Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

The LinkedIn Summary Dilemma: Use "I" or Not?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jun 16, 2015 10:34:23 AM


LinkedIn profile writing is a challenge. And there are ways in which the LinkedIn profile summary section is still the Wild West. The LI summary is a blank page only restricted by the 2000 character limit. There are no requirements for anything in particular, such as listing your jobs and dates. So why is it important to worry about this? And what should you do?

People know that LI is the premier business networking site. It also happens to be an almost-mandatory place for recruiters to check before exploring possible job candidates further. In addition, it provides a fairly comprehensive database of potential candidates that recruiters can search by specifying desired keywords.

Because, for professionals and executives, LI is now so critical to getting their next job, they are naturally very sensitive to how they present themselves in the summary section. And when they do a Google search on how to write the summary they may find advice and examples that run counter to how they want to present themselves.

This link will show you the typical recommendations and examples career-minded individuals will see when they look to the Web for advice on writing the summary:


LinkedIn best practice for writing the summary is to use the first person singular, that is, use "I" throughout as opposed to "Ms Jones" or using the hidden 3rd person voice such as we use in resumes ("Worked for 20+ years...") So what's the problem?

Some people are just plain uncomfortable with the more personal tone of the first person voice. They may also feel that use of the first person "I" places too much focus on the self and is not modest enough in tone. Does the fact that best practice is to use "I mean that they should bite the bullet and go out there in public with an expression that feels unnatural, uncomfortable, or even inappropriate to them? No, of course not.

That being said, there are good reasons for using the personal "I" voice. It can invite the reader in to get to know you. It can convey personality, character, and other elements of your personal brand much more easily and naturally than the more impersonal, distancing voice of the 3rd person "he/she" or the more formal resume voice.

Summaries using "I" are more apt to be interesting and engaging. That is good! As in every other type of communication including ads, articles, movies, and TV shows, the personal and the emotional "sells." Even if you inject just a little more engaging direct and self-revelatory content into your LinkedIn profile, the recruiter who finds you on LI may become more interested in you and more motivated to read on.

Done sloppily, the first person LI summary can of course turn off the recruiter who may view the tone too informal or too personal.

Tricky, huh?

So, on the horns of the dilemma, this is what I recommend. Use the first person "I" in your LI summary if:

a) You can do it skillfully, professionally, and engagingly. If not, revert to one of the other options.

b) You feel comfortable doing it. If not, revert to one of the other options.

If you choose the more formal approach for writing a LinkedIn profile, you may be giving up some competitive advantage. But probably not so much that it’s worth being ill at ease with how you present yourself. Good luck with this!

If you have trouble, contact me at jc@get-job-offers.com or another professional LinkedIn profile writer for help.





Topics: LinkedIn Profiles, LinkedIn Profile Writing

Survey Shows Upsurge in Social Media Hiring: Job Search Tips

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Sep 17, 2013 10:17:00 AM


LinkedIn & Job SearchWondering how much recruiters are using social media to source and vet candidates? Thinking you need to get more active in social networking to grow your career?

These findings from Jobvite's 2013 Social Media Recruiting Survey will give you insight into how much social media has influenced today's hiring practices:

  • 94% across industries have adopted or plan to adopt social recruiting
  • 78% of social recruiters have made a hire using social recruiting
  • In order of preference: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are the networks of choice
  • Of the multi-channel strategy recruiters use, the channels that have grown the most are social networks, referrals, and corporate career sites
  • 93% of recruiters are likely to look at someone's social media profile

Other findings are important for job seekers to know. Here are some kinds of content that create strong negative responses in recruiters:

  • Illegal drug mentions 
  • Overtly sexual content
  • Profanity
  • References to guns
  • Pictures of alcohol consumption
  • Spelling/grammar mistakes

Strong positives are found for:

  • Volunteering & donations to charity

Neutrals are found for mention of politics and religion, interestingly enough, although I recommend you avoid being to fanatical about either.

Other sites recruiters may check are:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Blogs
  • Others

So, take note of the recruiter preferences above when you start to build out your online presence. We've coverered how to build your LinkedIn presence and use Twitter in other posts. We've also written about how to get hired using social media.

Don't lag behind this recruitment trend by ignoring social media in your job search strategy. Online identity can make or break a candidacy. Make sure yours is positive, continually expanding and on brand to grow your career. Good luck!




Topics: job search, LinkedIn Profiles, recruiters, Social media job search, the social search

Executive Resumes & Personal Branding: What Is No One Talking About?

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 9, 2013 10:36:00 AM

personal branding & living the life you were born to live

Every once in a while I get to step back and look at the work I do with my clients from a larger, more expansive perspective. Ordinarily, we are laser focused on developing a branded executive resume and LinkedIn profile that will attract interviews and job offers. But what is really at stake here?                

Nothing less than your life. I'm currently reading The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope, Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the famed Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Western Massachusetts. I tell you I did a double-take! He's talking about personal branding using the vocabulary of yogic fulfillment!

Yet, the criticality of discovering who you are, who you are given to be in your life, is rarely mentioned in personal branding discussions. Personal branding sounds like it's "nice to have," optional, a smart thing to do for career advancement, for making more money, and achieving greater fulfillment, but - is it a tragedy if you don't do it, find it, live it out?

Steven Cope says it is. If people "miss the mark" by even a little - say, they're a priest when they reallly want to lead the choir - that person may well experience ill effects from boredom, depression, feeling out of sync with what they do with most of their waking hours. And the world will have an uncomfortable, conflicted priest instead of inspired sacred music making.

Another thing that happens is that people undervalue their gifts, and therefore continue to do what they do with a nagging sense of falling short of "the big thing" they should be doing.

This is the situation I see most often. Wiliam Arruda's Reach 360 Survey is a fabulous tool for helping my clients see the gifts that others see in them - that they are too close to to see - or that they discount because their gifts come so naturally to them.

Learning that others DON'T usually have their particular gifts and that they turn to them for their gifts is a real eye-opener. The process helps my clients achieve a new sense of themselves as highly valued for their unique, natural-to-them ways that they do their work and interact with others.

What does the world lose by inidividuals not valuing themselves for their intrinsic personal brand? A person on fire with their passions and coming from a place of inner alignment with the greatest life that they can have - who does his work skillfully and with joy.

So, when you come to write your executive resume, be sure to let employers and recruiters know who you are - someone no one can duplicate - along with why the company needs someone like you. Get your personal brand out there - and give the world a chance to be benefited by you, living out your greatest life.




Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, LinkedIn Profiles

3 Very Easy Shortcuts to Getting a Personal Brand

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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!


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

Drop The Ladders: There's a Better Way to Job Search!

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Sep 1, 2011 10:20:00 AM

Use LinkedIn to job search

If, like most people in this brave new world of job search, you're pinning your hopes on sites like The Ladders and other job boards, it's time to shift your hopes to social media. Read Nick Corcodilos' take on The Ladders, a resource similar to a job board, in his Ask the Headhunter blog post to find out his take on that service.

Social media? You mean like Facebook?!? It's worth a shot, so is Twitter, but the big bonanza is with LinkedIn. Check out these stats from a survey by jobvite reported in CIO Magazine's blog post by Meredith Levinson:

63% of IT job referrals are shared on LinkedIn

18% are shared on Facebook

17% are shared on Twitter

63% of employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media

95% have hired someone using LinkedIn

With metrics like these, you can't afford to neglect the social media channel as an important component of your job search. Yes, networking (often leveraged by using LI's database and process) is still the boss, but, as an adjunct, do these things:

1. Put a complete profile up on LinkedIn including a professional photo - and make sure it's focused on what you want to do next and that it's on-brand.

2. Pay close attention to the keywords you use: they will determine whether a hiring manager finds your profile in a search.

2. Add some bells and whistles to your LI profile: links to other websites where you can be found online, a PowerPoint Presentation, a list of relevant LI groups you participate in, a video, etc.

3. Take advantage of LinkedIn job search tools and searches.

4. Consider whether you have the time to invest in Twitter and, if you do, follow thought leaders and contribute yourself.

5. Do the same with Facebook - remembering that your identity there has to be 100% clean.

Your online identity - what a hiring manager finds in a search of your name - is becoming increasingly critical, with 45% of employers saying they ALWAYS search someone's online profile before hiring them. Start with setting up or improving your LI profile, and good luck!





Topics: job search, LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services, LinkedIn Profiles, IT resumes, job interview

Top Trends in Personal Branding: Job Seekers Take Note

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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.


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

25 LinkedIn Tips for Your Job Search

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Jan 14, 2011 5:51:00 PM

25 LinkedIn Tips for Job SearchThe vast majority of employers and recruiters search LinkedIn before deciding whether to interview you. If you're conducting a job search, do you know how to optimize LinkedIn to your advantage? Here are a few ideas. Please add additional ones in comments!

  1. After your title, add your industry (if that's the one you want a job in) and then pump it up with your brand if you wish: "Go-to SAP Project Manager"
  2. In your summary, nail your value proposition and competitive advantages.
  3. Use the common keywords recruiters or hiring authorities would use when searching for someone like you.
  4. Put in a comprehensive list of keywords under Specialties to attract search engine attention
  5. Under Experience, just hit your main achievements and contributions. Use numbers whenever possible.
  6. If your title isn't the one a hiring manager would use to search for someone who does what you do, put your formal, legal title in, then a slash, and then the title that you would have in most companies: "Business Continuity Analyst / Business Continuity Manager"
  7. Make your profile as complete as possible. Include links to any websites or blogs and to your Twitter and Facebook pages.
  8. List all your educational institutions, training, associations, and memberships to provide keywords that may help other users find you.
  9. Include a headshot. Make it professional even if it's taken from your digital camera.
  10. List your interests, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. They give you individuality and make you memorable. Also, studies show that skill in one area (swimming) tranfers to perceived skill in your professional area (Program Management).
  11. List your LinkedIn groups.
  12. Consider which applications you'd like to download (see bottom of your profile). 
  13. Participate in the Answers feature in your field to demonstrate subject matter expertise and thought leadership.
  14. Join one or more groups related to your field of expertise. Contribute to it regularly. This helps your reputation as a thought leader.
  15. Ask as many people as you can to write a recommendation (stick to professional contacts).
  16. Recommend others. They may return the favor.
  17. Consider embedding a video in your site - it's a real differentiator and allows you to show your enthusiasm and expertise in your field.
  18. Connect to people you know and have confidence in.
  19. Let LinkedIn mine your email addresses and give you the opportunity to invite some of them.
  20. Do research on companies you are interested in working for.
  21. Find names of people who work in those companies or who have worked there recently (all this can be done in a simple search).
  22. Send a message or an inmail if it's available to them to ask if you could speak with them for 5 minutes to learn something about the culture of the company from within.
  23. Find out any inside information you can about where the company is going that will help you tailor your message to them.
  24. Go to Settings and check the box that says you'll allow inmail and introductions.
  25. Go to Jobs and start using the largest job board on the Web!

Topics: job search, LinkedIn, executive resumes, career management, Get a Job, career services, LinkedIn Profiles

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Tyrone Norwood