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How to Write a Solid Summary Statement for Your Resume, Part IV: The Branding Statement

Updated: Mar 25

When it comes to your resume summary, you could just list your job title and a basic summary paragraph or bullet points, then move right into your professional experience. But why stop there?

 

Adding a branding statement makes a big difference in how the hiring manager connects with what you’ve written. In this post, I’ll explain what a branding statement is and show you how to write one to ensure your summary statement is as strong as possible.

 

Note: This is the fourth post in the series “How to Write a Solid Summary Statement for Your Resume.” Revisit posts one through three for information on why a summary is crucial in representing yourself professionally. In those posts, I show you how to develop high-quality content and write the first two sections of your resume summary: the job title line and the summary paragraph or bullet points.

 

As a reminder, here are the three steps to writing a solid summary statement:

 

Step 1: Find a Job Description.

Step 2: Explore your career successes.

Step 3: Write the sections of your resume summary.

 

A resume summary has five parts: the job title line, the summary paragraph or bullet points, the branding statement, technical skills or areas of expertise, and quotes. This post covers the third part of the summary section, the branding statement. Read to the end of the post for a bonus example of a lengthier summary section.

 

Step 3.3: Develop your branding statement.

 

What is a branding statement?

A branding statement is an even more compact statement than the summary, comprised of only one or two short sentences, preferably less than 20 words. It briefly narrows down your values, experience, most appreciated characteristics, or most significant achievements at work. Think of it as your personal tagline for who you are at work.

 

It’s different from your summary paragraph because it quickly gives insights into your career and industry, setting you apart from the other candidates. Designed to impress the hiring manager within the first second or two of glancing at your resume, it encourages them to continue reading your summary paragraph, which provides a longer introduction with more accomplishments and metrics. The branding statement inspires them to contact you for an interview.

 

When writing your branding statement, ask yourself what soft skills or technical abilities you possess that are crucial to the position you’re applying for. If you have won an award or have a notable achievement, that would go in your branding statement, so it’s front and center on your resume.

 

Use short, strong words and phrases that describe your professional reputation and align with the brand of the company you’re targeting. This is an example of a branding statement for a mechanical engineer:

 

Pioneering solutions development strategist with 20+ years’ experience driving growth for billion-dollar companies.

 

The following are steps for creating your branding statement.

 

Do this branding statement exercise.

To elicit the best words for your branding statement, take time to brainstorm. Using a sheet of paper, make three columns — one for nouns, one for verbs, and one for adjectives. In the first column, write down nouns that best describe what you do in addition to the official job title you’ve been assigned, such as strategist above.

 

Use a verb list, such as my “The Best Verb for Your Resume Blurb” e-book (coming soon), for powerful action verbs that demonstrate the unique actions you take to perform your job duties. Write those in the second column. Driving is a strong verb, as shown in the example above.

 

In the adjectives column, list words you use to describe yourself, such as pioneering from the example branding statement. Think of what sets your work apart from the rest. If you struggle to see yourself in a positive light, you may find this part of the exercise challenging. Ask someone who knows your work how they would describe you.

 

Even if coming up with these words is easy, asking for others’ perspectives can give you new insights into your performance and how you are valued at work. Consider doing a personal branding assessment like 360Reach or Strengths Finder. You can also use performance evaluations, emails from coworkers, and thank-you notes you’ve received to find ways of describing yourself and your work. These can provide descriptors for a branding statement you would not have thought of yourself.

 

Once you have your lists of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, reorganize each category in order of importance. Then, try putting the word parts together into phrases. Even if they sound silly, keep all your ideas. With reflection, eventually, something will come together in a way that makes sense.

 

After you have some promising lines, think about them from the hiring manager’s perspective. What would make you most appealing to them? Use language that best connects you with what they are looking for.

 

Just as it takes companies time to develop a good tagline, writing the best sentence or two for your brand might take a while. Run your ideas past a trusted friend for feedback until you get the right combination of words that make an impact.

 

Pick a placement for your branding statement.

A branding statement can be placed anywhere at the top of your resume, before or after your job title line. It can be placed before the summary paragraph as a hook to keep them reading, or after to maintain interest.

 

Here's a branding statement placed above the job title:




 

Here's a branding statement positioned after the title but before the summary:

 


 

A branding statement and your summary paragraph can convince a hiring manager to call you for an interview.

 

Expand on your brand.

Now that you know a bit about personal branding, you may want to write a lengthier summary section instead of just a short summary paragraph or bullet points. Some resumes have lengthier summaries with more bullets and short paragraphs to provide more details about the candidate’s personal brand.

 

Writing a more comprehensive summary section is fine, even expected for executives, as long as it’s packed with accomplishments and metrics targeted to the reader, not just fluff. Keeping it to no more than two-thirds of the first page will allow you to start your professional experience on page one.

 

Here’s what that looks like:

 

 

This lengthier format allowed this candidate to expand on their relevant brand attributes of partnership designer, corporate advocate, trusted advisor, and government negotiator. A longer summary gives you space to include more achievements and metrics than a simple summary paragraph, further aligning your brand with the employer’s.

 

Adding a branding statement and a more extended, branded summary section is a solid strategy for gaining the hiring manager’s attention and persuading them to continue reading your resume.

 

In addition to your job title, summary paragraph or bullet points, and branding statement, you may also decide to include a section of technical skills or areas of expertise. I discuss these additional useful sections of the professional summary in the next part of this series, so keep reading to create a solid summary section that will surely win you the interview.

 

 

Want to have all six posts on this topic in one convenient e-book? Download “How To Write a Solid Summary Statement for Your Resume.” (Coming soon.)

 

Need personal assistance with your resume or job search? Book a complimentary consultation today and grow your career with Kristin.



Kristin S. Johnson, CJSS, CCMC, COPNS, CG3C, CBBSC

Job Search Coach and Resume Writer

 

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