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

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

Linkedin's Accept All Invites: Career Disaster or Career Deliverance?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 12, 2012 9:22:00 AM

Image linkedin button

You hear it from every direction. From LinkedIn, for starters, and from bloggers like Tim's Strategy. We are exhorted to limit our connections to only people we know, like, and trust. To strive for quality in our networking relationships on LinkedIn. To build our network strategically and nurture it carefully.

I can see that. I really can. I think, "Wouldn't it be great to be in contact with a couple of hundred professionals with whom I touch base now and then - so that we can benefit each other in meangingful ways?" Who am I kidding?? I barely have time to keep up with the daily demands of my work, much less nurture such a quality network!

I admire people who can develop an extensive high-quality network! But in advising my clients - technology executives in transition - do I advise them to work to build out such a high-touch network? Let me tell you what I tell them.

"If you want to leverage LinkedIn to get your next job and for long-term career advancement, connect with everybody who touches on your industry space as well as all the recruiters you can." Why?

Recruiters and hiring authorities are on LinkedIn often, if not constantly! Although many of the Fortune 100 firms are able to pay for unlimited access to the full network, many other companies are taking advantage of the free membership option. That means they are limited to searches within their own networks. Let me say that another way. If you have a relatively small network (one populated with people you know or know of), your chances of being included in the universe of profiles that that person searches in are small.

From where I sit, if you are counting on a passive presence on LI to get you a job and you haven't built out a large network, your chances of being found are slim.

The same holds true if you want to do a search for recruiters or hiring authorities and explore job opportunities. With a free membership, you are only able to search among your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. That's a whole lot of possible job connections you will miss out on if you have a small network.

There are ways on LI to connect with LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) in your industry (software, telecom, etc.) or area of functional specialty (i.e., IT, finance, sales & marketing etc.). LIONs usually have 500+ connections. By connecting with them, you will be expanding your network exponentially. Your chances of being included in a search go up. So does your ability to identify job possibilities within your own, now-much-wider network.

The job search benefit you gain from accepting all invites and proactively linking with LIONs in your space is very real. But that doesn't make the decision to explode your LI network a slam/dunk. That's because some people, including LI, frown on these practices. You may be concerned that people will think less of you if you don't have a carefully curated list of connections. Yes, there's a chance that will work against you - or even be a career disaster.

But I encourage my clients to take the risk of growing their networks beyond people known to them, because the upside long-term for their careers can be great. And if you are able to capture in your profile the keywords hiring authorities and recruiters are likely to search for, you have a much higher chance of being included in the resumes reviewed. And therefore a much higher chance of getting in the door. Don't forget to make your executive resumes agree in brand and content with your LinkedIn profile.

It strikes me as somewhat "precious" on the part of LI to expect people to disdain such an obvious opportunity. As a professional network, LI is all about work and career. Job search is an inevitableout to more recruiters, why is that so wrong? Makes sense to me. What do you think? I'd love to know! And...I accept all invites! So feel free to contact me on LI!

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Topics: job search, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, LinkedIn accept all invites

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

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

Zen and the Art of Job Search

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jul 20, 2011 7:01:00 AM

 executive job search - poise and power 

As I was driving home Sunday from a weekend away, I tuned into an NPR interview on the radio. He was taking about stress-free productivity. Something job seekers need desperately! Along with everyone else practically! His ideas sounded oddly familiar...

Yes, it was David Allen of Getting Things Done fame. I'd read it years ago - it's a classic in the field of personal organization - and used the system for awhile, then fell away (alas, the end of most good intentions). But his words about having too many different kinds of things to do on our minds causing significant stress resonated big time for me.

So I pulled out my iPad when I got home and did what he said to do: take everything on your mind and write it down in a way that makes sense to you. And then have a system for checking it and also for continuing to enter anything that is a to-do and that preys on your mind. I used Notes but there are lots of apps I will explore. (Put that on my list!)

OK, I did that. The rewards Allen promises are valuable: the ability to be highly productive and react in perfectly appropriate ways to stressors. He describes the "mind like water" that martial arts practitioners use for perfect readiness and power. 

I think daily pauses (mini meditations if you like) for deep breathing and contemplation of a serene image (water receding from the beach, then rolling in again, for instance - my image) help get us into that frame of mind of poised readiness and response.

Looking for your next job involves a myriad of things to do and keep track of: executive resumes sent, personal branding initiatives, targeted cover letters written, networks contacted, appointments planned and kept, research on companies, interviews planned and attended - all with various schedules and levels of importance. What better time to apply Allen's ideas?

The Zen job search would be one conducted with full confidence that you had the bases covered and WRITTEN DOWN according to your system, so that you can act from a place of calm productivity.

The Zen interview is when you can bring a mind open and a readiness to respond to the interviewer with calm interest, quiet confidence, generous openness to the other person, and keen listening (to hear the subtext of questions), and make an appropriate on-brand response that speaks to the employer's needs. A Zen mind is also ready to ask insightful questions and proactively project its personal brand in appropriate ways into the conversation. 

So, "mind like water," T.S. Eliot's "the still point in the turning world," and Yeats' "I hear lake water lapping, with low sounds by the shore." Now we are ready. Bring it on.

 

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, interview style, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, executive job search, Job Interviews, personal brands, career brand, salary negotiation, salary negotiations, job interview, power of attraction

Thinking of Consulting? Think Twice! Career Management Tip

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 19, 2011 10:10:00 AM

Image consultant resized 600

Consulting has become a go-to choice for people out of work. It gives them a way to keep their hand in their areas of expertise and brings in some income while they are conducting a job search. And some people commit to a career of independent contracting or consulting by choice.

But there are still more who use the term "consultant" on their resume to cover a period of time in which they weren't employed just to fill in that period of time, even if they are consulting very little.

It's these latter who are causing the problem for all those who are genuinely pusuing full-time consulting, out of choice or as a serious activity while they are job hunting.

I've had the opportunity to sit down in small groups with several executive recruiters lately, and they consistently say they view a candidate who currently uses "consultant" or "consulting" to describe what they are doing in a negative light. They agreed with one another, "It's just a cover for being unemployed." They also said that being an independent consultant in the present would rule someone out as a candidate. (These are headhunters, remember, not hiring managers, who may have more generous views).

I think this is attitude does a great injustice to those who are serious consultants.

When I probed into the question of why a consultant wouldn't make a good candidate for an executive-level job, one of the recruiters said that the concern would be that the person wouldn't stay long, because they are used to working for many different companies.

These attitudes, fair or not, suggest a couple of things about executive resumes and career management very strongly:

1. If you embark on a career of consulting, consider it long and hard, because it may be very hard to jump back into a line management position in a company again.

2. If you use "consulting" on your resume to describe what you've been doing while conducting a job search, be sure to document your activities in detail so that the reader understands you have been practicing your profession seriously!

One of the recruiters suggested that it would be better for unemployed people to get involved in volunteer work and document that. (He is assuming, of course, that the individual is not seriously consulting!)

Takeaways? Everybody needs to pay a lot of attention to their career path, to their brand, and to how to present themselves on paper in order to have successful careers now and in the future. Careful handing of these three areas will give you a significant advantage over the long term.

 

 

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Topics: LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, executive job search, consulting, consultants, consultant

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look For

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 22, 2011 9:22:00 AM

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look ForThis is Part 2 of my blog posts on what executive recruiters are looking for in executive candidates. Wayne Mitchell of Cabot Consultants listed the qualities he likes to see in candidates he will present to his clients:

These adjectives and attributes top the list:

1. Driven

2. Energetic (take note people 45+)

3. Entrepreneurial (that includes executives in non-entrepreneurial companies)

4. Resourceful

5. Tenacious

6. Strong interpersonal skills

7. Collaborative

8. Flexible

9. Friendly

10. Persuasive

11. Proactive

12. Team player

13. Self-confident

14. Intelligent / bright

15. Creative

16. Decisive

17. Intuitive

18. Logical

19. Quick study

20. Pattern of ongoing learning

21. Possessing Integrity

22. Honest

23. Trustworthy

Look like a dream list that no one person could embody? In reality, internal and external recruiters can actually find the "dream" hire - because the Internet - specifically LinkedIn - provides a large top-applicant pool. So they don't "settle."

What does that mean for people growing their careers? I think it suggests that they build towards these qualities and characteristics, if they don't have them already. In my mind, they fall into these clusters:

LEADERSHIP: collaborative, team-based, decisive, proactive

ETHICS: honest, trustworthy, has integrity

BUSINESS APPROACH: entrepreneurial, flexible, creative

MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS: intelligent/bright, intuitive, logical, quick study, driven, self-confident, intent on lifelong learning, tenacious

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: good with people, friendly, persuasive

Interestingly, there are a few ones missing from this list that can be of critical importance in corporate leaders: strategic, visionary, inspirational, out-of-the-box thinking, charismatic, able to execute.

One takeaway from this is that achievements alone are not sufficient and that the above attributes need to be demonstrated in particular success stories.

These concepts are viewed as desirable in executive leaders. Other sets of attributes may be more desirable for other jobs, such as sales, hands-on technical jobs, finance, operations, etc.

We tend to think that the above list of "soft skill" would be relatively unimportant, but it appears that they are highly valued in a new hire. This is good news, I think.

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, career services

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

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

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 30, 2010 8:33:00 AM

image entrepreneurism resized 600

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

Personal Branding: Is that Why CIOs Tweet?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Sep 24, 2010 9:43:00 AM

images success

I was curious to find out how IT executives viewed Twitter. I wondered whether, as a group of technologists, they were early adopters of this business/social tool. I suspected that they were not. And I wanted to know what those who did use Twitter used it for.

In a survey conducted by Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, 200 IT chiefs were asked a range of questions about their use of Twitter. With 75 CIOs responding,78% used Twitter at least once a week, 50% tweeted more this year than last, and 70% established new working relationships as a result of using Twitter.

The picture that emerges, both from the survey as well as the Webinar discussion, is that there are some CIOs who are evangelists and build Twitter into their daily life, some who dabble in it, and some who hardly use it at all.

Perhaps it's the hybrid nature of the tool - inviting personal and social info as well as business content - that holds some CIOs back. Perhaps it's because - for the 22% who hardly use it if at all - Twitter has been a renegade tool that started as one thing and evolved rapidly and in surprising and unpredictable ways, well beyond the vision of the founders and out of their control. Not a growth pattern apt to appeal to all C-level execs!

For those who do use it, how important is Twitter in promoting their personal brand? To find the answer, look at the top 5 reasons CIOs tweet:

  1. To follow news that impacts my job 91.7%
  2. To learn best practices from other CIOs 75.0%
  3. To position myself as a thought leader 67.7%
  4. To share news about my company with outsiders 55.6%
  5. To socialize with friends 48.6

So personal branding ranks a strong 3rd and company branding ranks 4th. Also, the CIOs indicated that advancing their capabilities on the job (and presumably as an IT executive brand) was the most important reason (see top 2 spots).

Do you remember when Twitter was mostly about "What are you doing" and people would tweet about where they were having lunch etc.? This CIO survey indicates the distance Twitter use has come from those simple beginnings.

To be able to grow your personal brand for free and for 140 characters at a time is a pretty good deal! And managers and professionals in all functions and industries are advancing their personal brands inadvertantly, just by learning more, sharing their own expertise, and demonstrating the kind of commitment they bring to their work

One of the CIOs said he views Twitter as great tool for cross-pollinating ideas up and down the organization - kind of like "servant leadership," he said. I think he means that the top executives can learn from the front-line technologists as well as vice versa. This is another testament to the democratization that the Web has enabled. This opinion is a very telling piece of that CIO's personal and career brand as well. Certainly not an attitude found everywhere among bosses.

The 3 top knowledge areas CIOs gained information in were technology, innovation, and strategy. The latter 2 at least are in no way lower-level learning and are, in fact, critical areas that an IT leader needs to be out in front of if s/he's going to continue to build a career!

It's hard to escape the implications of the survey that Twitter can be an important personal branding tool. And that avoiding using it can mean missing out on an opportunity to become known for what you do best, stay current with leading-edge thought in your field, and demonstrate your own unique style and "take" on your world. B thr or b sq.

 

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

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