Do you have a professional profile on your resume? A professional profile is the perfect opportunity for you to open your resume with a bang, and show potential employers why you are their ideal candidate. In fact, if you don’t currently have a professional profile on your resume, you are overlooking a key piece of the puzzle, and could be missing out on the chance to interview for your dream roles.
If you aren’t sure how to write a professional profile, never fear. I have broken it down for you in this post, however, you will find more information about professional profiles in my DIY resume course, Detox Your Resume. If you need to write or update your resume, this course is super helpful, as it takes you through each of the steps and provides loads of examples, templates and ideas to help you maximise the success of your resume.
In the meantime, let’s focus on your professional profile.
1. don't be afraid to sell yourself - this is your opportunity
One of the things I find my clients struggling with the most when they write their professional profile, is the fact that they have to up the ante and sell themselves. I get it, selling your skills and achievements can be hard. But, your resume is a sales document and your professional profile is the introduction to that sales document. If you don’t catch your reader’s attention in the professional profile, they may not bother reading on. And that would be a disaster for your chances of getting the role. Here are a couple of tips to help you.
- Imagine you are writing a professional profile for a friend, with your skills and experience. Think of how you would promote them and sell them to potential employers. It is sometimes easier if you take the focus off yourself and write about somebody else.
- Be bold and brashy. Write your professional profile in a way that is totally over the top, over-confident and maybe even embarrassing. This is a good place to start, because you can always tone it back – this exercise just helps to get the ideas out onto paper.
- Ask someone else to help you. Whether this is a friend or a Career Coach, it can often help to bounce ideas off someone else.
The long and the short of it is that you need to get over your self-promotion blocks. If you can’t move past it at the resume stage, you will find it even more difficult when you get to an interview.
2. focus on your achievements
Another problem I see when people are writing their professional profiles, is making sweeping, generalist statements that could apply to anybody. Sure, you might have excellent attention to detail and strong leadership skills, but what have you done in your career to demonstrate these skills? That’s where the meat is.
When you focus on what you have done, or achieved, rather than what you can do, you make your argument more convincing. After all, past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. That’s why employers conduct behavioural interviews and reference checks. They want to know what you have done. Achievements don’t lie.
3. use my professional profile formula
I teach this formula in my Detox Your Resume eCourse, but I am sharing a snippet with you here today. In order to write the perfect professional profile, there are four things you will want to highlight.
- Experience – what have you done?
- Skills – what are you good at?
- Passion – what do you love doing?
- Evidence – what are your qualifications?
If you incorporate all four of these things into your professional profile, you are well on your way to a more convincing resume.
Your professional profile is your opportunity to pitch yourself to an employer – don’t waste it!
4. use first person language
Every time I see a resume with a professional profile written in the third person, I cringe. Seriously. There is a time and a place for third-person profiles, but your resume is not one. Not quite sure what I mean? This is an example of a statement written in the third-person:
“Rebecca is an experienced Career Coach and Resume Writer with over ten year’s experience in human resources.”
Now here is the first person version of the same statement:
"I am an experienced Career Coach and Resume Writer, with over ten year’s experience in human resources.”
It’s not that big of a difference, right? So, why is it such a big deal? When you are applying for a job, you, yourself are submitting an application, with the aim of convincing a potential employer that you are the right person for their job. There is not some imaginary third person applying on your behalf, so why would you write your professional profile as though there was? It doesn’t make sense.
Would you write a letter to a friend in the third person?
“Rebecca wishes you a happy birthday.”
Nope? In short, the same goes for your resume. I promise you. It won’t get you anywhere.
5. stick to a maximum of two paragraphs
Once you get on a roll, there is probably heaps you can say about your skills, experience and achievements, right? Just keep in mind that your professional profile is a summary. Think of it as a teaser for the information to come, in your resume, cover letter and interview. You don’t need to fit it all into your professional profile.
I have found that one to two paragraphs is usually plenty for your professional profile. This will allow you to give an insight into your situation, and follow the professional profile formula I laid out above.
6. tell your potential employer why you are suited to this specific job
Finally, you want to tell your potential employer why you are suited to this specific role. There is no point building yourself up as an amazing administrative assistant, if the role you are applying for is a CEO. When you are going through each step of the professional profile formula, make sure that you are taking the role into consideration.
Does this mean you have to write a new professional profile for each role you are applying for?
Absolutely. In most cases you will be able to use the bones of your professional profile and just change a couple of words, assuming that you are applying for the same types of roles each time. But it is a good habit to review your professional profile each time you are applying for a job. After all, you can then make sure it meets the requirements and uses similar language to that used in the job advertisement.
So, what do you think? Are you going to include a professional profile in your next resume? Don’t forget, if you are looking for more information about how to write your professional profile, we can work through this in one of my career coaching sessions. Prefer the DIY option? Check out my Detox Your Resume eCourse, which will guide you through all the steps needed to write the perfect resume.