Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Can Someone Clone Your Personal Brand?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jan 7, 2011 2:13:00 PM

No 2 personal brands are alike

Now that so many people are branding themselves in the employment market, how do you keep from duplicating someone else's brand and how do you keep them from unknowingly mimicking yours?

Say your brand is that you excel as an operations manager at cutting costs through business process redesign. Well, many, many people probably have that value proposition. So what do you do?

Fortunately, since a personal brand is made up of more than the value proposition, you have the opportunity to fill out the picture more. Consider the constellation that makes up a personal brand: key attributes, abilities, signature achievements, core values, value-add skills, commitments, leadership or working style, outside interests and skills, etc. Synthesizing these into a "living, breathing" personal / career identity makes it possible for your personal brand to be truly unique.

The difficulty comes in communicating the complex picture surrounding the core value prop in a succinct way that comes alive on the page and then finding space for it in valuable resume real estate!

BUT! With the possiblities presented by social media, you can present a more complete and nuanced personal brand than is always possible on a resume.

- If you tweet frequently, your followers will start to know you for your style, interests, values, commitments, knowledge, etc.

- LinkedIn offers some opportunities to present the bigger picture with its links to your personal blogsite / Website and to your associations. By participating in Groups on LinkedIn your audience will come to know the way you think and process information as well as the depth and range of your expertise.

- Facebook with its wide array of ways to interact with it can help fill out some of the picture of you socially.

- YouTube videos in which you talk about some aspect of your work can be tremendously powerful and can communicate many of the intangibles of a brand as well as your expertise and personality.

- If you write a blog, you become available to your public in yet another way. Your "voice" is unique. What you care about, think about, and talk about help define you.

We are all dynamic, living personal brands ever evolving. That makes us different from product brands. But it makes it more challenging to fully communicate too!


Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, career management, career planning, personal brands, reputation management

5 Tips for Making Your Job Search Resolutions Come True

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jan 3, 2011 10:33:00 AM

describe the imageJanuary 2, 2011, Monday, and we're face-to-face with it: Will we be able to do what we weren't able to do in 2010? What will make us any more likely to succeed than we were before? If will power didn't work before, why would it work now?

New research sheds some light on ways to build the habits that have eluded us in the past. A Wall Street Journal article on the subject suggests 5 ways to boost our likelihood of success. If you're a job seeker, here are tips adapted for you:

1. Establish positive thought patterns associated with your goal: i.e., "I will feel so capable, confident, and relieved to get the job offer I want." Might include making a "vision board" to visually represent what success would look and feel like.

2. Associate negative thought patterns with doing nothing: "I'll feel blue, discouraged, hopeless and as though I am not great at what I do for a living if I don't diligently go about job search in the most intelligent way."

3. Get an accountability partner - someone you can talk to who will hold you to your task commitments.

4. Reward yourself for successes small and large - whatever works for you: a ski trip, dinner out, new clothes, 10 iPhone music downloads etc.

5. Break down the total job search process into discreet, quantifiable tasks.***

*** For job seekers, this may mean practicing the critical habits that make success most likely, including such activities as:

* Make a certain # of networking calls daily

* Set up a target number of lunch appointments with contacts each week

* Go to ?# networking meetings per month

* Tweet 3 times daily to build your social media presence

* Blog ?# weekly to establish thought leadership

* Spend ?# minutes daily working your social networks for contacts and leads

* Execute a direct mail campaign to ?# of hiring authorities in your target companies

* Develop your personal brand and express it in all your materials (within ?# weeks)

* Work on your success stories until you have ?#

* Devote ?# minutes a week to practicing your elevator pitch

It IS possible to succeed where you haven't before. Try the 5 tips above and see your resolutions lead to new success. Happy New Year to all!


Topics: career management, career planning

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

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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.


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

What Do (Real) Men Need? Musings on Career Management

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Nov 19, 2010 8:35:00 AM

Images iceroadtruckers

I couldn't resist the article "What Real Men Watch" in the Wall Street Journal, even though I should have been reading the business news! Turns out that the tv that's attracting upscale male viewers (accustomed to 8-12+ hours a day of offices, cubicles, and computers in the workplace) is reality tv described as "real men in danger" and "testosto-reality." Advertising dollars are flowing to shows like "Swamp Loggers," "Ice Road Truckers," and "Deadliest Catch."

You know, I'm a woman, but I can relate! What happens to our heads after days wrapped up in electronic, business, and technical communications - working exclusively in built spaces?

I watch my 2-year-old grandson aggressively driving his "digger" truck up the side of a dirt mound around the tree, pushing dirt in front of it until he can dump in over the other side. Very satisfying!

An element of danger, an encounter with the real resistence of the natural physical world, a great effort towards control of an unpredictable physical (not intellectual) reality - these seem to be the common elements of these shows that upper middle class guys are watching. There's a romance to blue collar jobs for them.

Where else can men who were once little boys playing with trucks in the dirt go for that element of raw physical risk and an experience of wrestling for physical control? 

Some guys I know buy, repair and ride motorcycles. Go to race tracks. Fish offshore. Run sled-dog races.

My work is all about career management. This article makes me wonder about whether what men do in their leisure time isn't a critical part of peak functioning in a cubicle world. And that maybe what folks do outside of work has a very real impact on ability to survive and thrive in the day job.

I actually think that (some) women too may need an antidote to a day spent indoors interacting with iPhones, laptops, colleagues and clients.

What I do to get this elusive high is sail off the coast of Gloucester, MA - and the emptier the bay is of boats, the fresher the wind, the better. Freedom all around. Afloat in a wind-wave-water-tide-sky environment that can change instantly - and require a physical response to avoid danger.

When the sailing season came to an end, I felt a little desperate - what are we going to do to experience wilderness in the long cold months ahead? All I could think of was snow mobiling up in the New Hampshire wilderness - I've never done it, don't know if I'd like it, but there might be thrill in it.

Not that I don't love my work. But the truth is that it's so left brain - as is so much of what many of us do. I do get a chance to be right-brain creative, too, in my work. Still....there's something missing.

You hear so much about work-life balance. Maybe we ought to be talking more about work-thrills balance. Men and women who work in built environments, what do you do for thrills? Does your career leave you hungry for something more raw? Or not?







Topics: job search, career management, career planning

The "Facebook Movie": A Personal Branding Object Lesson

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Sep 29, 2010 8:27:00 AM

"The Social Network" premiers Friday - and it promises to be a powerful dramatization of the origins of Facebook and the character of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The only problem is, it plays fast and loose with the story, and Zuckerberg's reputation and online ID will probably suffer in the process. The movie may well have the power to become "truth" for the huge viewing audience.

Whatever Zuckerberg has done in the past to shape his brand for the public will probably not be able to supersede the impression millions will get of him from the movie. What does that mean for the rest of us, who aren't likely to have a movie dramatizing our lives?

That we'd better control our brand before it is controlled for us. With ~80% of recruiters and hiring authorities using Google and social media to scope out possible candidates, job seekers need to have an online, on-brand ID that projects them the way they want to be known.

If you Google your name and don't come up with anything, come up with very little or with content that is off-brand or of questionable taste, then don't waste any time in getting your personal/career brand out there. Three fast ways to do this are:

1. Go to ZoomInfo.com and fill out your profile: many recruiters go here first to see the profile for you there. If you haven't created your own on the site, zoominfo will go out on the Web and aggregate what it finds there.

2. Go to LinkedIn.com and fill out a complete profile. This site is a go-to source of candidates for employers and recruiters (often after they search your name on Zoominfo).

3.Create your Google profile to give you one more place on the Web that you can control what people read about you.   

Then, go to Facebook.com and, if you have a profile, do whatever you have to in order to eliminate material that may reflect poorly on you (even other people's writing) and keep you from being considered for a job. Even if it means deactivating your account or deleting your wall.

If you go on to invest in the more time-consuming activities to project your online ID - such as blogging, twittering, setting up a brand portal in the form of a blogsite or Web portfolio - all the better.

You still might not be able to prevent Aaron Sorkin from hijacking your reputation should he decide to write a screenplay about you, but you'll optimize the chances that an employer will decide to bring you in for an interview!



Topics: personal branding, career management, career planning, Online ID, reputation management

What To Do When Facing Job Uncertainty

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:53:00 AM

A lot of people are finding themselves facing uncertainty right now. Either they are already unemployed or else they are anxiously eying their company's future as layoffs have begun or are rumored.
Of course it makes sense to have an up-to-date, personal-brand-driven resume and cover letter ready. And it's vital to reach out to networking contacts both through your own personal network or through the social and organizational networks you can access online. 

But beyond these proactive measures, what professional certifications, workshops, or continuing education would enhance your brand and give you an edge over your competition?

For IT folks - the niche I work within - there are 5 in-demand certifications at this point in time that would benefit a job applicant to have. According to TechRepublic, three of them are related to ITIL - Information Technology Infrastructure Library, one of them is related to Security, and one is the PMP - Project Management Professional - certification. 

What could you learn about in your field that would cause your resume to be placed in the "yes" pile? Or what mentoring or internship at your workplace would expose you to new skills and learning? Tough times don't have to be hopeless, waiting times. They can be times for you to strengthen your position for getting a job even in this recessionary environment or to position you well for the economic recovery that will surely come. 


Topics: personal branding, technology executive resumes, career management, career planning, Get a Job, Working

Two Points of View on Purpose

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:50:00 AM


I listened with interest to Tim Kelley's teleseminar on "Finding Your True Purpose" and then bumped into Po Bronson's article in Fast Company on "What Shall I Do With My Life Now?" The first asserted that everyone has something that they are "meant" to do and that they can find out their true purpose through an inner dialogue (between self and soul or some other source). 

On the other hand, Po Bronson, author of bestselling books and most recently, "What Shall I Do With My Life?" says, "There is no one thing each of us is meant to do on this planet." He goes on to say there are dozens, even hundreds of jobs that might satisfy someone's need for "meaning and goodness." He says that one can evolve on the job into work that is deeply satisfying.

Where the two authors converge is on the importance of doing work that is meaningful to the person doing it. I think our experiences dictate how we  come down on the question of uncovering our particular work choice(s). From my point of view, finding what one is is going to do next comes from an inner place, from a place of insight, and varies according to the time or stage of life. 

Where do you come down on this question? What have you learned about finding out what work you really want to be doing?

Topics: executive resumes, career management, career planning, Working

In Hindsight, I Should Have...

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:35:00 AM

The Boston Sunday Globe and Monday's Wall Street Journal both have articles about people who have been laid off from their jobs and are turning to entrepreneurship to try to make a living. In most cases, they have to invest a lot of their own (and other people's) money to fund the startups. Then they go through a period of time when they are earning significantly less than they did in their corporate jobs. In several of the examples, the newly minted entrepreneurs may never earn as much as they did before they were laid off, although job satisfaction appears to be generally high. 

The recession has taught us a lot about how insecure our investments and employment can be. And people have learned to be creative about employment alternatives, given the fact that they may not be able to find a job in their (now-dried-up) areas of expertise. 

It struck me that, in the case of career changers as well as entrepreneurs, keeping fixed living costs on the low side (mortgages, rents, cost of cars/transportation etc.) gives them the flexibility to go with a lower paying job or launch a business in response to a volatile job market. It may be that a silver lining of this difficult time is that people will spend less, save more, and, in some cases, seek job fulfillment over financial benefits. 

If even Warren Buffett didn't see this one coming, perhaps the rest of us should plan our lives in a way that allows for down as well as up markets, lean as well as flush times, winter as well as summer, droughts as well as abundantly rainy conditions. And to consider planning our lives in such a way that we are not so wedded to a high-salary lifestyle that we can't change careers or break out on our own to find the job fulfillment we've always wanted.  

Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, career management, career planning, Get a Job, Working

What To Do When You Really Can't Get a Job

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:19:00 AM


 If, despite conducting an advanced job search with a great branded resume, you still can't get a job in your chosen field/function, the options below are worth considering. Short on time? Skim the bolded areas below to get the gist of these 3 strategies. 

1. KNOW WHERE THE JOBS ARE IN YOUR FIELD AND REDIRECT YOUR CAREER TOWARDS THEM. Do research to uncover the areas of high-demand and the areas that will languish going forward. Consider getting a relevant certification or doing an internship in the growth area.

In IT, there are areas where hiring is expected to be strong and areas where the jobs may be gone forever. The Hackett Group is recommending that companies not hire back laid-off system admins and support staff, but rather outsource those jobs to other countries where the pay scales are lower. Someone called me last week and told me that his job in IT - inside sales - was being offshored to India. So a job that he assumed was secure turned out not to be.

Areas of projected high growth in IT are Security, Healthcare IT, Global Wireless, Virtualization Software, Business Analytics, SaaS. Can you get qualified to work in one of these specialty areas? 

2. CHANGE YOUR CAREER & GET CERTIFIED IN A NEW FIELD. You may or may not be ready for a radical change, but sometimes, to transition to a growth sector and start paying the bills, there is a solution that would enable you to get a good job with  good-enough pay (depending on your requirements) after only a few months or, in some cases, a year or more of study and internship. (A year of studying beats a year of knocking your head against the wall going to job fairs and sending out resumes.) 

Review your local community college's certification programs. Inquire into its career placement program and its ties to local businesses that may be hungry for graduates of the certification programs. These certifications often came about because of the dearth of skilled employees in those areas and business demand for employees in the region. 

There are certifications in many areas, including public safety and homeland security, human resources, and auditing. To stay in IT, you can increase your eligibility for IT jobs in healthcare by getting a healthcare IT certification. Hiring in this area can be expected to be strong as healthcare delivery becomes increasingly IT-dependent.

This is a sample of my local community college's offerings: there is a new Energy Utility Technology Certificate Program meant to help meet the "urgent, long-term need" of utilities for these specialists. Utility SmartGrid initiatives will be requiring IT employees and others. Biotechnology Technician is another certification that is offered that, like the energy certification, requires an internship, giving you real-world, valuable experience with an employer that would give you an edge in hiring. Computer Forensics Certification. Dental Assisting. Many others.

Earning a valued healthcare certification may help you change your career. As the population of aging Americans grows, more services will be needed. There are many clinical-professional as well as administrative certifications in healthcare. Some in-demand jobs with certifications are: MRI technologist, radiation therapist, and nuclear medicine technologist. There are other certifications that promise to be growth areas as boomers age such as Certified Life Care Planner and Certified Life Care Manager, as well as Medicare Set-Aside Certified Consultant.

3. GET CREATIVE, FOLLOW YOUR PASSION, AND CHANNEL YOUR INNER ENTREPRENEUR. On NPR's "On Point" radio program on "Life After Layoffs," the discussion centered around a film, "Lemonade," about what the laid-off executives of a Manhattan ad agency went on to do when it was clear there were no jobs for them. One exec profiled turned his avocation into his vocation. He left Manhattan for a studio upstate and now sells enough of his paintings to live well in a less-expensive region. (The strategy of reducing your expenses and/or changing your lifestyle is one that can help you make the transition away from a big paycheck and towards a more meaningful career.) One exec became a yoga and holistic health counselor. Another became a career reinvention coach. One caller took his passion for European car parts and turned it into an Internet business.

Many people's successful alternative careers are heavily dependent on technology for making products and on the Internet for selling products and services.

Wired Magazine (Feb. 2010) predicts that a new industrial revolution is in the making "in an age of open source, custom-fabricated, DIY product design.Now that individuals are able, without a high capital outlay, to use computers and 3-D printers to design and prototype new products and then outsource custom, "small-batch" manufacturing to China, many small entrepreneurs are successfully bringing their products to market. Some examples? A kit car manufacturer. A company that makes accessories that interface with Lego blocks. Bike components. Customer furniture. Noise-canceling wireless headsets. If you have a great idea for a new product, you may be able to grow a business from your garage.

IN SUMMARY. If you are out of work and feel out of options, these new directions might spark an idea for you that could result in a rewarding new career. With the fast pace of technological change, the vicissitudes of the market, and an increasingly global economy, it makes sense for everyone - jobless or not - to be thinking about having an ace up their sleeve and an idea about how to adapt to "what's next."


Topics: job search, personal branding, executive resumes, executive resume writing, career management, career planning, Get a Job, Working

What Will Retirement Mean For You?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:10:00 AM

As I talk to clients in their fifties and older, they are all really conscious of needing to plan for the years that traditionally belonged to full retirement. Not only do many people not have the nest egg for retiring at 66, many simply are bored by the prospect. Here is what I am hearing:
Some are interested in transitioning from their vocation to their avocation, such as switching from VP of IT to furniture making.
Others are seeking to go into teaching, usually as an adjunct professor at the college, community college, or adult education level. Many business programs are looking for experienced professionals to lend their learned wisdom to their students. (Prefer a Ph.D. but sometimes a Master's degree suffices if the course is pragmatic enough).
Consulting is probably the most common solution I am hearing about. This option requires planning ahead in terms of developing a clear personal brand (what you do best and the value you bring to the market) and defining the services you can provide and who your target market is. Some people are staying on at their place of employment but in a consulting capacity. There is a great need for the expertise and retained corporate knowledge as the work force becomes younger and less experienced.
Volunteering, although not a money-maker, is an appealing option - but now boomers are thinking about it not it terms of serving soup at a soup kitchen, but rather in terms of how they can apply their considerable professional skills to advance the common good. Whether that means providing business strategy consulting to non-profits or setting up the technology infrastructure for a new non-profit, "retirees" have a lot to contribute.
I even hear of people in their 40s thinking about their futures in retirement. Which makes sense because developing your personal brand and evolving it through life is replacing the traditional sense of identity people got from working for the same employer for decades. It will be interesting to see how the concept of retirement evolves over the coming years. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, career planning, Retirement Planning

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Tyrone Norwood