By definition, a resume is a formal document outlining your skills, background, and qualifications for a position. While straightforward, the stale definition misses the point of a resume: to sell your skills, knowledge, and abilities to a future employer. Selling is not the same as stating facts. You want to focus on relevant history and experience and describe your roles using active and interesting verbs. If you wish to secure an interview, you must learn how to sell yourself on a resume.
A resume is the first step toward a brilliant agriculture career, but it is not something to rush through. Too many people write their resumes without considering the position they’re applying for. Some even copy and paste an identical resume to every job posting, crossing their fingers that one hiring manager will contact them for an interview. Applying to jobs this way is like playing pin the tail on the donkey; you mindlessly apply without referencing the specifics of each job, possibly getting matched with a subpar employer.
The better way to apply for positions is by researching the post and customizing your resume to the ag employer. You are not inventing details for your resume but using language and terminology familiar to the employer and picking the most relevant pieces of your background to present. If applying to an engineering position, your years of retail experience in high school are not as important as your degree in mechanical engineering or design. That said, retail experience might be necessary if the position has a customer service aspect. Details matter, but only if you know how to frame them for relevance.
What Do You Say to Sell Yourself on a Resume?
Resumes serve as contact documents and introductions. Every resume should contain:
- Contact information
- Professional summary
- Employment history
- Additional skills and background
Learning how to sell yourself on a resume means understanding that every section gives you an opportunity, even the contact information section. You want to include your name, phone number, and email in this section. You should also include your location and if you are willing to relocate. Always use your full name, not nicknames. Also, you want a professional email address. You don’t want to include an email that makes pop culture references or uses strange nicknames. Choose an email address that uses your name, like John.Smith@gmail.com or something similar. Professional contact information lets the employer know that you take your career seriously.
Beyond contact information, you want to include a brief summary at the top of the resume that ties your experience, history, and skills together. The statement should focus on the position you are applying for and how your history makes you the right candidate for the open position. The summary acts as your sales pitch. It is the one opportunity you have, beyond the cover letter, to share, in your own words, why you are right for the agriculture job.
With the final three sections of the resume, you want to highlight relevant history, knowledge, and skills or accomplishments. Choose to include past jobs that had similar responsibilities or skills. Discuss degrees and certifications that apply to the position. Finally, include background details and skills that show your knowledge of systems and routines the employer may use or focus on.
What Are Some Examples of How to Sell Yourself on a Resume?
Hiring managers often scan resumes, paying particular attention to the summary or personal statement at the top of the document. The two-to-three-sentence introduction is like a 30-second elevator pitch, so you want to get as much information in as possible without sounding overly pompous or like you're bloating the facts. For instance, a professional agriculture maintenance mechanic with a background in small equipment and engines may write something like:
“Maintenance mechanic, analytically driven, with over five years of experience focusing on intricate agricultural equipment and instrumentation. Highly adaptable and known for maintaining safe working environments and producing quality, error-free results.”
Also, focus on your employer’s needs. Too many applicants focus on what they need from a company rather than on how they can contribute to its success. Every employer knows applicants need a job and want money, but it is not their responsibility to employ everyone. The main thing an employer wants is for their company to succeed and thrive. Knowing how to sell yourself on a resume means showing a hiring manager how you can contribute to the existing corporate culture. Also, it means showing how your skills translate into further success for the company. If you can do these things, you have a better chance of securing an interview. Some examples of relevant skills might be:
- Data visualization
- Machine learning
- Attention to detail
Remember that every skill you list on your resume should be relevant and provable. Before heading into an interview, you should have at least one or two prepared examples for each skill.
How Can You Sell Yourself on a Resume With No Experience?
Selling yourself on a resume with no experience is challenging, especially in a competitive marketplace. That said, it’s not impossible. First, you must customize your resume for the open position. Applying with a generic resume is the worst thing for someone without experience. Second, use social media. Interact with the company on social networks, commenting and sharing its blogs and posts. Sometimes, social recognition is enough to get you in the door, or at least beyond the slush pile. Finally, use sites like LinkedIn to connect with recruiters or hiring managers and memorize your elevator pitch. Also, network with current employees and ask for referrals when appropriate.
How To Sell Yourself on a Resume Successfully
If you want to know how to sell yourself on a resume, you must learn how to research ag job openings and craft your resume for the position. Your resume is your introduction to an employer. By crafting your resume and focusing on what you can do for your future employer, you improve your chances of securing an interview. So, before you write your resume, use AgHires job board to find open positions. Select a few openings and write a unique resume for each. AgHires is always here to help with your next career move. Find more tips and tricks on the AgHires job seeker blog.