A position requires “strategic thinking.” What’s the best way to show that I have this attribute?

We receive a large amount of résumés that lead with the attribute of strategic thinking in the professional summary section. This descriptor may have become so overused in the workplace that it has lost its original meaning and the power to impress.

When we compare the professional profiles of junior marketers with those of senior marketers, we sometimes see very similar phrasing. Clearly, no one wants to be considered a worker drone without ideas and visions. Labeling oneself a strategic thinker suggests that the candidate is smart, thinks big picture and sees the interconnectivity of events, systems and enterprises.

We have observed that the people hired for marketing roles have targeted skills and specific industry knowledge to offer, plus proof of program successes. It’s not enough to claim to be a strategic thinker without making the connection to implementation.

We encourage job seekers to eliminate as many cliché phrases as possible in their résumés and to discuss strategies only when they are linked to tactics. Hiring managers tell us that the competencies they seek in marketing managers are effective and detailed planning experience, strong project management capability, and in-depth analytical proficiency.

Analytical, optimization, project management, or targeted communications planning skills are the most desirable. So, rather than describing yourself in general terms as a strategic thinker, it may be more effective to let the prospective hiring manager know that your strategic planning was focused, that the plan of action was integrated into the overall marketing strategy and that the execution achieved the marketing goals. Highlight the battles you have won, the plans used to win them, and the insights gained from them. l

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