The first step to landing a marketing role is providing a compelling resume that distinguishes you from others. The document's purpose is to provide your career history and generate interest in your work as a creative professional. However, the application process for marketing roles can be intensely competitive (even in today’s candidate-friendly environment). It’s possible your marketing resume will be vying for the attention of a hiring manager alongside dozens, if not hundreds, of other candidates.

Knowing this, how can you draft a resume that persuades the employer to not only keep reading—but move your application into the “yes” pile? Read on for tactics to create a knockout marketing resume that lands interviews.

Remember the basics

Focus on the fundamentals. Consider the following best practices to sidestep common errors and to help you build the framework required to draft a stunning marketing resume.

Be concise. Keep your points short and snappy. Meandering and wordy language detracts from your content’s impact.

Be consistent. Use the same patterns of bolding, punctuation, and formatting throughout. The same rule holds true with tenses: Whichever you choose, ensure it remains uniform throughout.

Include action-oriented terms. Action verbs such as "initiate," "lead" and "manage," indicate you are motivated and energetic. Passive language tends to be less eye-catching and removes the focus from you—the candidate!

Don’t go overboard on the design. An elegantly formatted resume is a plus, but use discernment when selecting a template. Cartoonish fonts or an ultra-flashy look may distract from your experience and qualifications.

Be specific. Avoid vague or generic statements. They not only lack punch, they don’t offer the reader much insight into your skills and abilities. Show don’t tell. For example, if you’re a “team player” or “highly motivated”—how so? Describe your qualities using specific reasoning and concrete examples.

Research keywords. Resumes are frequently filtered through an applicant tracking system (ATS). Weaving in relevant keywords can increase the chances your marketing resume lands in front of human eyes. Additionally, you will also catch the attention of hiring managers and recruiters skimming for those key terms.

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Know your audience and tailor your approach

Sending out a one-size-fits-all draft of your resume to numerous employers may initially seem more efficient but could ultimately result in fewer responses—thus creating more work for you in the long run.

Even if you’re applying for a range of similar marketing roles, each position will come with its own unique blend of requirements. Have a basic draft of your marketing resume you can tailor to your audience on a case-by-case basis. You don’t necessarily need to make dramatic adjustments for each submission, either. Read the job description carefully and use your best judgement to determine the level of customization. A role with highly specific or unusual requirements may call for some significant tweaks, but even a few finessed bullet points or sentences that directly speak to the employer’s needs can set you apart.

Doing your research beforehand will help you fine-tune accordingly. Keep the basic job requirements in mind, but also do some digging on the firm’s website regarding their mission, brand voice, company culture, and any other distinguishing characteristics.

Making the effort to tailor your resume to the audience will highlight that you have a strong level of interest and attention to detail. This further distinguishes you from the competition. 

Craft a vivid career story and UVP for your marketing resume

You’ll likely be in competition with numerous other highly qualified marketing pros who also meet all the basic requirements in the job listing. However, a truly effective marketing or creative professional resume will showcase your professional journey and unique value proposition as a marketer.

You have a distinct mixture of characteristics, abilities, and experiences that set you apart from other candidates; it’s simply a matter of determining what makes you different and emphasizing those points concisely yet impactfully in your resume. Do you have a special knack for analyzing marketing data and identifying emerging trends? Are you passionate about SEO and use your own blend of creativity and logic to determine just the right keywords and phrases to significantly boost traffic and conversions?

Here are some pointers to showcase your career story and UVP:

Describe your impact. Don’t just flatly list skills. Describe your abilities and characteristics. But focus on the achievements that were a direct result of those abilities. Think in terms of ROI. And the more specificity the better.

Back up your accomplishments with quantifiable info. Quantify your impact in past roles wherever possible: Can your contributions be measured in an objective way with numbers and percentages? Phrases such as “increased visitors” or “helped drive leads” are open to interpretation and vague. But explaining that your work led directly to an increase in traffic, sales or leads by X percent within a certain timeframe eliminates ambiguity and adds merit to your accomplishments.

Highlight your passions and talents. What sparks your interest about your field and how can you convey this? Have you received any industry awards or recognition from employers? Have you completed any professional development courses? Point out any ways you’ve excelled or achieved beyond what’s necessary using concrete examples.

A final word on marketing resumes

As a creative professional and marketer, you’re already well-versed in communicating ideas effectively and persuading your audience. Crafting a head-turning marketing resume is simply a matter of applying those same talents to showcasing your own abilities, accomplishments, and qualities. Keep the above pointers top of mind when writing your resume.