Marketing Pro Sells Soft Skills on Resume

Anne Neczypor soothed personality disputes and eased tensions in her last role as editor of Broadcast Standards & Practices. But how do you detail these accomplishments without writing a “fluffy” resume?

In the writers’ room, creative teams used to answer phone calls from the corporate office formally, rigidly, even coldly.

It didn’t take long before Anne Neczypor bridged that divide with her natural ability to build alliances. Soon after she was named editor of Broadcast Standards & Practices at one of the Big Three TV stations in New York City, the senior-level marketing and advertising manager had melted the creative/corporate freeze. Now, when they see it’s Neczypor calling, the writers pick up the phone and joke: “Uh-oh, what did I do?”

The ability to build that type of camaraderie is invaluable to a company. It’s also something that Neczypor’s resume omitted until mid-May, when she had her resume rewritten by Andrew Pearl, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders.

But how exactly does one put into words the subtle human interaction of a defrosted relationship? Even the term “alliance builder,” a phrase Pearl used in the new resume, didn’t occur to this MktgLadder member as something people would value in her or even something that was part of the marketing jobs she’d had — it was, simply, just who she was.

“I like making things as easy and positive as possible,” Neczypor said. “[Pearl] put that on my resume as if it were an accomplishment. But really, that’s just who I am.”

Marketing pros, sell thyself

Pearl, for his part, always finds it interesting when a client such as Neczypor has a strong background as a writer — particularly with advertising and marketing experience — yet can’t see themselves as the product being sold.

“She’s got a background in advertising, but it’s a very different experience, to see yourself as the product,” Pearl said. “For advertising clients, it’s like a mirror. … Hopefully I brought out (some of Neczypor’s abilities) because I bring objectivity. I can see her as a product that’s different from anything she might have marketed in the past.”

After all, in Neczypor’s world of broadcasting, facilitating communications is a critical ability, Pearl points out. “Decision makers want somebody who will work well on their teams.”

This is how Pearl encapsulated that critical ability in the summary section at the top of Neczypor’s tuned-up resume:

“Adept communicator offering track record of identifying creative solutions, contributing to revenue generation, and improving processes as well as building alliances, developing efficient internal initiatives, and elevating visibility of organizations.”

The skills you were born with count too

Omitting critical abilities because it’s “just you” is a common error job seekers make when composing their resumes. Another common error is to omit things that are “just part of my job.” In Neczypor’s case, that includes training for FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations, for copyright law, for ethical advertising practices and for children’s advertising and regulations.

Now that the resume overhaul has uncovered her accomplishments and abilities, her initial resume seems “extremely lackluster,” Neczypor said. “I didn’t include what I achieved and accomplished, just what my responsibilities were,” she said. “All those silly classes I had to take for my job … (weren’t) even on my resume beforehand. That’s just part of my job, knowing that stuff. … As a modest American lady, I’m not terribly good at bragging about myself. That’s why it’s so helpful to have on a resume things you’ve accomplished and what you’ve done and what you contributed to organizations.”

When she saw the new resume, her first response was, “I did all that?” Neczypor said. “They made me look better than the old resume did but not better than what I am. They put into extremely concise, effective language everything that I’ve done. They represented my worth as an employee very well.”