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

What If You Don't Meet ALL the Job Requirements? 3 Workarounds

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 30, 2014 2:29:04 PM

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Just about every job seeker I speak with says, "I've found some jobs I'd be a good fit for, but I don't meet all the job requirements, particularly the technical job requirements. Is it worth it to apply?"

Almost all my IT job seeker clients have many areas of technical proficiency and are “quick studies” when it comes to learning new software packages. They often feel that, even if they don’t meet the exact requirements for the position, they could get up to speed quickly and do a great job if they were hired. Is this you?

Here’s one way to look at it. First, it's important to realize that part of what the employer is doing in listing very specific technologies is trying to cut down on the number of resumes they have to review. ATS (applicant tracking systems) will not retrieve resumes that lack the keywords or a given percentage of the keywords specified by the hiring authority (HA). And there are probably enough resumes out there that do have all the key skills and keywords for the HA to review.

But you and I know that keywords are not the sole determinant of who makes a good hire.

If you have experience with technologies that are in the same class as the required ones and are confident you could get up to speed quickly on the new specified in the ad, here are a few ideas.  The task is to get the key skills and keywords on the resume that you lack in direct experience while at the same time being truthful in what you say.

Let’s take an example. What if someone has experience with Oracle ERP but not SAP, and the job calls for SAP experience? You can try one of these 3 techniques so that you can include the “SAP” keyword in your resume:

  1. You can say, but only once: “Operate in an Oracle ERP environment similar to SAP” or “Proficient in Oracle ERP, one of the top 2 enterprise-level ERPs along with SAP."

 

  1. Or, in a keyword list at the end of your resume, you can list the technologies or skills you are really experienced in, saying: “Power User: Oracle ERP, etc.” Then, include text that reads: “Working familiarity with other ERPs such as SAP and Epicore” or “Knowledge base also includes: SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor.” ONLY DO THIS if you have taken the time to become familiar with the similarities and differences of the packages, so that you do indeed have general familiarity with the software, SAP in this instance. You will need to get up to speed on SAP if you get an interview anyway.

 

  1. Or, use a keyword list at the end titled: “Other relevant keywords: SAP, etc.” This isn’t as good a solution, but if you’ve done some SAP research, it’s not false.

You can do something similar in the situation where you have experience with SAP financial applications but not the required SAP HRMS. Or in situations with other technologies.

Although the three techniques above aren’t perfect, they are truthful and will give your resume a chance to make it through the ATS screen so you can be considered for an interview. Not everyone will agree that these methods should be used to incorporate keywords and key skills. But I think it’s fair, given that the potential employer may be really missing out by not hearing about YOU!

 Jean Cummings

 

 

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Topics: IT resumes, resumes, keywords, Job Requirements,, High Tech Resumes,, ATS systems

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

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

Are You an Entrepreneur Seeking a Job? Reinvent Your Personal Brand

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 30, 2010 8:33:00 AM

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LinkedIn is having a great discussion about personal brand reinvention based on an article in the Harvard Business Review. Most comments have to do with someone changing dramatically from a software engineer to an artist, etc. But there's another kind of career reimagining that needs to happen for entrepreneurs who want to transition within their own industry.

Here's the scenario in which a job seeker MUST change their personal brand even if they're not changing their industry or even changing their chief competency: they've been running their own business for a number of years and now want to transition to being an employee of a company. It's doable, though not an easy sell.

Usually they can demonstrate extensive knowledge of the industry and superior capability in one or more functional area (usually more). But the hiring authority has concerns about whether a CEO / entrepreneur would be happy or committed over the long haul to working in a situation in which the org chart has clearly defined boundaries between jobs. Employers may have concerns that the entrepreneur would be reporting to someone else for the first time in a long while.

The imperative for entrepreneurs is to infuse their personal brand with elements that assuage those concerns while conveying an irresistible value proposition and even exalting their entrepreneurial experience as a competitive advantage in certain cases.

1. Brand Reassurance: Some of the elements of the new brand might be extensive experience consulting within companies, working with internal and external teams, reporting to program managers or other managers / executives, interfacing and interacting comfortably up and down the organization etc.

2. Value Proposition: The value proposition would depend on the function and industry. For example, an independent sales rep might be able to report having an extensive database of C-level contacts in Fortune 100 companies and a strong closing ratio. Both would be highly valuable to the right company.

3. Turn Your Liability into an Asset: Entrepreneurs may also find that the very fact that they have a mindset of taking a great idea and commercializing it in the form of a viable long-term business is valuable to the right kind of company - a mid-sized to large company that has institutionalized an intrapreneurial approach in some or all of its groups - or - an early-stage company or startup that is looking for proven entrepreneurial talent.

Because it's a harder sell than making a move as an employee, the entrepreneur must nail these new aspects of their personal brand - both in their networking and in their resumes, cover letters and other marketing materials.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, Get a Job, career services, personal brands, reputation management, IT resumes, careers in retirement, job interview

LinkedIn's New Personal Branding Help

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 22, 2010 3:19:00 PM

Personal Branding on LinkedIn

LinkedIn's launch of a global group called BrandYou is a powerful recognition of the movement towards personal branding in careers and job search. William Arruda, the Personal Brand Guru, extended Tom Peters concept about a decade ago and created a methodology and tools to help people create their own personal brand. Others have continued the conversation. And now LI  has put its imprimature on the concept - and appropriately so, as personal branding couldn't be more central to LI's own core brand: a business networking site facilitating trusted connections for business, job search, and knowledge transfer / idea creation.

On the group's main site is a link to several Brand You videos. Don't miss these. They capture facets of personal branding that you don't often hear about, but we all experience: the "magic," "spirit," and "mystery" in strong personal brands.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, personal brands, IT resumes, job interview

The ONE THING Boomers Have 2 Get Right in Job Search!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Oct 27, 2010 10:43:00 AM

image boomergetsajob resized 600

Of course boomers have to use up-to-the-minute best practices in resume writing, job search and interviewing when looking for a job. But there is one overriding factor they have to nail: their value proposition. Often boomers have an advantage in this, because they have already had accomplished careers and a strong track record.

What's a value proposition for a job seeker? It's the benefit they can (often uniquely) provide to the potential employer that matches the needs of that employer. How do you use it? At a minimum, in your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn Profile. How else must you leverage it? In your networking and interviewing.

One of my clients was 62 and had been out of work for a year when he applied to a Director-level job. Despite a strong competitive field of younger applicants, he got the offer. Why? Because the value he offered was so clearly and boldly spelled out in his resume. And because he interviewed keeping the value prop as his central message. How could the company resist? He was offering the exact value that they needed to solve the "pain" they were having.

So, don't neglect this critical value messaging as you go about your job search. It will override any concerns employers may have about age (even if that concern is not expressed because of possible legal ramifications). But only if clearly, powerfully and consistently expressed on paper and in person!

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, interviewing, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, career management, Get a Job, career services, IT resumes, careers in retirement, Retirement Planning

Your Personal Branding & the Dilemma of Having 2 Job Targets

Posted by Jean Cummings

Sep 7, 2010 9:43:00 AM

What do you do when you have a well-developed personal brand in terms of your attributes and style but a muddy one in terms of your career brand? 


John Antonios makes important points in his post, “Personal Branding – A Full-time Lifetime Job!” about the need for authenticity in your personal brand (as opposed to articificial or even opportunitistic). Also important is his the statement that your personal brand CAN change and evolve as you do.

Because "what you do" is part of your personal brand, your brand naturally morphs as your career evolves. You will become known for what you do in your most recent position. Your personal traits such as "inspirational," "passionate,""never gives up" usually remain constant.

But, branding gets more complex when you are in job search mode and want to leave open the options of 2 different career directions.

Many managers and executives in technology - the folks I work with - have 2 career objectives. In terms of preparing their resume and other marketing documents, their personal / career brand will change depending on the skills/experience/talents they want to be emphasizing for the particular job. 

Say in one case the individual wants to present herself as a PMO expert and crack large program manager and in another as a VP of IT. She will need two sets of documents.

The tricky part comes when she has to present herself to her various audiences: LinkedIn, blog, Twitter, networking contacts etc. The ideal solution of course would be to do more career and market exploration until you have just one target. But, when that isn't going to work, you need to frame the career part of the personal brand more broadly to encompass both areas: "IT executive with strong PMO and large program management credentials."

When your goals greatly diverge, such as in the case of a serial entrepreneur who has worked in 3 different sectors, I recommend holding off on writing the LinkedIn Profile until your goal is clearer. It doesn't make sense to represent yourself as someone who is a CEO, COO, Sales & Marketing VP, Business Development Executive, Director of IT, and Finance Manager, even though you have played all these roles. You get the picture.

Obviously, a brand is more powerful if there is a clear and logical progression in your career, but very often this is not the case. So your personal / career brand must be considered dynamically and handled in a context-dependent manner. Here's where the attribute "good judgment" comes into play!

 



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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, personal brands, IT resumes, job interview

Test the Personal Brand in Your Executive Resume!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Aug 27, 2010 10:15:00 AM

images GottheJob

What is the acid test of whether your personal brand as expressed in your executive resume will help get you your next job? This story illustrates the answer:

I worked with a technology executive to write his branded executive resume and brand bio. I heard back from him in a couple of months in the form of a link in an email. I clicked through and read the article announcing his appointment as CIO for an organization experiencing rapid growth. Congratulations to him!

As I read the article more carefully, I noticed that the two reasons the organization stated for selecting him were the two components of his brand that we had showcased in his resume and bio.

It struck home to me then that personal branding is not just an optional exercise. The value proposition and value-adds that you use to represent yourself are absolutely critical to getting your next job.

When writing your executive resume, bio, cover letter, or blogsite copy, be sure that the ONE THING you do best and the SUPPORTING PERSONAL INFORMATION are what the employer really needs - a lot!

In the case of my client, the hiring organization immediately picked up on his brand that he was extremely skilled at ramping up technology functions to enable exponential corporate growth and sought him out. So, in their need to find someone to help them with their "pain" - the fact that their technology infrastructure was not adequate to provide for planned growth - my client was the answer to their needs.

We also, in his bio, talked about another key component of his personal brand: he is highly committed to mentoring up-and-coming technologists. He initiated programs and provided other kinds of leadership both within and outside of his corporation to help reverse the prevailing scarcity of skilled IT personnel. The article pointed out that his commitment was an additional fact about him that made him a valuable hire.

So, to test whether your personal branding will be effective in your resume ask the question: "Have I made it crystal clear in a 10-second read that I am the solution to a company's needs?" And: "What makes me interesting and distinctive and gives me a competitive advantage over other applicants?"

If so, you will stand out amidst the flood of other applicants and land interviews. You can then use your career and personal brand in interviews and salary negotiations to get the offer and negotiate your compensation at the high end of the range. Personal branding is the "gift that keeps on giving!"

 

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, personal brands, IT resumes, job interview

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