Why Every Résumé Needs a Value Proposition (and How to Make it Stand Out)

Countless résumé-writing tips and resources can be found online at any given time. Yet, without specifically researching the latest recruitment trends and preferences, it’s quite easy to become entrenched in an outdated process. In fact, there are obsolete forms of advice circulating résumé-writing blogs more often than not. It’s vital that résumé-writers and job seekers remember that in this digital age, résumés must clearly and quickly reflect what makes a candidate truly valuable to a prospective employer: also known as value proposition.

Career coach, résumé-writer, and experienced recruiter, Lynda Spiegal, has shared some helpful tips on the importance of highlighting a job candidate’s value proposition.

Value Proposition - Old Typewriter

What is Value Proposition?

You may have heard of an Employee Value Proposition (or EVP), which is essentially a way for companies to reveal to potential employees what makes their organization a unique and desirable place to work. Employers use EVPs to attract top talent by displaying their company’s most favorable and positive attributes.

Similarly, a résumé’s value proposition is how a candidate demonstrates his or her potential “worth” to prospective employers. Spiegal states that a value proposition tell recruiters, “this is who I am, and this is what I do and here’s how I do it exceptionally well”.  An effective value proposition statement offers specific information depicting why this individual should stand out among others in his or her field.

Five Résumé Habits that Decrease the Impact of Your Value Proposition:

1.  An Overly “Busy” Résumé

Remember that recruiters are likely sorting through hundreds of résumés at a time, and a résumé that looks too busyValue Proposition - Green and Black Graphic or crowded will work against the power of its value proposition. You want to present prospective employers with a clean looking and “reader-friendly” résumé.  Spiegal recommends using an average sized san-serif font and limiting your résumé to no more than two pages. She also suggests leaving “enough border space to be visually appealing as well as to allow an interviewer to make notes in the margins”.

2.  Too Much Information

While transparency is always commendable, offering a superfluous amount of information in your résumé is not only unnecessary, but a distraction from your value proposition. Obviously, sidetracking a hiring manager’s attention away from the central theme is not ideal. Therefore, “select what’s important and what demonstrates not just that you did your job, but that you were great at what you did,” says Spiegal.

3.  Focusing the Objective on Yourself

Leading your résumé with an “objective statement” is often a common practice, but whose objective is it? Many candidates make the mistake of stating their own objective, which is not helpful to employers and certainly will not make your résumé stand out. Skip your objective, and start your résumé off with a compelling value proposition or Value Proposition - Notebook planprofessional branding statement, says Spiegal.

4.  Using More Terms than Examples

“Hard-working, creative, collaborative, team-player”:  Employers are used to seeing these words on virtually every résumé that they read. Your résumé should go a step further by actually backing up the terms you use to describe yourself. Rather than simply stating you have a successful track record in a particular area, provide specific examples of instances where you excelled.

5.  Overlooking Important Keywords

“You may be the most qualified candidate out of the hundreds who apply, but if the ATS (applicant tracking system software) rejects you, your prospective employer won’t know it,” says Spiegal. A résumé should be written in accordance with the job description. Search the description for “keywords” and incorporate them appropriately throughout your résumé. Researching how applicant tracking systems operate is an important task for all job seekers and résumé-writers.

Read Lynda Spiegal’s original article: “Résumé Advice to Differentiate Your Value Proposition”.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon offers an array of career services to both individuals and corporations. Our staff is dedicated to our clients’ success via innovative job search processes, employment management strategies, and state-of-the-art technologies. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200