JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

What the #dressgate Furor Means for Your Executive Resume

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 5, 2015 8:57:28 AM

Image-the-dress

Do you sometimes just scratch your head because you know you'd be great for the job and you think your resume communicated your qualifications but nobody on the other end "gets" it?

If the impassioned even embittered debate on Twitter and Facebook about whether the above dress is gold and white or blue and black tells us anything, it's that we don't all see the same reality.

I'm afraid this is a rather profound truth and is at the basis of many human misunderstandings. For instance, ISIS sees the world differently from your average Westerner. This ability to look at conditions in the world and perceive radically different things is surely tragic for humanity.

What about the typical spousal debate about money? It's obvious that legal tender is "seen" in different ways by different people. That's why studies show that having very different views of money is a very common cause of divorce.

It's worth pointing out here, though, that without this very human, built-in variety of perceptions we would have no great art, music, drama, or even cosmology to excite, awaken, inform, and inspire people. How often we "see" a new reality when confronted by great art!

So what does all this have to do with your resume? Well, if your resume evokes in the recruiter an entirely different picture of who you are professionally than you thought you were projecting, your candidacy in not apt to go any further.

Many people "perceive" that they are telling the hiring authority that they have the a,b, and c skills and experiences required for the job. But is the recruiter seeing that also? Usually not.

This dilemma is the reason why you as a job seeker need to throw away many of your personal preferences in writing your resume. Instead, follow these simple rules:

  • Weave the exact keywords or key phrases you find in the job ad into your resume's profile and the descriptions of your job responsibilities
  • Take the key skills the job ad specifies and, in addition to weaving them in, provide examples of using them in your jobs
  • Put information the recruiter wants to see in the expected places on the resume: Summary, Experience, Education

Yes, this means customizing every resume you send out to the exact key words and key phrases in the particular job ad.

If you folllow these rules and construct an ATS-friendly resume (see recent blog posts + free example), you will be in a good position to have your resume retrieved by the recruiter in a search.

So, if you don't want your "blue and black" dress to appear "gold and white" when the recruiter wants to see "blue and black," observe the above conventions!

 

 

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Topics: executive resumes, executive resume writing, executive resume, applicant tracking systems, ATS systems, Executive Resume Writer Massachusetts

Why's My Executive Resume Not Working? 2 Words

Posted by Jean Cummings

Oct 22, 2014 11:07:19 AM

Image-Simple

Image attribution: creative arts workshop

It's been a long time since anything's been simple about executive resumes. People ask questions such as: should my resume be two pages or one, can you have three or more pages, how should it look, can I have a functional resume? And, about the response to their resumes people ask: why I am not getting called back, why aren't recruiters contacting me, why have I been looking for months with no luck?

Well, the simple answer to all these questions is, drum roll here, you have to make sure to provide, in your executive resume, a

FAST MATCH

to the job ad. That's it! That's the one important thing your executive resume has to do: provide a fast match to the employer's job ad. If you do this, you will have a resume that has a good chance of getting retrieved electronically when the hiring manager (HM) does a keyword search using the company's ATS - Applicant Tracking System.

Also, by implementing this FAST MATCH technique, the HM is likely to respond positively to your content. S/he will not be worrrying about the length or the look or the style of your resume and you will have a good chance of being contacted.

Also, by providing the HM with the content s/he is seeking in a way that is familiar to them (through their own words), you are respecting their time as well as acknowledging the reality that the HM spends on average 6 seconds scanning each retrieved resume!  

So, how exactly do you do a fast match?* We need to assume that you have selected a job to apply to that is, in fact, a good match for your skills and experience. Then you begin with the job ad. And if you're thinking there's no way you're going to write a different resume for each job ad then you'll be back to asking the questions in paragraph one:)

The first step is to highlight the keywords and key phrases in the job requisition (ad). Then you weave them into your executive resume, paying particular to the following points:

  • The title of the job you are seeking should be at the top of your summary section, like this: "Targeting: Job Title"
  • You make sure the the primary skills being sought are included in the summary you write. It is best here and elsewhere not to rely on a simple lists of keywords alone. Try to include them naturally in the points you are making. If there are too many to substitute in organically, go ahead and include a list at the end of your summary.
  • When you start listing your professional experience, use a 5-line job description to list your primarily activities and responsibilities. This is prime keyword territory! You can substitute in the keywords and key phrases in this section. By doing so, you will be showing the ATS software and the HM that you use these relevant key skills in your job.
  • When you write your bulleted list of accomplishments, be sure to weave in the keywords and phrases. You don't want to have keyword overload, but it is OK to use a given keyword more than once in a resume.
  • With the keywords and key phrases that are less important, or that you were unable to include, or that were worded oddly, you may have a subtitle "Additional Relevant Skills and Knowledge" and list those phrases at the end of the resume. Use the exact wording you find in the job ad. Don't try to be tricky and copy/paste the whole ad in.

If you have done this skillfully, you will satisfy both ATS compliance requirements and attract the HM's interest. You will have demonstrated that your background and skills are a good fit with the target job.

* A very important caveat: your resume must be able to be processed correctly in terms of format and design by the ATS. To find out how to do this please refer to one of my earlier posts.

 

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Topics: executive resume writing, executive resume, ATS, applicant tracking systems

2012 Survey on Hiring Trends Busts Resume Myths

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jul 19, 2012 11:09:00 AM

 Image Pow

Has anybody told you...

You MUST have a 1-page resume. Not true! The Career Directors International survey of recruiters, HR managers, and career coaches/resume writers shows that most people care more about the quality of the material than the length of the resume.

You MUST not go over two pages. NO, see reason above.

You MUST have a QR code on your resume. NO, so far there is no indication that this practice is catching on in a big way; if you put one on your resume, only some will click through.

A video resume is the way to go. NO, with 25% saying they would not view one and 13% saying they would, don't go out of your way to make one.

You don't need to be on social media. NO, Only 27% of people said they don't or rarely use social media to check out a candidate before deciding to interview them.

So, what should job seekers do in a positive direction?

  • Get on Facebook!
  • Get on Twitter!
  • Create a branded 100% complete LinkedIn Profile! Add apps!
  • Write a resume of 2-3 pages that has excellent content.
  • Visually present information so that the resume can be scanned in 1-2 minutes.
  • Extend your online identity footprint; make your content on other sites support your personal and career brand as expressed on your resume.
  • Take advantage of online opportunities for visuals: LinkedIn's slide app, Pinterest, youtube, etc.

Get in gear for the new job search with these suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: job search, LinkedIn, executive resume writing, executive resume, Twitter, Facebook, social search

Save Your Tech Career as Superstacks Take Center Stage

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jun 18, 2012 10:58:00 AM

What superstacks (mobile devices+) mean for youYou already know that cloud computing is now and will continue to be impacting the tye of jobs technologists  and technology executives will have in the future. Another mega trend that will impact tech careers is rapidly becoming a strategic priority for companies: superstacks. The term is so new I couldn't find an image in Google images for it - just pictures of smokestacks!

Smart phones are the earliest manifestations of superstacks. Accenture's Mitch Cline predicts that vertically "stacked" solutions - operating systems + chips + devices + software + web interface + user services - are poised to become a top corporate strategy priority. Superstacks will be needed for new mobility and B.Y.O.D (bring your own device) solutions and are predicted to become increasingly prevalent in healthcare, consumer products, and retail applications.

The most immediate impact of the trend on your tech career is the anticipated surge in M&A activity: "More than three fourths (77 percent) of respondents believe an increase in M&A activity will occur over the next two-to-three years." Many of my clients come for branding, executives resumes, LinkedIn and social media profiles, and job search coaching because their company has recently been acquired and their division spun off, their job made redundant, or their unit simply eliminated as not a priority for the new corporate entity. Many have seen their compensation slashed as their work load has been increased.

There are great job opportunities in the new tech landscape, but you have to "trend-proof" your career insofar as you are able. To be ready for the rise of superstacks, you need to be proactive about the roles you might play in developing the new technologies and prepare yourself for M&A turbulence.

1. Superstacks trend: Aim your career towards where the jobs will be. Don't keep your head down. Read everything you can about superstacks and cloud computing. If you're a tech professional, can you morph your path in the direction you seeing technology going by gaining necessary new skills? If you're a technology leader, develop a vision for leveraging superstacks and cloud computing as transformational, value-added techologies. And then blog and tweet about it to demonstrate thought leadership.

2. Accompanying M&A activity: Protect your career by being ready AT ALL TIMES to start a job search. That means to always have a current resume, a strong and distinctive brand, and powerful online networking connections on LinkedIn and also Twitter and FB, if you want to. Keep your offline network thriving through frequent friendly contact as well. Continue to build your online reputation as well by multiplying the number of quality sites where your name will appear in a Google search and by blogging, tweeting, or commenting on other people's material.

3. And stay tuned: I'll continue to keep you up-to-speed in terms of trends that will be impacting your tech career. The race is to the swift and the market-savvy.

 

 

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Topics: job search, executive resume writing, career management, technology career, technology careers

Executive Resume Checklist: 15 Criteria to Meet

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 16, 2012 4:34:00 PM

 Executive resume checklist

Executive Resume Checklist

Unsure what you need to do to capture the attention of both search engines and recruiters and hiring authorities? This executive resume checklist will show you what you need to do with your resume to stand out in a competitive field of applicants.

Your personal / career brand and your value proposition

1. The reader can grasp a "reason to hire you" inside of 3 seconds.

2. The recruiter or hiring authority can get a sense of your career brand, that is, what makes you YOU professionally and distinguishes you from the competition.

3. The recruiter or hiring authority can find out precisely what your value proposition is - of supreme importance to the company.

4. Any other credentials relevant to your job such as certifications, multiple languages, global experience, big awards etc. can be found here.

5. You used a headline rather than a career objective unless you are targeting a significantly different career.

6. You customized your resume to the position you are targeting.

7. You matched your career brand and value proposition to the needs of the organization you are applying to.

8. You include any unusual and impressive non-work-related outside activities, community contributions, or skills, because perceived performance excellence in one area transfers to the work arena and this information will make you even more memorable.

Proving your value proposition in the body of your executive resume

9. Your accomplishments are expressed, as much as possible, in quantifiable terms in the body of the resume.

10. Your accomplishments are presented in context, so their proper significance can be understood.

11. Your 5 to 7 chief accomplishments over the last decade (one for each position) stand out visually so they can be viewed in a 3-second scan, with the sub-accomplishments under each of them.

Getting the formatting right

12. Your resume can be read easily across media, including on paper, on a laptop or desktop computer, on a tablet device, and on a smart phone.

13. Your resume uses the appropriate keywords for your function and your industry along with the critical obscure, rarer keywords customized to the position you are targeting.

14. You use common headings for the resume sections so that applicant tracking software will correctly read what's under them, i.e. Professional Summary, Professional Experience, and Education.

15. You have different versions of your resume for electronic and for human processing.

If, when you review your executive resume, you can check off all of these, you will be in a good position to capture interviews for the positions you are targeting!


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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, executive resume writing, executive resume, IT executive resume

In a Job Search, Who Gets Hired? The MBA or Certified Technologist?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 18, 2011 4:48:00 PM

Image teamleadImage courtesy of jscreationszs

Let's get real. In business, the guy with the Ivy League MBA usually gets hired first, for IT management positions.  Companies want to hire a graduate of a nationally ranked Business Management program that has been awarded high praise by Business Week or The Economist. However, in today's innovation economy, the MBA has a rival for some management positions: the IT Certified Technologist. 

In terms of cost and time efficiencies, IT certifications yield fairly high value for a lower investment of time and money.  So, while MBA graduates have spent anywhere between one and three years earning their advanced degree, an IT specialist has had the chance to earn certifications in multiple, specialized fields in a more condensed period of time.  

MBA graduates, especially those who come from a top-ranked program, develop business acument through studying finance, marketing, and entrepreneurism. MBA graduates have often studied under the leading professors in their field, endured the rigors of academia, and demonstrated their business savvy through varied internships. 

An IT Certified Technologist, on the other hand, has had intense training in technologies that may give a competitive advantage to the employer. With options ranging from Global Information Assurance Certification, Cisco Certified Security Professional Certification, Certified Information Systems Auditor, and CompTIA Security Certification, IT specialists bring a lot to the table. 

Not only have IT certifications proven to be valuable indicators of field mastery, they also correlate with wage increases, promotions, and new employment opportunities. In a study of 700 network professionals, conducted by Network World and SolarWinds, over two-thirds of the respondents reported that an IT Certification had earned them a new job. Almost one-third of the Certified Technologists surveyed said that professional certifications earned them promotions and salary increases. The evidence from this study suggests that IT certifications improve the employment prospects and earning potential of IT professionals. 

Perhaps it comes down to how critical technical mastery is to increasing profits and driving sales. In the balance, does business acumen trump technical knowledge? It appears that the greater the level of authority, the more critical is the business skill set. Certified Technologists who really "get" how to leverage contemporary and emerging technology to advantage their company have a valuable role to play. If they add business management skills to the mix, they are increasingly competitive for the top jobs.   

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search, Get a Job, career services, career brand, IT resumes

IT Job Search: How to Be Relevant in Today's Job Market

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 17, 2011 10:02:00 AM

Top IT Skills

Photo by scottchan: Cloud Computing Technology Concept

Matt Ferguson, the CEO of CareerBuilder.com, the largest online job board, has a uniquely broad view of the labor market. And what he sees is that, despite high unemployment, there is a major labor SHORTAGE in some niche fields, including technology, engineering, and health care.

In his article in the Harvard Business Review, "How American Business Can Navigate the Skills Gap," Matt suggests several strategies for addressing what he views as a critical skills gap that, if not addressed by business and government, could cause "a long range structural problem."

One of those strategies is retraining. For example, if you are an IT professional and can't find work, consider retraining in one of the IT niches that are in demand right now. Cloud developers is one such area. 

ComputerWorld lists 11 skills that are hot right now. They include:

  1. Programming and application development (Java, for instance)
  2. Project management
  3. Help desk / technical support
  4. Networking (& virtualization)
  5. Security
  6. Data center
  7. Web 2.0
  8. Telecommunications
  9. Business intelligence
  10. Collaboration architecture
  11. Business acument and communication
Read this list carefully, though, and do your own market research to be sure that the skill you would retrain for is hot in your area - and what specific aspect of the general skill is in demand.
If you've watched the TOP HOT SKILLS lists over the last decade, you'll have noticed that they are a moving target. What do you do if you retrain for the skill that is hot now and in three years is not? Keep your eye on emerging trends, extend your capabilities while on the job into the newer skill areas, and know that you will continually be learning and building throughout your career. To remain relevant, know and follow the trends!
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Topics: job search, personal branding, executive resume writing, technology resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search, Get a Job, IT resumes

3 Very Easy Shortcuts to Getting a Personal Brand

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 4, 2011 7:30:00 PM

personal brand

When people first hear that they need a "personal brand" to get a job, they often can't relate. First they think, "I am not a consumer product. The whole idea of branding myself turns me off!" And then they worry about how they are going to get this foreign thing, this personal brand, so that they can compete in the job market. They assume that their personal brand is going to be hard to figure out on their own.

There is a shortcut to going through a long process of personal branding. (Please note here that I am a Certified Personal Branding Strategist and have seen the incredible benefits that come when an individual goes through an in-depth process of self-discovery with a strategist!) But it isn't for everyone.

This personal branding shortcut is for people who are short on time, money, and/or interest and who just want to be as competitive as they can be in looking for their next job.

Here's what to do. Answer the following three questions and then use those answers in your resume, both in the Summary section at the top of the resume and in the body of the resume itself. And Voila! you'll have a personal brand that will serve you well.

1. What do people value you for most at work? What would they miss the most, in terms of getting work done, if you weren't there? What do people turn to you for?

2. What is your value proposition? Define this in terms of your ability to contribute to reducing costs, adding revenue, increasing profit margins, streamlining processes, reducing time-to-market, improving internal and external client satisfaction, enhancing user experience, innovating to add new functionality or revenue streams, amping up team performance, reducing risk etc.

3. What five adjectives would people use to describe you? Things like leader like, entrepreneurial, smart, creative, international etc. Pick the ones that have particular bearing on helping you be successful at work.

Then, at the top of your resume, after your name and contact information, center your title - that is, your job or the job you are seeking. Underneath your title write a sentence about how you typically add value to an organization, your answer to #2. Center it and put it in bold. This is the most important piece of a brand to an employer, for obvious reasons.

Then, in a brief summary paragraph or set of bullet points in the top third of page one, include answers to #1 and #3, along with your other credentials.

Then be sure that you demonstrate your value proposition (#2) in the achievements you talk about in your resume.

If you can't think of the answers to any of the three questions above, ask your co-workers for their take on what makes you special, unique, and valuable to an organization.

This quick start guide to do-it-yourself personal branding may be sufficient to accurately and authentically differentiate you from your competition and help you get your next job! Good luck with it - and let me know how it goes!

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Topics: LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, career management, executive job search, Get a Job, Job Interviews, personal brands, LinkedIn Profiles, career brand, reputation management

7 Tips: Land Mines to Avoid in Your CIO Executive Resume

Posted by Jean Cummings

Oct 31, 2011 4:54:00 PM

Get Your Next NIf you are vying for  the top technology job in an organization, your resume has to follow best practices for writing executive resumes. But CIOs potentially face land mines that other C-level execs don't have to worry about. Here are seven of them:

  1. Don't Blow the Title. The top technology executive in an organization can have a different title depending on the company: CIO, CTO, VP of IT, or some of the other emerging names that converge technology and a functional business specialty (such as Executive VP of Marketing Applications). You want to be sure you capture the most common ones if you’re not going to tailor your resume to each job (the best idea). That way your keywords will help you show up in a search. If you are targeting a specific job, use that title.

  2. Don't Describe the Wrong Job. The top technology leader in an organization can have a scope of responsibility that varies widely from company to company. Try to provide as close a match as possible to the requirements of the specific position. This is another reason to tailor your resume. If you don’t tailor, be sure you include the primary competencies that a CIO is expected to have in a range of environments.

  3. Don't, Whatever You Do, Lead with Your Technology Skill Set! The technology leader is not, unless the company is a startup or a very small firm, usually the person who does the coding! So don’t write your resume emphasizing the exhaustive technical skill set you bring to the table! For the top job, people will be interested in you for your executive leadership, strategy, and technology visioning skills.  

  4. Don't Be Fooled into Thinking that the Top Job is Just about Technology. Think like a business-side C-level executive. Do not convey your major contributions and accomplishments in technology terms alone. Always be thinking about impact on top and bottom lines, considered broadly.                                                                         

  5. Don't Just Put in Your Accomplishments! That's so nineties. Sure, translate your accomplishments into quantifiable results. BUT, take the next step of putting them in context in order to convey the significance of the achievement – this single step alone will put you ahead of most of your competition.                           

  6. Don't Miss Out on Conveying your Brand. Articulate your career brand and value proposition so powerfully that you become the candidate of choice. There are a lot of great technology leaders out there with strong records. Don't come across as just capable. 

  7. Don't Write a Resume that Looks Like the Ones in Most of the Resume Books! Make your value prop pop out visually, so that the reader, whether viewing your resume on a smart phone, computer, or hard copy, will be able to grasp what you uniquely bring to the table inside of 3 seconds! Forget 20 seconds. We're talking 3.

Because CIO resumes are different from other C-suite resume and require very sophisticated handling,  be sure to pay attention to the above tips. Be as strategic in your executive resume writing as you will be in the job you aspire too - and good luck!

 

Image courtesy of jscreationzs

 

 

 

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Topics: executive resumes, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, executive job search, Get a Job, career brand

Drop The Ladders: There's a Better Way to Job Search!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Sep 1, 2011 10:20:00 AM

Use LinkedIn to job search

If, like most people in this brave new world of job search, you're pinning your hopes on sites like The Ladders and other job boards, it's time to shift your hopes to social media. Read Nick Corcodilos' take on The Ladders, a resource similar to a job board, in his Ask the Headhunter blog post to find out his take on that service.

Social media? You mean like Facebook?!? It's worth a shot, so is Twitter, but the big bonanza is with LinkedIn. Check out these stats from a survey by jobvite reported in CIO Magazine's blog post by Meredith Levinson:

63% of IT job referrals are shared on LinkedIn

18% are shared on Facebook

17% are shared on Twitter

63% of employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media

95% have hired someone using LinkedIn

With metrics like these, you can't afford to neglect the social media channel as an important component of your job search. Yes, networking (often leveraged by using LI's database and process) is still the boss, but, as an adjunct, do these things:

1. Put a complete profile up on LinkedIn including a professional photo - and make sure it's focused on what you want to do next and that it's on-brand.

2. Pay close attention to the keywords you use: they will determine whether a hiring manager finds your profile in a search.

2. Add some bells and whistles to your LI profile: links to other websites where you can be found online, a PowerPoint Presentation, a list of relevant LI groups you participate in, a video, etc.

3. Take advantage of LinkedIn job search tools and searches.

4. Consider whether you have the time to invest in Twitter and, if you do, follow thought leaders and contribute yourself.

5. Do the same with Facebook - remembering that your identity there has to be 100% clean.

Your online identity - what a hiring manager finds in a search of your name - is becoming increasingly critical, with 45% of employers saying they ALWAYS search someone's online profile before hiring them. Start with setting up or improving your LI profile, and good luck!

 

 

 

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Topics: job search, LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services, LinkedIn Profiles, IT resumes, job interview

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