Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

The New Job Security: 10 Career Management Tips

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jan 26, 2011 6:07:00 PM

Career management

It's not news to anyone that job security is a thing of the past. It can start to feel as though employers are holding all the cards, hiring and laying off people at will, with no loyalty involved.

But there's another way to look at the situation. Consider yourself a free agent who can move freely between various opportunities as chances to grow your personal brand present themselves. Here are some quick tips I've summarized from Kathryn Ullrich writing in TechRepublic:

1. Look out for #1: with loyalty an old-fashioned virtue, you have the right to move to a job that works better for you

2. Be strategic: plan where you want to be within a range of time frames and chart how to get there

3. Work in step with your company goals: by aligning your work with the company's strategic objectives, your contributions will be more significant

4. Be customer-centric: not only will attention to your internal and external customers result in better products and services, but you'll be better networked for future career moves

5. Collaborate: again, build your connections while improving innovation and day-to-day work product

6. Hone your communications skills: it may sound overused, but ability to listen and express yourself effectively are core skills to almost all jobs; even individual contributors like coders will be more effective with better communication skills

7. Cross over functionally: more and more companies are looking for people who have a broader functional skillset - and you'll grow your network while you're at it

8. Expand your experience: this will give you value-added skills and a broader network

9. Find a guide: a mentor can be a great guide to planning and implementing your career progression

10. Network - now: optimize your profile on LinkedIn for job search (see previous post) and continually make connections online and off for when you need them or they need you

Here are a few more I think are important:

1. Define your personal brand: your value proposition, attributes, values, and value-adds

2. Project your brand online (see previous post)

3. Keep your eye on where the business and/or company you're in is trending; shape your career in the direction where the jobs are going to be

4. Become a subject matter expert and showcase your knowledge in a blog, on LinkedIn groups, in LI Answers, on Twitter, etc.

5. Go deep in one of the trending areas

6. Choose a function to join with IT, such as finance or sales & marketing - to give you a competitive advantage in a job search

Job search is an Always On feature of life now. Go ahead, you're in the driver's seat of your career.


Topics: job search, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services, Online ID

IT Professionals: Get Career Insurance Now!

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jan 12, 2011 11:07:00 AM

US tech career planning in response to outsourcing

CIO magazine's blog post by Michael Hugos recommends 3 ways for IT professionals to secure their career going forward. He postulates that the trend towards outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs is irreversible. He goes on to say that cloud computing and SaaS mean a further reduction in IT in-house staffs.

Logically, I think what he says about the future of IT in US and Europe makes sense. I have, however, seen a flow of jobs back to the US in some cases. Customer frustration with help desk services provided by non-native English speakers and occasional dropped calls have prompted some companies to bring the function back to the US. One of the companies I am aware of has taken their systems administration away from a low-cost Indian provider and given it to a high-cost European one that is providing vastly improved service.

Still, IT professionals in India and China will only get increasingly skilled technically and better at communicating in English as time goes on. So what does the author suggest IT folks in US and Europe do to ensure they will have jobs in the future?

1. They need to focus on more than just cutting costs.

2. They need to develop expertise in another functional area on the business side of the house - marketing, finance, sales - in order to have an inside track on how they can leverage IT to MAKE MONEY.

3. They need to continually work to leverage technologies that provide greater agility to transform business to be more agile and hence more able to respond to market opportunities and challenges.

In addition to these, I think that, even though China is particular is coming on strong in tech innovation, the US and Europe must continue to lead in innovation. The individual technology professional who either pioneers or is an early adopter of an innovation that improves how business gets done will have a job that can't be outsourced.

The same is true, in my opinion, of the IT professional who adds value to the standard job description. An example of this would be my client who is such an expert on iOS and other mobile operating systems that he is an invaluable support to other Team Leads and a highly effective trainer and manager of outsourced teams.

Any other thoughts on how to ensure tech careers going forward?




Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services

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

LinkedIn's New Personal Branding Help

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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.


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

Personal Branding: Is that Why CIOs Tweet?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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.



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

Your Personal Branding & the Dilemma of Having 2 Job Targets

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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!



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 Tyrone Norwood

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!"




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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Tyrone Norwood