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

Hot Job Search Tip from a Xmas Party Reveler

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 9, 2011 5:41:00 PM

Job Search Tip

I went to a holiday party last night with a lot of renewable/green/sustainability folks and had a talk with someone there about how she got her job. This is her story (paraphrased):

"I was laid off in 2008 early in the recession. I thought, 'No problem, I've always gotten jobs easily before.' I went ahead doing networking and watching my favorite job board, Idealist.org. Eventually I saw something on Idealist.org.  They had a great job posted for this organization (energy nonprofit where she works now), but my application went nowhere. Then, after a bad year of just not getting anything, I took some advice I'd read somewhere and got a volunteer job. Because my career goal was to work at a nonprofit, I identified four places I'd like to work, and I volunteered at one of them, the PEM Museum (highly regarded smaller museum). That was great because I got references from them that covered some of the time I'd been unemployed. I submitted the references here and was offered a part-time job. I took it and also accepted a fellowship I was offered at the museum. And then took another job so I was working three jobs. When a full-time option came up here I was able to grab it. So I love it here, and it's a great job."

What's the takeaway? VOLUNTEER! I've heard executive recruiters say they'd rather see some meaningful volunteer work on someone's resume than "Consulting." Recently tweeted about an article on CIO Magazine's site that listed "passion" as one of the key attributes companies are looking for in key IT hires. Passion for anything, not just IT, they said. So, in choosing a volunteer activity, go with one related to your field and/or your passion.

 

Cross-posted at Career Hub Blog

 

Went to a holiday party last night with a lot of renewable/green/sustainability folks and had a talk with someone there about how she got her job. This is her story (paraphrased):

"I was laid off in 2008 early in the recession. I thought, 'No problem, I've always gotten jobs easily before.' I went ahead doing networking and watching my favorite job board, Idealist.org. Eventually I saw something on Idealist.org  and they had a great job here (location of party), but my application went nowhere. Then, after a bad year of just not getting anything, I took some advice I read about and got a volunteer job. Because my career goal was to work at a nonprofit, I identified four places I'd like to work, and I volunteered at one of them, the PEM Museum (highly regarded smaller museum). That was great because I got references for the time I'd been unemployed. I submitted the references here (energy nonprofit where she works now) and was offered a part-time job. I took it and accepted a fellowship I was offered at the museum. And then took another job so I was working three jobs. When a full-time option came up here I was able to grab it. So I love it here, and it's a great job."

What's the takeaway? VOLUNTEER! I've heard executive recruiters say they'd rather see some meaningful volunteer work on someone's resume than "Consulting." Recently tweeted about an article on CIO Magazine's site that listed "passion" as one of the key attributes companies are looking for in key IT hires. Passion for anything, not just IT, they said. So, in choosing a volunteer activity, go with one related to your field and/or your passion.

 

Cross-posted at http://www.aresumefortoday.com/high-tech-resumes/

 

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Topics: job search, career management, Jobs, Get a Job, letters of recommendation

Top Trends in Personal Branding: Job Seekers Take Note

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 26, 2011 8:48:00 AM

Personal Branding for Job SearchWilliam Arruda, The Personal Branding Guru, is known for "seeing around the corner." His list of the top trends in personal branding is a heads-up for job seekers who want to get out in front of their competition. Here they are, in brief:

1. Hiring Anywhere - companies are more open to hiring from other locations, and video is the way to get your message across when you're not there in person; consider creating a video to communicate your personal brand, host it on YouTube, and distribute it to interested hiring managers and recruiters

2. Homecasting - professional home offices and backgrounds become the "set" for your video communications; when you shoot your video, make your background clean and professional

3. Vidmail - William says that email is "so last decade," and that integrated text, image, and video communications will become more common; include images and/or a video in your emails

4. Professional Dress - as video becomes a more prominant vehicle for communicating personal brands, it's essential to have your dress on-brand in terms of formality and style; in video and in-person interviews, dress on the formal side of what is appropriate for your job

5. Personal Branding Infused - with the concept at least a decade old now, watch it being talked about in corporate settings with more frequency; leverage personal branding on behalf of your job search

6. Web Purity - watch for new ways to ensure that when someone googles your name, they will find you; now, several people may come up; take a look at Visibility's "Search Me" button and consider adding it to your LinkedIn profile

7. 3D PB - with blended, multimedia search becoming a reality, be sure to have different ways that people can get to know you - real-time content, images, and video; become active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr in job-appropriate and brand-enhancing ways

8. Personal Portals - new tools are emerging that enable you to assemble in one place all the pieces of your personal brand that reside in different places on the Web; check out about.me and flavors.me

9. Revyous - establish your credibility by getting recommendations on your LinkedIn profile; watch for more sites that enable feedback on who you are professionally

Job seekers, more than anyone else, need to present themselves as relevant, valuable, and 3-dimensional, in order to capture the attention of recruiters and hiring authorities. For those of you who haven't developed your personal brand, do it now. For those who have, project your personal brand in the many ways suggested by William's list of top trends.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, Jobs, Get a Job, career services, Job Interviews, personal brands, Online ID, LinkedIn Profiles

Be the One Left Standing

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 8, 2010 7:39:00 AM

 
 
"What's most important to my company right now and how do I make sure I'm contributing to that, and that my achievement is visible to my boss?" Sarah Grayson, an executive search consultant, is quoted as asking in a Wall Street Journal article:  Does Avoiding the 9-to-5 Grind Make You a Target for Layoffs?
Although the article is primarily about telecommuters and people with flexible schedules and how they have to be careful so as not to be subject to layoffs, there are implications for all workers.

It doesn't matter - in terms of whether you lose your job or not - if you are making fantastic contributions, but your boss isn't fully aware of them and how they impact the organization. Not only do you need to be involved in critical work, but you also have to make hiring authorities aware that what you are working on really is critical to the organizational mission.

It's all about your brand and how you express it. Make sure you know and your bosses know what your value proposition is, what your value-adds are, and what makes you unique. And then find ways to communicate those to them. Maybe send a brief update memo about a project you just successfully completed, how it benefited the company, and how your unique characteristics were key to the process. Or you could get the message across in a brief meeting you ask for to discuss what the critical activities are that you could be come involved in next. 

This kind of reflection, analysis, and communication will prove invaluable not only in your bosses' appreciation of your important contributions, but also in building your personal brand and enhancing the content of your resume. It goes back to the conundrum: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can it be said to fall? So, as modestly as possible, get the word out about how the work you do is important to the company going forward!
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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, career management, Jobs, reputation management, Working

Match.com and Your Resume

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 8, 2010 7:06:00 AM

My friend who uses Match.com  has met several people who are a good match for her age, interests, politics, and education level and one person in particular who has become a really close friend. It makes sense - it's why so many people worldwide use the site. Then why is it that people are still indiscriminately sending resumes in to jobs that bear little resemblance to the jobs they have listed on their resume? It just makes things harder for the truly qualified.

One of the reasons that companies and recruiters are turning away from paying to post jobs on the big job boards is that they get so many irrelevant resumes! Even if you are a serious candidate and provide a close match with the advertised job, you will have a hard time penetrating the jungle of thousands of "unmatched" resumes. (That's why you need to network.)

If you are on Match.com and want to meet people who are pacifists like you or left-leaning liberals, you can expect not to be matched up with hawks and right-leaning Republicans. Right? So what does that mean about how you write your resume? You want your resume to provide a "close match" with the advertised position.

First, the keywords. Make sure that the keywords you find in the job posting can be found on your resume, even if you have to make a "Skills" list at the end of your resume to contain all of them.

Second, your industry. Apply to jobs that are in the same industry that you have experience in. With the intense competition for jobs, you are less likely to be considered for a job outside your industry experience. That means that if you truly want to switch industries, don't count on applicant tracking technology such is as used on the job boards and corporate sites to come up with your resume. Instead, power up your networking to give you a chance to get in front of a hiring authority and make a pitch about the transferability of your skills. 

Third, your job title. If you have held the same title as the job you are applying for in the same industry, you will be providing a close match. If you are seeking to take your career to the next level (going from Director to Senior Director or Senior Director to VP, for instance), you will fare better if you mention the higher-level title in your profile by saying something like, "Poised to assume a VP-level position" or "Targeting VP positions." That's to get the keyword in there, but also to let the reader know that you are ready to move up. Your resume will be more credible, then, if you can demonstrate you've used the skills required in the higher-level position, such as including examples of your contributions to strategic planning if you want an executive-level job. 

Fourth, your skills. Make your resume sound familiar to the reader who has posted the ad. You want to provide a comfort level for the reader by using the skills that they are seeking. 

Fifth, your results. The hiring authority can usually afford - given the large number of applicants - to be picky and interview people whose dynamic accomplishments are highlighted in their resumes. So knock their socks off!

Getting a job is all about providing that close match to a position an organization is seeking to fill. As we've talked about before, networking is your best bet for getting a job - by a long shot. Fortunately, networking will most likely provide you with an opportunity to tailor your resume to a job opening. Count on needing to tweak your resume towards that open position. 

So go for it - get a great date, um, job!

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Topics: job search, personal branding, executive resumes, executive resume writing, career management, Jobs, Working

What My Alpha Dog Taught Me About Working - 5 Lessons

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 8, 2010 6:27:00 AM

 
 When our yellow lab died, I tried to live without a dog. But I found myself at one of our association conferences down in Florida going on the Internet searching for pictures of dogs in every spare moment instead of paying attention to the presentations! When I got home, I jumped on a small ad in the Boston Globe: high-performance black field lab – 18 months. We went out to visit and came home with Lili. The “high-performance” should have been a tip-off, along with the fact that two of her other families had returned her to the breeder, but I was blind with need for that which only a dog can give!

Now there are a lot of words I could use to describe Lili, and high-performance is definitely one, but another few are: highly dog aggressive, fearful of dogs, needing extraordinary amounts of exercise each day (even now at 8), out-of-control, and physically powerful!

So, a major problem: how to exercise her and survive encounters with other dogs so that they didn’t get hurt. From Lili I learned several valuable lessons about how to do my work.


1. Exercise Discipline. Without a full half-hour walk in morning and afternoon we get hyper dog who flips tennis balls at us all night. I realize, in my work, if I have a goal – such as wanting to extend my brand through social media - I have to devote a specified time EACH day to that task.


2. Be Resourceful. When I first started walking Lili, I thought a chain collar would be all I would need to keep her under control, since all the dogs around seem to be on leashes. It worked until we encountered one who wasn’t: a golden retriever. Anyone who knows the breed knows that coming up close to sniff at a snarling, maniacal, foaming-at-the-mouth, scary-as-hell animal isn’t out of character for a golden. I knew I had real trouble, that Lili could easily have savaged that dog. So – in addition to a chain collar – I put Lili in a muzzle. In my work, once I realized that my old pay-for-advertising methods weren’t working anymore for my business, I experimented and found a new marketing strategy that brings me great prospects.


3. Have Courage. Braving the civilized world with a killer dog – even in a muzzle – is daunting to someone who feels deeply that politeness is the general rule of social intercourse! In work, I have learned to risk putting my thoughts out there in an eBook and in blog posts and take a chance that other people’s reactions might be either positive or negative.


4. Play the Cards You’re Dealt. One day, as we were passing a man with a nice, calm, obedient dog, he took a look at Lili’s overwhelming aggression and said “That’s a problem.” So, right, I’ve got a problem and everyone sees it. But I knew that I had Lili under control with her muzzle and chain collar and that I could keep her head within inches of my knee. I did everything I could about our problem and would just have to put up any with criticism and negative reactions from others. In my work, as the recession hit and many of my target market were out of work and methods of finding work had changed, I needed to be sure that my executive resume clients knew how to be successful. I revised my eBook on strategy to include social networking and gave it a priority among my offerings. I did what I could to give my clients the strategies and tools they would need in the new environment, even though I wished job search could have been easier for them.


5. Be Grateful for the Good Stuff. Have I told you that when Lili is in the house and well-exercised she is devoted, affectionate, smart and sweet? It’s true. Once we knew her problems, we knew that we would simply have to deal with them as best we could. We tried one-on-one training from 2 different trainers, going to a dog shrink, and trying many other techniques, all to no avail. We felt that we had made a commitment to Lili and that we couldn’t return her to her breeder for her to face another loss and an uncertain future. So we try to remember the good with the bad and appreciate her good and special qualities. At work, when I am feeling pressured, frustrated, pulled in too many directions, or uncertain about marketing in a recessionary economy, I try to remember that I am so happy to be running my own business, that I love to write resumes that help people get jobs, that I love having control over my time and my working destiny, and that I truly feel I am doing what I am meant to be doing in the universe at this time.


If any of you out there have learned things from your creatures, your "familiars," I’d love to hear them. (And if you have a magic bullet that cures dog aggression, let me know about that too!). Peaceful, happy holidays to you all.

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Topics: executive resumes, career management, Jobs, Working

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