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How to Write a Marketing Resume Hiring Managers Will Notice [Free 2021 Templates + Samples]

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It’s ironic, but despite knowing how to sell products and services, so many marketers have a hard time selling themselves. It can often be difficult to turn the spotlight inward, but creating a standout resume is a skill all marketers need to perfect if they want to grow their career.

How to Write a Marketing Resume

If you’re a marketer whose resume could use a little polish, don’t worry. With just a few resources and some actionable tips from hiring managers themselves, we’ll help you create a truly impressive marketing resume that’s sure to stand out to recruiters.

1. Start with a template.

To make things easy and increase your effectiveness, don’t start from scratch. Resume templates give you a starting place for layout and formatting as well as inspiration for what to include.

Featured Resource: 12 Free Resume Templates

resume templates

Download 12 free designed, formatted, and customizable resume templates here. Take a look at them, and then use the advice below to customize your resume and make it rise above the rest in the stack.

Alternatively, there are resume builder tools out there that can help as well.

2. Know your target audience.

You never start a marketing campaign without knowing who you want to reach. That’s because once you know your target audience, it’s easier for the other decisions to fall into place.

The same logic applies to your resume. If you know who will read it and what’s important to them, you can shape your message accordingly. To do this, you need to think about the type of job and company you’re hoping to work for.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is the job purely in inbound marketing, or will it require both traditional and digital work?
  • Will you be a specialist or a generalist?
  • Who is the employer — an agency with a buzzing digital marketing team in place already, or a small company looking to leverage the power of social media to grow their sales? Or maybe it’s a marketing department within a large and established corporation?

Once you’ve outlined what’s most important to the company and job you’re applying for, you can carefully target your resume to them. You’ll know what skills or traits to highlight, what keywords to use, and which parts of your background will be most interesting to the hiring manager. (For clues about which skills different marketing roles typically require, read this blog post on marketing job descriptions. You can borrow phrasing from those for your own resume.)

3. Define your unique value proposition.

You have a unique blend of skills, characteristics, and experiences that make you different from every marketer. To create a truly effective resume, you need to define exactly what this unique blend is — we’ll call this your value proposition.

To develop your own value proposition, think about what separates you from other marketers. Is it your in-depth knowledge of marketing analytics? Your ability to write irresistible headlines? Perhaps it’s your talent for creating compelling videos? Or maybe you have an impressive record of using social media to drive sales growth? Whatever it is, you can use it to set your resume apart from the crowd.

To a large extent, your value proposition depends on the type of positions and companies you’re targeting. Large and small companies often look for completely different skill sets, as do companies in different industries. So as you think about what makes you uniquely valuable, and how that aligns with the jobs you’re applying to.

4. Describe impact, not features.

One of the oldest copywriting tricks in the book is FAB (features, advantages, benefits).

By selling benefits over features, you’re better able to resonate with your audience because you’re actually painting a picture of what life will be like with the product or service.

The same goes for your resume.

When writing your resume copy, summarizing your experience, or formulating your objective, don’t simply rely on what you’ve done. Instead of creating a list of duties (features) under each role, outline your accomplishments (benefits). These provide a clearer picture of who they’re hiring if they choose you.

For example, instead of “Monitored SEO campaigns,” the following makes a much stronger statement: “Increased organic traffic by 56% in one quarter.”

As a result, the hiring manager is challenged to wonder, “What would life look like if we benefitted from this impact?”

5. Determine your messaging strategy.

It’s crucial to determine your messaging strategy — before you write a single word of your resume. That’s what you do when you’re running a marketing campaign, isn’t it? Here are some of the things to think about:

  • What is the best structure for your resume in order to highlight your value proposition?
  • Which keywords will your ideal employer be looking for?
  • How can you give real-world examples of your value proposition in action? (Think about campaigns you’ve run, social media successes, ideas you developed, etc.)
  • What is the best layout and design to reinforce your message?

All these decisions should be made before you start writing, and they should all be made with your target audience in mind. That way you can be sure that when potential employers read your resume, it will immediately strike a chord.

If you want an example of great messaging in a resume, check out the example below. Look at the progression of roles and key accomplishments in those roles — it tells the applicant’s career story while also making them look exceptionally qualified.

professional experience and progression of roles on a marketing resume

6. Don’t overcomplicate things.

Just like the marketing adage says, “A confused mind says no.”

The best way to convey an idea is… simply. Even when the topic is complex.

With this in mind, consider what message you want to send and keep the copy clear and concise to support it.

Use the layout of your resume to help in this endeavor, and don’t be afraid to trim any unnecessary bits.

7. Make sure your resume gets seen.

If you don’t already have a connection at the company you’re applying to, you’ll most likely need to apply through a computer system. This process is what makes it so critical to upload it in a format that allows all recipients to read it as intended, like a PDF. That way, none of the original formatting or spacing is lost in translation, making it really yucky to read from a recruiter’s perspective. Although they’ll still have access to your resume, confusing formatting might distract them from the content.

Many common applications have similar save or export options that let you ultimately save as a PDF. The most common are Microsoft Word and iWork Pages:

  • Microsoft Word: Choose File > Save as Adobe PDF
  • iWork Pages: Choose File > Export to > PDF

Once you send in your resume, the computer service will do is scan it for relevant keywords that have been programmed in advance by the recruiter. Then, the system will either “pass” or “fail” you, depending on how many keywords and phrases are included in your resume that match what the recruiter’s looking for.

Don’t worry: Even if you “fail,” it doesn’t mean your resume won’t ever get seen by a real human. But it doesn’t look great, either — so try to foresee which keywords the recruiter will be looking for by making a note of all of the skills you have that are relevant to the job description.

Keywords to include might be the names of the social media sites you use, analytics or CRM systems you know, and software programs or SAAS systems you’re familiar with. Make sure you’ve included these terms as seamlessly as possible throughout your resume (where relevant), and add any outliers at the very bottom under a “Technical Skills” or “Digital Marketing Skills” section.

9 Things Hiring Managers Are Looking For in Your Marketing Resume

Sure, computers may be used in the initial screening process, but it’s humans — with real feelings, pet peeves, hobbies, relationships, experiences, and backgrounds — who are ultimately reading and evaluating our resumes.

They’re also the ones who get annoyed when we don’t put our employment record in chronological order; who just don’t feel like reading paragraph-long job descriptions; and who get excited when you went to the same college as them. So to get a sense of what really matters on a marketing resume, I asked some hiring experts what they actually care about when they scan resumes, and here’s the inside scoop on the tips they shared with me. (By the way, don’t miss out on what they said about cover letters at the end.)

six seconds to decide whether they like your resume or not. If they do, they’ll keep reading. If they don’t… well, it’s on to the next. So, chances are, they won’t even get to page two.

In some cases, bleeding onto another page is OK, especially if you have a lot of really relevant experience. But if you have to do that, just don’t exceed two pages. Remember, recruiters can always look at your LinkedIn profile for the full story. (Because you’ve completed your profile on LinkedIn, right?)

Andrew Quinn explains it, “A candidate’s resume is their ad to me. How are they structuring this ad so I get a clear picture of what they’re capable of?”

There’s a fine line, though, warns Marketing Team Operations & Strategy Manager Emily MacIntyre. “If you stray too far from normal formatting, it’s hard to read and understand your resume. Don’t get so creative that your resume becomes difficult to digest.”

Below is an example resume with great formatting that’s easy to read. If you like the format and want to use it as your own, you can find it among our free downloadable resume templates here.

marketing resume template with great formattingThe creatives among you might be asking, “What about infographic resumes?” Here’s the general consensus: Don’t make an infographic resume. Every hiring manager I spoke with advised sticking to the classic resume form instead of infographics or other formats.

“Infographic resumes are impossible to understand,” says MacIntyre. “We appreciate creativity, except when it’s overkill and hard to follow. Keep it simple. Everyone appreciates a simple resume. If you’re a designer, showcase your creativity with a cool portfolio website in addition to your simple resume.”

Below is an example of a creative format that’s still easy to read and understand. It was made using the Apple desktop app iWork Pages, which can be exported as a PDF so none of that beautiful formatting gets messed up in translation.

marketing resume with creative format

See #11 in this blog post to understand why that’s not okay.)

“Formatting, spelling, syntax, and structure are all evidence of attention to detail,” Quinn told me. “This is important for any job, but especially if you’re applying to a job where attention to detail matters.” If you’re applying for a writing position, this is even more important.

marketing certification.

David Fernandez, former Recruiting Team Lead at HubSpot, told me. “If you’re applying for a services position, we’re looking for customer-facing experience.”

example of a marketing resume

Yes, people tweak their titles at previous companies to more closely match the positions they’re applying for. If you do this, your “new” title should be close enough to what you really did that if someone were to call and check a reference, they wouldn’t be dumbfounded. Maybe “Clerk to the Surgical Waiting Room” becomes “Customer Service Clerk.” Also, make sure to change your titles on LinkedIn, too — hiring managers will check for consistency on LinkedIn, Fernandez said.

HubSpot’s culture code if you haven’t already.)

Spend Less Time on These…

Personal Statements/Objectives

In fact, we recommend skipping these altogether. Frankly, they’re irrelevant — not to mention way too easy to screw up. I’ve spoken with HubSpot recruiters about numerous times where candidates put the name of another local company on there — huge mistake.

Instead, replace it with a “Skills” or “Key Skills” section at the top of your resume, in column format, that highlights the top six to nine skills applicable to the role you’re applying for. Be sure to change these skills for each job and use the job description as a guideline.

Don’t plagiarize the job description by any means, but you can pull out key phrases. For example, in the example below, one of the listed skills is “Deep understanding of the consumer lifecycle.” That’s because the job description asked for exactly that: a deep understanding of the consumer lifecycle and customer journey.

Skills section on a resume

Pro Tip: Although you should leave this section off your resume, you should have something in the ‘Summary’ section of your LinkedIn profile. Focus this section on specific skills and achievements. It’s a good place to put a link to your portfolio, blog, SlideShare presentations, or examples of work you’ve created like open-source code.

Use that space to talk about specific achievements from previous roles, awards you’ve won, or projects you’ve worked on. The information and skills on here should be applicable to where you’re headed in your career, not irrelevant past skills. (When I first heard this tip, I immediately took “emergency medicine” off of mine.)

Cover Letters

Cover letters vary in importance, depending on industry, and even on individual company. Here at HubSpot, we phased out requiring one — and instead ask candidates thoughtful questions during our application and interview process. Many companies that require you to write a cover letter will read it, but they’ll focus mostly on your resume.

With this in mind, include important details on your resume, like gaps in employment, rather than relying on your cover letter — which may never get read — to explain it. And reallocate those hours you plan to spend writing and perfecting your cover letter to writing and rewriting your resume. Your resume is the most important tool in the first stage of the application process, so spend a lot of time on it and ask multiple people to critique it.

Marketing Resume Examples

So here are some examples of marketer resumes done well:

1. Andrea Fitzgerald

Marketing Resume Examples: Andrea Fitzgerald

Andrea Fitzgerald uses her page space effectively with listable items on the left and experience on the right. This gives the rest of the resume a little extra “skimmability” so hiring managers can easily find the information important to them.

She also summarizes her achievements in bite-sized sentences. This combined with the vertical format gives a lot of room to fully list out the depth of experience Fitzgerald has.

2. Sarah Casdorph

Marketing Resume Example: Sarah Casdorph Page 1Marketing Resume Example: Sarah Casdorph Page 2

There’s an old saying out there for keeping resumes to one page, but for marketers with extensive experience, the one page isn’t always possible without compromising readability and design. At the same time, anything on the second page is at risk of being ignored.

Sarah Casdorph solves for this, putting top skills on the front page and pulling out “notable impacts” for each position. Not only is her two-pager easily navigable, but there’s a clear trail of achievement.

3. Jess Johnson

Marketing Resume Example: Jess Johnson Page 1Marketing Resume Example: Jess Johnson Page 2

Jess Johnson applied to HubSpot with this resume, tailored to the job and company branding. By taking this unique approach, her goal was to stand out from other applicants. While her resume wasn’t the only factor in her landing the job, I imagine it gained a bit of attention. After all, a hiring manager is looking for applicants they can picture in the position.

4. Natalie Gullatt

Marketing Resume Example: Natalie Gullatt

Natalie Gullatt takes a more traditional approach with her resume, abandoning fancy frills in favor of hard-hitting copy. She expertly conveys her marketing impact with metrics (e.g. “decrease[d] costs by 61%” and “generated a $746k revenue pipeline”) so that anyone considering her for the role can ask themselves: “What if she could do that for us too?”

It’s Just Like Marketing

As a marketer, you have a talent for communication and a solid understanding of what makes people buy. The good news is that by applying this knowledge to your own resume, you can easily stand out from the crowd.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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