Demonstrating your worth: Selling yourself in your resume

How to sell yourself in your resume

By demonstrating your worth.

Jacquie Liversidge

By Jacquie Liversidge

How to really sell yourself in your resume

Getting a job is just about putting together a resume that just sells yourself, right? Skills and all that?

Not quite.

Absolutely fundamental to getting work anywhere is demonstrating your worth to the organisation.

Let’s break that down.


The business you are applying to is likely just that—a business. Unless it’s a government tribunal or administrative service, the place you are likely applying to only exists because at some point it quite good at generating money. If you’re a teacher, the school you’re applying for at some point had to demonstrate its worth to get it’s students = funding = money.

It’s all about money.

Remembering that it is all about money is really important, and it’s going to underpin what we are going to return to in this article time and time again.

When you put your resume together, you are selling yourself—but in order to close that sale and get to interview you need to demonstrate your value. You need to communicate what you can bring which will add value to that business.

Remember when we used to put birth dates on resumes? There was a reason for this: it added value. I remember applying for Coles when I was 15 and I added my birth date to my resume. My friends who worked at Coles told me that it was better to get a job there before I was 16, because Coles would have to pay me more from then on. There was almost nothing else on my resume at that stage apart from my birth date, because without any other skills to offer, that was my biggest value. I was cheap labour. And it was also all I needed, I got the job.

The labour movement has been really important to ensuring Australians get a fair go. But, where it’s been great for workers, it’s made it that much harder for employers to fire workers who are taking value away from the business. And therefore, you need to work that bit harder to get the job.

Job applications are getting more complicated.

Have you ever wondered why a simple application for Woolworths is not that at all? It’s online testing. Quizzes. Specific directions need to be followed.

Roles for simple, full-time jobs are increasingly outlined in tedious lists of dot points under sections like Responsibilities, Outcomes, Duties. That’s because if you’re not the person for the job, but you get the job, the business suffers. They know how much they will suffer if you’re not the right person for the job. They know how hard it is legally to remove you from the company.

This is why it is so fundamental to demonstrate your worth now.

An example:

Envision that you are a sales person. You are applying for a sales role. You think about what to list in your resume, and it’s quite easy: awarded X award for national achievement in May, 2019. Consistently met sales benchmarks. Succeeded in gaining $15,000 above target for September 2019. This is demonstrating the value you bring.

Now, envision you’re an experienced administrator hoping to go into office management. It’s a small company in Moonah, TAS, and the company is after an Office Manager that can ensure the office runs smoothly.

You could focus on things like your previous experience using information management systems, which has some merit, your typing speed, well, sure—why not.

But the way we really want to be thinking about this is how the role serves the business.

An Office Manager doesn’t bring in money directly like a sales person. The Office Manager will likely have some dealings with clients. So talk about your ability to maintain these important relationships. Talk about your communication skills, and we’re starting to get somewhere.

But the key function of something like an Office Manager is to save time in the future. Your role will need to proactively ensure current compliance, because the manager is remembering that time with former Office Manager John in 2001 when he did not maintain compliance for that financial year, and the business was liable. They got fined by the ATO. John did not. It was a major headache, and it took up the valuable time of management in fixing these issues.

How jobs are created.

The whole reason that new jobs are created is because business is something like a pyramid. For example, let’s say Jean, a plasterer and sole trader, embarks with their van into the precarious waters of self-employment. It’s a roaring success, and Jean is having trouble staying on top of their paperwork. They hire Bob. Because it’s not worth Jean’s time to be doing that work. And Bob needs work, but doesn’t have plastering skills.

Jean is now the top brick in a very small pyramid.

Jean, uninterrupted by paperwork, creates greater value for their business by establishing a bigger client base. They have the time to leverage their networks, and establish some lucrative contracts. Jean now needs plastering staff to help. She advertises and hires 4. The phone is ringing off the hook, and Jean knows they they’re not the best sales person. They hire a sales person. All of a sudden (realistically, this is more like a 5 year period) Jean is at the top of the business of tradespeople, administration and sales staff.

Jean’s time, at the top of the business, is starting to be worth an awful lot to people. And because their time is valuable, they can afford to pay others to fulfill tasks which enable them to focus on the money-making aspects of their business. The sales person is paid to directly generate money. The administrative staff are there to keep the boat afloat.

We get that. So now let’s action it.

When you consider your resume objectively, does it communicate your worth? Can you with confidence say that your resume leverages your best achievements and fully explores your most valuable skills? Have you researched the types of jobs you are going for, and have you got a firm understanding of the roles you are applying for?

You need to be thinking critically about what the role asks for, what you bring, and what content you need to join the two together. 

Your worth has a dollar value to someone. Leverage it.

Happy hunting!

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