Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

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

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Oct 27, 2010 10:43:00 AM

image boomergetsajob resized 600

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

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

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

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


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

Personal Branding: Is that Why CIOs Tweet?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Sep 24, 2010 9:43:00 AM

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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

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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

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

Match.com and Your Resume

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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!


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

Where Do You Find Meaning in Your Work?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 6, 2010 10:21:00 AM



Just read a cool article by Cali Yost on finding meaning in work and getting paid at the same time. The author talks about the thread of meaning that runs through her life and career. She also talks about the "encore careers" that many baby boomers are thinking about as they plan "retirement" that will combine making some money with some form of giving back to the community.

The core meaning she is talking about has a lot to do with our personal brand. It's hard to imagine delving deeply into our brand without encountering some foundational values that guide us in our lives and work. Questions to ask: What core commitments can be found in the way we have conducted the various jobs we have held? Do we want to retain that core meaning going forward? How will we do it?

She also talks about "job crafting" - where we shape the job we have to more closely align with the activities that create meaning for us. We all can try to do this. It means letting go as much as possible of parts of work that are not as authentic or on-brand and moving towards work that is more fulfilling and expresses more of who we really are.

As the new year approaches, I wish for all of us that we can move ever closer to a clearer expression of our brand in our lives and in our work. Happy New Year!




Topics: personal branding, executive resume writing, careers in retirement

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Tyrone Norwood