and services, right? But selling yourself on your CV and communicating your unique value proposition effectively to potential employers is difficult, different somehow. As an inbound marketer you need to be a master of multiple skills, you only have a short space to make a big impact and you’re not sure how to stand out amongst equally creative and talented marketers.
We’ll show you how to craft a winning CV that addresses and alleviates the pain points of hiring managers and helps you showcase your key achievements and hireability. Discover how you can use your own marketing skills to market yourself – and hopefully land your dream inbound marketing job in the process.
1. Know the Kind of Job You Want
It might sound obvious, but your first step is to decide what kind of job you want. That’s because if you can define your dream role from the outset you will be able to tailor your content to appeal to your dream employer. It helps you understand the skills and core competencies hiring managers are looking for and how your background and skillset make you the perfect candidate. When deciding what kind of job you would like there are many factors to consider – simply work through the list below to help you define yours.
Questions to Ask to Help You Define Your Dream Role:
- Do you want a B2B job or a B2C job?
- Do you want a specialist inbound marketing role that focuses on content marketing, SEO or email marketing or would you rather a more generalist inbound marketing role (covering all or most inbound marketing skills)?
- Would you prefer to work for a large corporate company as part of a sizeable digital marketing team or for a start up as the sole digital marketer?
- Does an agency or in-house role appeal to you more?
- What kind of culture will inspire you and make you feel welcome?
2. Create a Clean & Clear Format
HubSpot has created a set of downloadable and customisable resume templates that inbound marketers can download for free. The set includes templates for 10 of the most popular inbound marketing positions, including Social Media Specialist, SEO Specialist, Content Producer and Email Marketing Specialist. The templates are created to help inbound marketers understand what hiring managers are looking for. However, of course, if you do download one of these templates you should edit your template to fit your own unique value proposition.
You can also take a look at Next Generation’s free CV templates to get a feel for what recruiters want to see on a CV.
If You Prefer to Create Your Own CV Format, Here Are Some Tips:
- Clear Headlines – Headings and subheadings should be clear, bold and immediately identifiable. Maintain a consistent theme for job title headlines. For example, you can decide to include your position first, followed by the company and then the date.
- Bullet Points – Make effective use of bullet points to ensure your CV is easily scannable – they can be used to highlight key accomplishments and/or key tasks you took ownership of in each job, for example.
- Short Paragraphs – Any paragraph you include should be super short and to the point. Consider adding a few lines introducing each job, followed by a set of bullet points detailing key activities and achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Experience First, Education Second – Industry experience (or demonstrated ability) is more important than education for most jobs in the inbound marketing industry so lead with your relevant experience first and follow up with your education details.
3. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition
What makes you uniquely valuable to an organisation? For example, do you understand the way people, think and act? Or do you have a super analytical mind that thrives on solving complex problems? Understanding the true benefit you can bring to the company will help you communicate your unique value proposition. Take note of the tips outlined below as you write yours.
Tips for Defining Your Unique Value Proposition:
- Your unique value proposition should be relevant to the specialist inbound marketing role you are applying for (that’s why step 1 above is so important).
- Choose a few job ads that appeal to you and scan them for key terms and skills that appear again and again.
- Identify the core skills and competencies the job market needs by reading recent industry reports and surveys.
- Your unique value proposition needs to set you apart from the competition so rather than just mentioning a skill outlined in the job spec, it should demonstrate your unique ability to go above and beyond.
- Keep it short, succinct and to the point – ideally one or two sentences.
- Place your value proposition at the top of the CV so your potential employer can quickly see why they should keep reading.
- Ensure it demonstrates your ability to help the company grow (something that every employer wants to see).
4. List Your Key Achievements
If a hiring manager scans your CV, what do they want to see immediately? Your ability to make a relevant impact within an organisation. Create a list of your key achievements to help potential employers understand how you’ve helped other people’s businesses to grow (and how you might do the same for them).
You’ve heard of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound) goals, right? Your Achievements Should be SMART Too. Think back to your proudest accomplishments and use the examples below as templates to help you create yours. Of course, you should customise them based on the job tone and the specific skills it requires, etc.
Examples of Key Achievements to Include:
- I netted x new Twitter followers for x business in x time period.
- I increased the organic traffic on x blog by x% over x time period.
- I increased the email engagement for x company by x% over x time period.
5. Showcase Proof
The purpose of providing links is to minimise the effort your potential employer has to go to in order to research you. Essentially you’re identifying their pain points and understanding that they don’t have time to research every last candidate. You can ease the time constraint of potential employers and help yourself stand out as a stellar candidate by showcasing proof of your achievements.
Examples of How You Can Showcase Proof:
- Link to a website you’ve created, a social media community that you’ve grown significantly or a blog you’ve increased the organic traffic for, etc.
- If you own your own blog or have created your own website or web project you’re particularly proud of you can link to this too.
- Include screenshots of any positive analytics that demonstrate your ability to grow traffic or enhance revenue, for example.
- Feel free to get a little creative and consider if there are other screenshots you can include – for example, is there a tweet from an influencer you’re particularly proud of that showcases your ability to build powerful relationships?
- Link to any online certifications or digital certifications you have earned.
- Make it easier for companies to research you by including your Twitter handle and/or the link to your LinkedIn profile.
6. Remove all Jargon
Here’s a rule: if you’d struggle to explain the meaning of a term to a friend don’t include it. If your achievements are buried underneath jargon it makes it hard for a potential employer to understand what you’re talking about, never mind identify the strengths you can bring to their company. The ability to communicate clearly and accurately is a key skill inbound marketers need to possess so it’s important to use simple, clear and plain (yet, engaging) English.
Tips for Creating a Jargon Free CV:
- The next time you’re tempted to include “impressive” sounding jargon terms stop for a second and think, ‘What does that really mean?’
- Ensure your achievements are as clear as they can be (remember some recruiters will never have worked in your industry so may be unfamiliar with industry jargon anyway).
- Removing any superfluous words or terms that might distract from your achievements – watch out for excessive adjectives and/or adverbs that add little value to your CV.
- Choose clarity and simple, natural language over buzzwords and more complex terms.
Remember: Market Yourself Like a Marketer
From the above list, you can see that marketing yourself on your CV is much like marketing a digital campaign. You’ll need to identify your objective (the job you want), your target audience (the skills your potential employer is looking for), your unique value proposition (the competencies that help you stand out from your “competitors”) and the reasons potential employers should get in touch (after reading your key achievements and proof points).
Keep your content clear, on-point and concise. Identify pain points and showcase how you can help alleviate them – think like a marketer and you won’t go far wrong. Good luck with the job hunting!