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Build Confidence to Launch Your Executive Job Search

Build Confidence to Launch Your Executive Job Search

An executive job search is one of the hardest things that you will ever do. Going through an executive job search could leave you feeling bruised and beaten down. Your level of confidence can get hit pretty hard if you have been turned down for an executive position or haven’t been able to get an interview so far in your executive job search. Instead of focusing on the discouragement, work on changing your perspective.

Anchor shaped word cloud with text about confidence

Confidence is the key to your successful executive job search.

As you prepare to conduct your executive job search you might currently be without a job, but previously employed—or have a job and want a change. Decades ago, people would start with one company and retire from the same company. In today’s world people can change jobs or even careers many times in their career lifetime. Factors such as corporate reorganizations, mergers, technology changes, and increased performance expectations have caused a huge increase in those looking for a job. These are all external factors to your job search, whereas a change of your internal mindset truly can affect your success.

There are several approaches that you can take to adjust your attitude and raise your confidence in finding that great job opportunity.

  1. Look at the whole picture—Write down what is working well and not so well for you. Focus on what you do well and work to change what does not work well. Recently, I learned that many companies coach their employees to play to their strengths, for the greater success of the entire team. You can take this approach in your executive job search.
  2. Ask others—Reach out to those that know you well or have worked with you in the past. Ask for their perspective on skills or attributes that they have noticed in you.
  3. Use your skills—Maintain your skill set. Keep current by using your skills either through volunteering or continuing education. When you do not keep current, you take the risk doubting whether you are still “up to the job.”
  4. Practice interviewing—Research and record a list of potential interview questions and practice with a trusted person. You will find yourself more at ease during an interview if you are prepared. At the same time, review your executive resume to brush up on your own history, so you can answer interview questions with confidence.
  5. Keep involved with your network—Your network is the key to your finding a new executive position. Not only will you keep up on your industry, but you also might discover job opportunities that become available. Feeling shaky on the networking front? Contact us for guidance.

Keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind is difficult when you are faced with the challenge of a job search. You can help yourself keep a positive mindset throughout your executive job search with these 5 reminders.

For more information on building confidence in an executive job search:

Is Your Lack Of Confidence Holding Your Job Search Back?

How to Build Your Job-Search Confidence

Is Your Executive Job Search Taking Too Long?

Is Your Executive Job Search Taking Too Long?

Have you been wondering whether your executive job search has been going on too long? Do you have a sense of whether your motivation is too low–or whether you are simply overanxious? On the one hand, you might be spinning your wheels. On the other, you might be working within a very reasonable time frame, even though your executive job search seems to feel endless.

Orange hourglass tipped on angle

Why is your executive job search taking so long?

There is a rule of thumb that indicates that a reasonable job search takes the number of tens of thousands in your annual compensation and converts it to months: In other words, a $450,000 / year job should take almost 4 years to secure! If this seems irrational to you, you definitely are not alone. I do not think your job search should take that long, either. Although I cannot specifically say that X or Y months is the right length of time for your specific job search, I can definitely say that with the right strategies, often in partnership with a career transition expert, your job search will proceed much more efficiently than with a scattershot approach.

Signs You Are Wasting Time in Your Executive Job Search

Take stock of the techniques that you are using to identify, apply for, and evaluate your future role. Clear signs that you are wasting time with ineffective techniques include:

  • You have no overarching job search strategy.
  • You focus on the tools and techniques to the exclusion of identifying long- versus short-term goals.
  • You are applying for dozens of positions per week with no apparent ROI on the process.

For just a moment, imagine that your job search could be compared, loosely, to a hammer. All of these “techniques” can be likened to the steel head of that hammer. They work well, but without the handle and good aim, you are likely to miss your nail. Or, if you hit it, you probably will have to bash the nail, inefficiently, dozens of times before you succeed in pounding it in. The same will be true with an inefficient job search: You potentially, could hit the right combination of tactics, but more than likely your random successes will fall outside of a targeted, planned, strategic job search process. And, yes, that will definitely use up a great deal of your 45 months.

Signs You Are Efficient in Your Executive Job Search

Let us imagine a different scenario, one in which you are planning and strategizing to make your job search targeted, focused, clear, and tuned to the expectations of your executive audience. In this type of strategic job search, you might be engaging in any number of the following:

  • Broad networking to slake your curiosity about what people do in their roles and/or industries.
  • Focused networking to build credibility and authenticity, especially if you are changing roles and industries at the same time.
  • Developing a highly tuned career portfolio (executive resume, LinkedIn profile, and more) that speaks to what you know to be the needs of your executive audience.

Clearly, if you are able to match your strategic goals with the strategic needs of companies actually engaged in the recruitment process, your likelihood of success is much greater. Moreover, the time it takes to complete a successful executive job search is minimized, according to your clear focus and efficient strategy.

 

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Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

Who Are Your Advocates in Your Executive Job Search?

When you’re looking down the double barrels of a complex job search, you might be feeling isolated. In most cases, you can’t talk to your immediate colleagues, your suppliers, or your customers. What do you do when you want to move on from your current role, but you have no idea to whom you will turn for help? Who are your advocates in your executive job search?

Your Existing Network

Desert with rock towers

Who are your advocates in your job search?

Certainly, speaking to your current employees or executive team about your plans to make a career move is tricky–or professionally suicidal. However, you likely have a “professional board of directors” who can serve as your sounding board. If you’re planning to change companies or careers, these individuals can advise you on the status of their companies, industries, and more.

Where to look: Start with your close contacts, such as relatives or close former colleagues–these will be your safest audience.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be your best confidential advocates–if they have identified you as a unique resource to pitch to their clients. Of necessity, recruiters follow the needs of their clients, which are the companies that hire them to find unique talent. So while your job search should never start with the premise that you will “work with recruiters.” They know how to find you if they need you, and spreading yourself thinly across a pool of recruiters dilutes your uniqueness. If a recruiter finds you and asks you about your interest in a particular position, that’s a call for which you should always make time.

Where to look: Don’t look at all. Let them find you.

Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

Your executive career coach and resume writer can be your best advocate throughout your career transition. This professional is always on your side, helping you to develop clarity for your:

  • Target executive title
  • Target industry
  • Target company
  • Messaging and story telling
  • Marketing portfolio, e.g., your executive resume and cover letter
  • Social media presence, including but not limited to LinkedIn profile development

Where to look: Call me to identify whether we are a good fit.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / sscharlo

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

How to Find Joy in Your Executive Career

To misquote Simon and Garfunkel’s “Kodachrome,” I don’t remember a lot of what I learned in high school specifically. Significantly, however, I do remember learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this concept has always resonated with me. Particularly now in my practice as an executive resume writer and career coach, I think about what pushes executives to stay on their existing career paths—and what induces them to push harder to find joy in their careers.

Briefly, Maslow demonstrated that at the most basic level we need food, clothing, shelter, and all of the fundamental things that enable our bodies to survive. At the highest level, we self-actualize, which has been interpreted as reaching our full potential. In the realm of your executive career, your joy in your work is your self-actualization.

The idea that you’re at your best when you love what you do should not come as a complete surprise. I’m sure there have been many moments in your career that sparked a smile on your face, not to mention accolades from your team or boss. In aggregate, that’s your personal definition of career-related joy.

The harder question is this: How do you make those moments happen more often and more predictably. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you dissatisfied with your company’s trajectory?
  2. Do you wish you could earn a promotion or better compensation faster?
  3. Are you sure your industry the right one for you?
  4. If you had no obstacles to a career change, would you immediately change industries or job functions to ones you’ve already thought about?
  5. Do you dread Monday mornings?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you might not be finding the joy every executive deserves in his or her career. Give me a call—we can talk about your specific situation and develop a strategy to identify the ways you can recover the joy you felt when you first started down this career path.

 

 

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Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Treat Your Executive Career the Way You Run Your Company

Recently, I read on several social media outlets a meme that reads, roughly:

Executive #1: “What if we invest in our workforce and they choose to leave?”
Executive #2: “What if we don’t, and they stay?”

Of course this meme was designed to incite executives to invest in their company’s talent. I don’t believe that there is an executive out there who thinks that ignoring the needs of his or her workforce is wise.

Despite the axiomatic value of investing in the talent and expertise of their company, so many executives refuse to do the same for themselves. These executives adamantly refuse to treat their own career growth with the same care and insightfulness.

Executive board room with chairs and table.

Do you refuse to treat your own career growth with care and insightfulness?

Examples of this lack of preparation and investment appear in a number of ways. These executives:

  • Lose their former passion for their work but keep trudging along the same paths on which they have been successful in the past.
  • Fail to create a thoughtful business plan for the success of their careers.
  • Neglect to build a career plan “inventory” in the form of a compelling current resume, recognizable branding, engaging social media presence, and so on.
  • Abandon their warm contacts when they secured the position that was right at the time, treating networking as a goal-specific strategy whose value dropped the moment the ink dried on their contracts.
  • Decline to budget to hire the right consultants to guide them in making complex career decisions.

These executives are smart and insightful, so, probably, they didn’t forget these key steps on purpose. What started as benign neglect quickly turned to outright apathy. The pattern disintegrates into painful lack of motivation and career subsistence. In other words, they are unhappy in their roles, know they can do better, but choose to do nothing, simply because change is too daunting. Fortunately, mastering the enterprise known as your career is not as complicated as running your company–although the personal stakes are infinitely greater.

The broad plan is simple. The expert consultant you need to engage knows the way your career is supposed to work. And the sooner you start, the less time you lose to indifference or fear, and the sooner you can tackle each step of the process, with support, one piece at a time. You simply need to choose to master your career.

 

image courtesy of freeimages.com / svilen001

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

Do you wonder whether you are really getting anywhere with your job search networking strategy? While you are in the midst of networking, the process can seem thankless. Did that connection you made a month ago turn into something? How do you know whether the presentation you attended was worth going to from a networking perspective? Although it is hard to pin job search success onto any one networking event, overall, you can measure your networking success with a few simple metrics.

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

1. New Connections on LinkedIn

When you collect business cards at a networking event, do you turn them into LinkedIn connections? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity to broaden your network. Measure the growth of your first-degree connections–those you have met in person and those you “meet” virtually–to see whether your networking efforts are bearing fruit.

2. Telephone Meetings

Often, first-degree connections on LinkedIn linger in purgatory, never becoming real-world connections with whom you have conversations. How many of these first-degree connections result in telephone conversations, during which you can ask your new contact a variety of questions about their experiences, positions, companies, and industries? If your number is small, you might need to open this bottleneck in the networking process.

3. Face-to-Face Meetings

How many of your telephone conversations turn into real-world meetings? Granted, the face-to-face meeting is likely to be a more rare event than the telephone meeting, but this makes in-person conversations that much more important. Stack the deck in your favor, and ASK for the meeting. Your connection might be too busy, but chances are that he or she will feel flattered, particularly if you are seeking expertise from a position of genuine curiosity about this person’s experience.

4. Introductions to Hiring Executives

Now recall the number of times you have been introduced by a connection, personally, to a hiring manager. More rare still, these opportunities to meet actual hiring executives are precious chances for you to demonstrate the value you could bring to a company or an industry. Prepare for these meetings wisely–they are not likely to be frequent, so make the most of the chance to make that special first impression.

5. Job Interviews

Interview offers can come in cold, from the submission of your resume to an indifferent web site or email, but they are more likely to develop as a result of your ongoing, powerful, and planned networking strategy. Therefore, this is the metric that matters most in your networking efforts. Bring your best game, and use this opportunity to show how you are the right fit for the company.

Conclusion: Identify the Bottleneck

Where in this process did your numbers drop off? Was it at step 1? Maybe you are not putting yourself out there sufficiently at the broadest level to create as many new connections as you can. Was it at step 4? Why do you think hiring managers–those with the power to extend critical interview offers–are not following through? Not getting a second interview? Then you must examine your interviewing strategy for step 5. Wherever the bottleneck seems to reside, you have to figure out why your experience has followed this pattern. Not sure why your job search networking strategy is not working? We can help.

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Top 10 Etiquette Tips for Working with Recruiters

Top 10 Etiquette Tips for Working with Recruiters

One of the biggest questions I frequently receive is how best to work with recruiters. As part of a well-rounded career search strategy, working with recruiters can be extremely valuable. If you choose to work with a recruiter, or a recruiter seeks you out, follow these top etiquette tips to ensure that you have a smooth, positive, mutually rewarding relationship with your recruiter.

1. Be Responsive to Recruiter Inquiries

Speed is one of the most critical factors when working with a recruiting firm, especially contingency recruiters. If a recruiter is trying to reach you to discuss an opportunity, he or she will want to talk to you right away and will likely move on to someone else if you are hard to reach. You might consider getting a second phone line that you use only during your job search and an email that you use only for your job search. If you have a standard gmail address of , you also can sign up for a Google Voice number, a free redirecting phone number that rings to an existing number of your choosing, such as your mobile phone.

2. Be Respectful of the Recruiter’s Time

Remember too that recruiters are often working on numerous search assignments simultaneously. Many recruiting firms require a minimum number of successful placements each month for the recruiter to keep his or her job. Consequently, be mindful of the recruiter’s time when you make contact.

3. Build a Relationship with a Recruiter.

As a general rule, you should always take a recruiter’s call, even if you are not looking for a new position. A recruiter in your industry can provide valuable industry information and help you shape your own career path. Moreover, don’t treat conversations with recruiters as transactions. You’d hate being treated that way, and so do recruiters.

4. Be Findable on LinkedIn

Recruiters and sourcers know how to find candidates, even the ones who are working in jobs they love. However, you can make their jobs easier by publishing a robust LinkedIn profile, joining relevant industry or function-related groups, building a strong LinkedIn network, and ensuring your profile is set to public viewing. LinkedIn also has a number of premium job seeker features that can help you be more visible. In 2015, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature that lets recruiters know you’re open to inquiries. To turn this feature on, go to Jobs in the black bar at the top of the screen, then choose Preferences in the menu below.

5. Be a Valuable Networking Contact for the Recruiter

You can be a good source of information for the recruiter as well. Be a good contact for an industry/sector recruiter — keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and candidates and share that information with the recruiter. If you are not a fit for an opportunity you are contacted about, but you can recommend someone else, share that information. A recruiter will remember that you provided a new contact for him or her when the opportunity was not exactly right for you and will think of you the next time.

6. Be Specific about Your Career Requirements

If you are looking for a position, be up front with the recruiter about the type of work, type of company, salary expectations, and so on that you need to have to explore opportunities further. The recruiter’s goal is to fill open positions, so the more information you can provide about your non-negotiables and on what you are willing to compromise, the less likely you will be to frustrate a recruiter who has worked very hard on your behalf in positioning you to the wrong company.

7. Know that You Are Not the Right Candidate for Every Recruiter

Don’t contact too many recruiters — especially at the same firm. Recruiters often have access to an internal candidate management system that allows them to see what contact you’ve had with other recruiters within the firm, and other positions you’ve applied for.

8. Be Up Front about Your Recruiter Relationships

Let your recruiter know when you are working with another recruiter. If two contingency recruiters submit you as a candidate to the same firm, you may not be considered by the client company at all, even if you are a perfect match. Companies don’t want to mediate an argument between recruiters about who “owns” the candidate (and, consequently, who would receive the commission if the successful placement is made).

9. Recall How Recruiters Earn Their Fees

If you are working with a recruiter, don’t apply for the same positions you are being submitted to as a candidate. You may end up inadvertently disqualifying yourself because the employer does not want to risk having a recruiter claim a commission if you are hired directly. If you see a position advertised and are contacted by a recruiter for the same opportunity, you can decide whether you want to apply directly or be submitted as a candidate by the recruiter. If you have a networking contact at the company, you may decide to apply directly or determine that a good recruiter can get you in front of a hiring manager more easily than you could get noticed yourself. (This is particularly true if the employer uses an applicant tracking system to screen resumes. Recruiters can often reach hiring managers directly.)

10. Be a Compelling Candidate

Last, but certainly not least, develop a compelling professional brand that appeals to hiring executives–and thus to recruiters. Demonstrate in your executive resume and your LinkedIn profile that you are rarely and uniquely suited for hard-to-fill roles to ensure that recruiters find you for the unusual skill set you bring to the employment marketplace. While you will not automatically fall off recruiters’ radar for being fabulously average, you are more likely to capture a busy recruiter’s attention if you can demonstrate the scarce skills and assets that a hiring executive is demanding.

Updated January 2017.

 

Image courtesy of suphkit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

LinkedIn’s Gamification of Profile Views: More Harm than Good?

LinkedIn’s Gamification of Profile Views: More Harm than Good?

The gamification of LinkedIn?

The gamification of LinkedIn?

LinkedIn’s new “How You Rank Among Your Connection” function stacks your profile against those of all of your first-degree connections, according to the number of profile views yours is receiving compared to all of theirs. I described this new feature in detail in “Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank.” I was astonished by the overwhelming response to this post. Therefore, I am digging deeper now into the value of LinkedIn’s gamification of your profile. My initial impression of the new metric is that it can do more harm than good for legitimate job seekers.

See Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank for my initial thoughts on LinkedIn profile view rankings.

You Are a Job Seeker, Not a Gamer

First and foremost, you are a job seeker, not a gamer trying to “win” in any arena other than the employment marketplace. To reduce your very real job search to a game is uncivil at best. Correct use of LinkedIn is essential, but for you to be focusing on an artificial competition imposed on you by the platform detracts from your true purpose in using it–building essential connections that drive your career transition. The new metric of how you compete with your network for page rank engages you to focus on the unnatural competition between you and the very people who are likely to be your most precious asset in your job search.

The Profile Rank Metric Measures Your Position but Tells You Nothing

Second, just because LinkedIn can measure something does not mean that the measurement has inherent value. Let us assume that your network is composed of one of three types of connections. On the one hand, you have those who can help you in your career transition but who could gain nothing otherwise from being your connection, such as senior executive leadership if you are a newer entrant to the employment marketplace. (Or you might be that leader who enjoys connecting with more junior players because you value the process of unearthing exceptional talent.) Next, you have those who can only gain from including you in their network, such as recruiters and those seeking to hire someone like you. Last, you have people professionally similar to you in industry and job function.“The new metric of how you compete with your network for page rank engages you to focus on the unnatural competition between you and the very people who are likely to be your most precious asset in your job search.”

In slightly different terms, the first category is composed of people similar to you but to whom you pose no competition in the employment marketplace. The second category is composed of people who need your connection on some level (or vice-versa). The last category is composed entirely of connections with career histories, job functions, and experiences substantively similar to your own.

Unless your profile is actually composed 100% of people in the third category, the idea of ranking yourself against your every single one of your first-degree connections is baseless. There is truly no point in comparing your rank for profile views with, let us say, that of your grad school professor’s, that of your accountant’s, or that of your company’s CEO. The comparison measures two like things–the number of profile views you each receive–but relationship might be more apples-to-oranges than apples-to-apples than is immediately obvious.

Let us take a step back and look at this a different way: If we construct an artificial environment in which your first-degree connections are 100% like you, then the comparison metric makes sense. Theoretically, at one time or another, or even right now, you will be competing with this group for the scarce resources of informational interviews, knowledge of job opportunities, job interviews, and job offers. Of course, savvy job seekers connect with people across the three types, because all can influence and improve his or her success in the employment marketplace.

Your LinkedIn Profile Is Not Your Resume

Another critical problem with the gamification of your LinkedIn profile is that the comparison of profile views across your network encourages you to tweak your profile the way you might tweak your resume. Of course, there are very good reasons to consistently build a robust LinkedIn profile, and every participant on the platform should work hard to ensure that the profile represents the professional brand. However, tweaking for the sake of “beating” the competition has no value, given the fact that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, your profile will never replace your resume.

There are going to be those who disagree with me; perhaps those in LinkedIn’s leadership will argue to the contrary, given the recent emphasis on applying for jobs posted on the platform (a revenue source for LinkedIn, clearly). However, smart job seekers know that not all job postings within an industry or job function are the same, so some tweaking is essential. LinkedIn has pitted savvy job seeking strategy against rank for page views.

LinkedIn, the Latest in Popularity Contests?

In conclusion, you need to decide for yourself how much you want to play the popularity game. Do you want more profile views, or do you want BETTER profile views? The best card you can play in this game is delivering top-flight content that accurately portrays your career history, accomplishments, and overall professional brand. I maintain that it is better to get 10 appropriate views by those

  • In your industry or job function
  • Connected to people who might be able to influence your career direction at some point
  • Needing your help to improve their career prospects
  • Positioned to influence the hiring people with your skills and expertise.

than 100 profile views from individuals unrelated to your area of expertise, whom you cannot help, or who cannot help you. If you focus on quality over mere popularity and cultivate meaningful connections, you inevitably will create real value out of your LinkedIn profile views. You will not be satisfied with the metric of LinkedIn profile view ranking as an end in and of itself.

 

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Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

There are three levels of writing your executive resume. Choose wisely to fully describe your accomplishments in your executive resume.

Level 1: A mere description of your job, as recorded by human resources.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

If you are an executive in charge of sales, this responsibility is likely recorded in your job description catalogued by human resources. This means that you are charged with growing sales, managing a team, and generally leading the sales endeavor. It says nothing about whether you actually accomplished this goal. Therefore, at the most basic level of resume writing, you can write:

* Responsible for increasing sales.

How does such a description sound to you? Does it answer your need for information about how well this person succeeded in the role? There is no context for how this person accomplished this goal, and certainly no metrics by which to measure his success.

Level 2: Some context, but no quantification

At a deeper level, you can deliver a clear description of the tactics and choices you made as an executive to dance your company. More than simply a description of your job given by HR, you can describe the choices you made to achieve your company’s goals:

* Guided sales team and drive alongs, providing coaching and mentoring to improve sales strategies and techniques.

As you can see, with more information and context, this accomplishment statement amplifies your story. Nevertheless, it does not yet provide The metrics that describe exactly what you were able to do. It gets you partway, but not all the way to writing an excellent accomplishment statement in your executive resume.

Level 3: Context, metrics, and demonstration of clear success

At the highest level of executive resume writing, you support those accomplishments with metrics that immediately demonstrate your success. These numbers can be straight numbers, or they can be percentages if you are concerned about divulging company private data:

* Increased sales team’s widget sales pipeline by 22% within two months of hire.

Sometimes, metrics are not quantifiable

What if your executive team does not measure your success with facts and figures? What if you build relationships, guide teams, and provide efficiency strategies that cannot be tied directly to specific metrics? If this is the case, then use the values by which you are judged to provide context and measurement of success. For one notable client I can recall, an internal auditing executive, his unique metrics was that his organization passed every annual audit during his tenure with the company. That’s not a metric of growth or sales, but his success was critical to the company’s success.

In conclusion, to demonstrate that you are the right person to take on those types of challenges again, you need to elevate your accomplishment bullets in your executive resume to show that you have the skills and the history to back up your experience.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com/Ayla87

Keyword Strategy for Your LinkedIn Profile

Keyword Strategy for Your LinkedIn Profile

Do you know how to choose the right keywords for your LinkedIn profile? Start with your goal in mind: For what do you want to be known? What executive job are you seeking? With a few smart tweaks to your LinkedIn profile, you will see the number of your profile views grow.

Start with Knowing What You Stand For

Your brand will dictate most of what goes into your profile. Certainly, your LinkedIn profile will contain your career history. But the way you craft it and the keywords you choose can help propel your profile to the top of the search results for the phrases on which you want to be found.

Let us examine an example of a senior vice president and chief operating officer. This SVO/COO is known for his turnaround strategy as well as for his financial leadership. In fact, he functions more like the CFO of the company than the COO. So his LinkedIn profile keywords are going to reflect his expertise. They might include:

√ Senior vice president
√ Chief operating officer
√ Turnaround management
√ Financial strategy

Of course, the details of what this person has done in his career are going to be much more extensive, but these are, broadly speaking, the categories of his expertise. So he would be wise to include these phrases in his headline, his summary, and in his experience sections.

Continue with What Hiring Executives in Target Companies Need to See

At the same time, he might be targeting a COO role. So he might collect several job descriptions of the COO role in his industry. These might require specific experience and expertise; his experience and branding should reflect exactly what the hiring executives in his target companies are seeking in their next hire. Although the LinkedIn profile is not a direct copy of the executive resume, elements of key experiences (less private corporate data that should never be publicized on LinkedIn) should be evident.

Wrap Up with a Quick Word Cloud View of Your Profile

If you are not sure whether your profile is promoting the right keywords, create a word cloud as a visual map of your LinkedIn profile. In the example above, the word cloud of the profile should show words like “financial” and “strategy” more prominently than, say, marketing or sales, words that are not in our keyword list. If you find that your keyword strategy has failed, you will need to rewrite or edit your profile until you are confident that the keywords you have chosen for yourself are the ones that LinkedIn will understand to be your branding.