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How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

Updated May 27, 2018

I received an interesting question that actually mirrors a question I get from my private clients quite a lot: Can I use volunteer work on a resume? This individual wanted to know whether hiring managers like what she has done, or will they consider it fluff? Her story is much like those of many who have experienced a gap in their career histories, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. This person has all the hallmarks of a top hire: She’s a college graduate, super smart, well-read, is a true knowledge seeker and seeker of truth, and has led major organizations with multiple reporting layers. Unsurprisingly, she sounds like many of the executives with whom I have worked over the years.  How can she promote her career history on her resume, even though the majority of her work has been in volunteer roles?

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How will you promote your volunteerism on your executive resume?

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize as an article of faith that work is work, even if it’s unpaid. Never lose sight of the fact that what you do every day has relevance for your job search strategy, because you’re doing something important and valuable.  And exploring what you like about the various volunteer roles you have had can help you narrow down your career target as well.

Examples of this type of volunteer work from which your resume can benefit can include:

  • Sitting on the board of a non-profit institution.
  • Volunteering at a church or synagogue.
  • Leading programs as part of your child’s PTA.
  • Organizing an event, such as a food drive or fun run.
  • Serving as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout guide.
  • Coaching a sports team.

There are, of course, many other types of volunteerism that can bolster your job application process. The crucial thing to remember is that you must couch your leadership contributions and your accomplishments in the same way that you account for them with your regular paid positions. Remember, work is work, even if it’s unpaid.

Let’s look at a few possibilities in which volunteerism can amplify your executive resume and your executive job search strategy overall.

Volunteerism that Supports Your Return to the Workforce

The first possibility is that you have been out of the workforce for a while, whether for family obligations, layoff, sabbatical, travel, or any other reason you’ve chosen to take yourself away from your career for some extended period of time. Now that it’s time to go back to paid work, you need to capture and organize your volunteer work to showcase its value.

To execute on this well, you should include volunteer roles as actual in-line work experience, and you’re not obligated to reveal the exact amount you were paid or not paid to do the work. The process of describing what you did every day and the successes you created are just as valuable – if you can prove that your expertise parallels the knowledge and experience that your career target requires.

Write down all of your volunteer work and the ways in which you improved or added to the organization. The categories of expertise can be leadership and management, financial responsibility, operational expertise, sales of ideas / services / goods, marketing, and more. These are exactly the types of knowledge and proven ability that your future audience needs to know you have, and they are subject to the challenge-action-result strategy that you’ve heard me talk about before in many other podcasts on this show. I’m not going to go in to the CAR strategy here, but rest assured that you can use the challenge-action-result method even when the work you have done is unpaid.

Each of these volunteer roles, and the promotions to leadership you might have experienced as well, become “jobs” in your resume, and they should be listed exactly the same way as your paid work is detailed. You make absolutely no distinction between your former paid work and your volunteer work, because they both are strongly reflective of the expertise your future hiring executive needs you to have to be successful in the role to which you’re applying.

Volunteerism that Supplements Your Ongoing Paid Work

A second flavor of using volunteerism on your resume is useful when you have had a largely intact career timeline but want to add to your career history some skills and expertise that your paid work doesn’t demonstrate.

Including volunteer work on a professional resume can be a critical way of ensuring that a hiring manager understands the full flavor of your experience. For example, your professional career might be a greased rail to success, but it might lack a specific dimension that you need to promote. By highlighting your volunteer experience, you can show that you have many types of expertise, not just the kind that you get paid for day to day.

Let’s say that you are a senior vice president of finance, and you want to demonstrate your expertise in operations and team leadership, so that you can move into a broader role, perhaps a chief financial officer position. You might offer up your recent work as the chair of a committee for a local nonprofit, a role you’ve held for several years. You then describe the scope and value of that work, for example, how you fulfilled the mission of the organization through the role, how many people you guided to that goal, and how you overcame multiple challenges along the way.

Volunteer Work as the Basis for Your References

Last, your volunteer roles can serve as a source of references for you. If you had any type of reporting relationship with leaders of a volunteer organization, it’s a good idea to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation on the organization’s letterhead commenting on your contributions. These people can also become excellent sources of references when you need to give names and numbers to interviewers of people who can vouch for your excellent work ethic, ability to organize projects and teams, and so on. These leaders likely will know you well and be able to describe your success and contributions to their organizations, and, because you have done an incredible job, they are going to be willing to share a few words with your future hiring executive as well.

Examples of the types of individuals who might serve as excellent references from your volunteer work include:

  • The executive team of the group to which you donated your time and expertise.
  • Event leaders, when you directed a portion of the event.
  • Co-organizers, who can comment on your excellent team spirit and ability to motivate the group.
  • Your direct report team.
  • A beneficiary of a nonprofit event.

To conclude, your professional paid work history is not the only type of work that belongs on your resume. By putting your volunteer work on a resume, you can expand on and elaborate on what makes you special and what makes you unique and the only one who can do what you do in the way that you do it. In short, volunteer work on your professional resume enhances your brand.

Your Executive Resume: Hard Numbers and Visuals

Your Executive Resume: Measuring Your Outcomes with Hard Numbers and Visuals

Using Numbers and Metrics in Your Resume to Prove You’re Really “That Good”

Normally, when we think about resumes, or historically what they looked like, we think of an HR job description—a colorless description, or “This is what I did.” It’s bland, it reads like HR-speak, and often includes the dreaded “responsible for.” Your executive resume needs more than this.

Wouldn’t it be better to prove in your executive resume that you’re good at what you do by showing results? There’s no guessing when you can prove to your future hiring executive that you have succeeded in exactly the kind of ambiguity that their company is facing.

Using Numbers in Your Resume Adds Color and Depth to Your Career History

The best way to prove that you can deliver results is by providing measurements of your success—literally quantifiable numbers, metrics, KPIs (key performance indicators), or measurements of ROI (return on investment). Additional fairly simple avenues to explore include:

  • The number the things that you wanted to and completed
  • The number of people you recruited and onboarded (and maybe promoted)
  • The number of new customers you drove to the business
  • The total dollar amount of revenues, or their percentage increase quarter over quarter or year over year.

So these kinds of counts or measurements of change show a couple of things in your resume. The first is that you’ve accomplished the goal that you set out to, and you can benchmark those numbers against company expectations or industry standards. The second is that it shows that what you are presenting is incontrovertible evidence of your success. This is really important, because a hiring manager might read your resume decide that your strategies are not what their company needs right now, but they can’t argue with the veracity of your claims to success. They can’t look at that number and believe that you’re not telling the truth.

Because you’re always telling the truth in your resume (cardinal rule of resume strategy—don’t eve lie), then you are leveling with your audience. You’re saying to your audience, “I did this thing, and here’s the proof. Right here is the number that says I did what I was supposed to do.” If you’re targeting your resume appropriately, your audience is going to love what you have demonstrated, and if they need someone like you, you’re the ideal candidate for them to reach out to.

So, in your resume now that you have these numbers, how do you present them effectively in your resume? These metrics become the “results” in your “challenge – action – results” bullet points. Furthermore, you can present them visually. The first way to do this is to present your data in a table of figures. A well-constructed table, with labels, grids, and colors, can help your audience interpret the data the way you need them to understand your message.

Another way to present a series of data is to visually represent those numbers in a graph. It’s so easy for someone to look at a chart and understand that the numbers “go up.” Of course, your chart is going to be detailed, so a savvy reader who wants to drill down into the data will be able to do that, but even a cursory look at the chart will give a great high-level message.

You might be thinking that these are unorthodox approaches–I promise you they are not. Visual representations of sales figures that started out low and then went high, or operation costs that started out higher and then wet low, are going to hit your audience right in the gut. These images are plugging into exactly what your audience expects to know about their ideal candidate. So give them what they want and show them what they want in multiple modalities, not just in the text but as a visual representation as well.

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Compiling an amazing resume is often described as the ultimate job search challenge. Truly, creating the resume that will secure an interview may well be the most difficult part of your job search. It doesn’t take much to land your shining finished product firmly in the “no” pile. There are turn-offs, red flags and simple mistakes that will send your resume straight into the garbage can. However, being aware of these common mistakes and avoiding them is half the battle. Let’s take a look…

Problem #1: Your resume is too lengthy, but you’re unsure of what to delete.

Deciding what makes the final cut on your resume can be a real challenge. Experts advise not to go further back than 10-15 years in your work history. Another way to determine this would be to not include more than your previous 5 jobs, whichever option is shorter. Descriptions of duties at each position can also take up a lot of room and is generally unnecessary. Using short sentences or bullet points can be great ways to simplify details. While there doesn’t seem to be a perfect length for a resume, one page seems to be the current trend with two-pages being acceptable if needed.

Beware of using what is termed as “filler.” This is an old trend that has gone by the wayside. At one time there seemed to be a misconception that having important words or different types of positions listed on your resume would increase your chances of landing an interview. This will not prove true if this extra information causes your resume to be so wordy and long that it is tossed in the trash bin. “More” is not “better” in when dealing with your resume. You do not want to appear to be someone who “dabbles” in everything; you want to show expertise or experience in a couple of areas instead.

Problem #2: You lack education and experience.

This can be a common problem as we search for positions that challenge us to better ourselves. When you find that job that mentions experience or education that you lack, you should still give it a shot. What do you have to lose by applying? Job listings tend to contain a wish list of sorts for the perfect candidate. Odds are, there isn’t going to be anyone that meets each requirement. Be honest in listing the education and experience that you do possess, don’t ever be dishonest. Even if your degree is in a completely different field, it still demonstrates your knowledge base and shows that you are a graduate. Fill in the blanks by expressing the interest and enthusiasm you have for the position along with a healthy desire to learn on the job. You may be surprised with the results.

Problem #3: Not only did you not stay long at your last job, you have a history of frequently changing jobs.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if a job should be listed, here is a common guideline. If you were at a job for less than two months, leave it off your resume. If the time spent in that position was over two months than in most cases you will want to include it on your resume. Such a short time frame spent in any position is bound to raise questions from a perspective employer, so be prepared to answer truthfully. It may be that the position wasn’t what you had hoped for or maybe there were economic problems that surfaced, whatever the case, be ready to discuss it.

A similar issue that you may face comes from hopping from job to job. While this may feel like a mark against you, that is not always the case in the eye of the hiring manager. Perhaps you advanced in status due to some of your job changes? Having the initiative to continue to search until you find what you are looking for and where you will happily stay may show the company in which you are applying for that you are in a real search for a long term career. As mentioned above, be prepared to discuss these job changes and the goal of each. Remember, no trash talking, that never leaves a positive impression. Avoid it at all costs.

Problem #4: You have sizeable gaps in your work history.

If you have time off between jobs that are long enough to draw questions it is a good idea to address these in your cover letter. Take comfort in the fact that with the economic slowdowns that have hit over the past decade gaps in employment history are much more common than they once were. State in your cover letter whether the time off was due to staying home to raise children or a tough job market, but do address it. If the length of your job search has reached a point that you must get something on your resume, then take up some volunteer or freelancing work and include that. As with anything on your resume, be prepared to have an open and honest discussion about it.

Problem #5: You are using outdated resume terms.

You want your resume to get noticed, but not for the wrong reasons. Below is a list of some of the terms you should now avoid even though they were popular in the past.

  • References available by request (Of course they are, but either include them, or don’t mention them).
  • Detail-oriented (aren’t we all? At least to some extent).
  • Hardworking (actions speak louder than words; no one really believes this statement until they see it for themselves).
  • Objective (very outdated, replaced with a job or career summary).
  • Responsible for…. (Using this format will cause your resume to become to wordy).
  • Problem solver (is this really unique to you? I don’t think so…).
  • Team player (again, action and time will tell).

Problem #6: You include too much personal information and decoration.

Even though talking about hobbies, religion and marital status discloses a lot about yourself, you don’t want to include these details on your resume. You also don’t want to be the one resume that uses a bright pink cursive font. While you will get noticed, it will not bring the results that you are hoping for.

A professional resume is crucial in today’s competitive job market. The details can make or break you. Be sure that your resume shows a clear direction along with career goals that you are hoping to achieve without including information that would be deemed too personal.

Remember, every mistake you may have on your resume is completely fixable, don’t lost heart. Don’t make more of it than it is by taking yourself too seriously. Your resume isn’t a legally binding document. Your past employer isn’t going to proof read it for you. Your resume is a summary of your work history, education and experience, that’s all. It’s your journey, your path and experiences and your future. Take the time to prepare a resume that makes you feel confident or hire a professional resume writer to do so, but take pride in yourself and your accomplishments, whatever they may be.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

While we have already discussed what should not be included in a resume and common myths, there are pieces of advice you should never follow when working on your resume. As professional resume writers, clients are encouraged to ask questions about the writing process and share advice they have heard. While some advice can be useful, other bits are completely off-base. No recommendation is perfect, but this article will discuss some of the worst tips resume writing you might have heard.

You should always include soft skills. – NOT

First, what are soft skills? Things like great written and verbal communication, the ability to multi-task, professionalism, and excellent time management are soft skills. Those are great things to mention in your cover letter, with examples, but your resume should have skills that are unique to you.

Career summaries are a must. – NOT

When describing your responsibilities in a previous or current position, you want to have a short, bullet type list of the accomplishments unique to you during that time. Be specific – don’t generalize – and include numbers, time-frame, and anything else that would create a portrait about your experiences and career history.

It’s okay to close gaps in your work history by adding time to other positions or give yourself promotions. – NOT

If you jump from job to job, it will not benefit you to omit some of the jobs and close gaps by adding time to the most stable position on your resume. Say you were a stay-at-home parent until your children started school full time, the worst thing you can do with that time, on your resume, is to give yourself a promotion such as ‘household manager’ or ‘home engineer.’ Changing the truth to make yourself appear better does not differ from lying directly to the hiring manager. If you are chosen as one of the top candidates for a position, the company will check this kind of information.

If you don’t have specific skills a company is searching for, add them to your resume anyway and hope you never need to use them or talk about them during the interview. – NOT

You should never claim to know or be the master of a skill you know nothing about. Chances are, you will need to demonstrate the ability in one way or another before you are offered the position. If a company has dictated they need a candidate with this skill, then you should have this skill before applying.

Don’t pay attention to the skills necessary for each position you apply to, just apply to everything and hope you get an interview. – NOT

Instead of seeking out jobs you are qualified for, apply to every open position – you’re bound to be called to at least a few of them, right? You will only receive interview invitations for jobs for which you are qualified. So, yes, there is a chance you will be called for a few of the positions you apply for however, if you apply to everything, your resume will be added to a file for that company. Some companies discard unwanted applicants while others keep applications on the chance that you are qualified for another position within that company. Over sending applications is not only a waste of time, but besmirches your reputation the more you send.

If you are changing career paths or moving positions with another company after decades at one company, just give a brief job description. Anything you accomplished was part of your job description. – NOT

Your accomplishments are your own. While it was necessary for your position, you still set out to complete a project, increase productivity, or implement something new and realized that goal. The base description for any position is a generalization of expectations.

Be sure to send your resume to many peers to seek their advice and then incorporate all the advice you are given. Then, start sending out your resume without checking it again. A professional resume writer is a waste of money. – NOT

Not every person who has ever written a resume of their own knows what is better for your resume. Double checking your resume for mistakes is incredibly important as even the smallest mistake can stand out like a sore thumb to any prospective employer. When in need of advice, it is best to seek a professional resume writer and use their services. There are tips and tricks for each position type. However, you should make sure you are asking your professional resume writer questions about their service and your personal resume.

The internet is a font of wonderful information as well as misinformation. There is a great deal of advice to be found that can lead you astray when delving into your resume. Resumes are a complicated style to master. While there are many useful guides out, utilizing a resume writing service can be an incredibly beneficial investment.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level       

A bridge job can be taken while building your own business or working on goals to attain your ideal position.  A bridge job is an interim job that pays for the necessities while you prepare for a better position or work on building your dream business.A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level 1

What Should I Look for in a Bridge Job?

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or are working your way up the career ladder, a bridge job will help you build skills and take care of your financial obligations as the future you have planned becomes viable.

Some musts for a bridge job include the following:

  • A bridge job must provide you with stable and consistent hours.

You must be able to clock in and clock out – so to speak.  There should be consistency in scheduling so that you can plan around the job and use your remaining time wisely.  You must be free to focus on and expand your more important areas of expertise.  You will need the ability to plan easily for conferences, networking activities, and other strategies that will enable your experience and business to grow as quickly as possible.

  • A bridge job must provide a dependable paycheck.

To allow you the peace of mind to be able to concentrate on progressing toward your future goals, your bridge job must cover the necessities of life each month therefore freeing your mind from the financial stresses of everyday life.

  • A bridge job must not take more than it gives.

You want a job that you walk away from at the end of the day.  There should be no residual baggage.  That is to say, you do not want a position that requires more energy or effort from you after you have “clocked out.”  There should be no after-hours work such as phone calls, finding new clients, homework, etc.  You should not work more than regular weekly hours at a bridge job so that you are able to have the necessary time to devote to your goals and personal business building.

  • A bridge job provides structure.

Most of us function most effectively with structure. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person?”  This statement is so true of human nature.  For some crazy reason, many of us tend to work harder when we are up against a deadline.  Is this true for you?  We seem to crave routine and structure innately and we can use that as a weapon to keep our creativity and productiveness running at maximum efficiency.

  • A bridge job provides on-the-job learning.

Whether you are trying to move up the corporate ladder or gain the confidence to go out on your own with a new business, getting paid to learn might be the best perk of all in terms of a bridge job. How you approach this in-between time of your life, the attitude that you bring to the table will have a lot to do with how successful you are. We increase our abilities constantly when we strive to better ourselves. The possibilities are endless.  We can learn something valuable from almost everyone around us if we allow ourselves to do so. 

Some Points to Ponder…

  • One of the biggest obstacles that hold many people back from starting their own business is the fear of not being able to make enough money.
  • A bridge job often pays less than what you make in an actual career position.
  • Even if you have substantial savings, even a year’s worth saved to cover expenses, you still need a bridge job. Working while enduring ongoing or daily financial stress isn’t going to be effective.

And the Biggest Point…

Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.Getting out there into the work force, even in a less-than-ideal job, will . . . get you out there. You’ll be in a work environment; you’ll be meeting new people; you’ll be learning new things. In other words, you won’t be alone, and you won’t be stuck on your couch wondering about how you can contribute. Take advantage of all of these new opportunities a fresh approach to working can provide. You never know who you’re going to meet and how you might help one another.

There are so many different ways to achieve success. We must all find the path that will provide the ending that we are working so hard for.  A bridge job just might be the missing link that will help you reach your destination.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares You for Your Next Interview

Comprehensive resume development is great prep for your next interview.

If you have spent any time at all looking into the best interview strategies, then surely you have come across the all-too-familiar “four P’s of interviewing:”

  1. Preparation.
  2. Practice.
  3. Personal presentation.
  4. Pertinent questions.

These are all important for different reasons. However, I would like to plead a case for the one that I feel is the crucial piece of the puzzle, the “glue” so to speak, that will hold all the other components in a nice straight line, PREPARATION.

Preparation is the Key

The best way to prepare for an interview is through comprehensive resume preparation, something you need to do at the start of your job search, anyway! Using your resume to prepare for your interviews is an amazing way to accomplish two things at once and ultimately save time in the process. We all want to be as productive as possible, especially when dealing with finding new employment.

Your Career Inventory

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Part of compiling or updating your resume is doing an extensive career inventory. First, compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. Through deeply exploring your past work experience and responsibilities you will actually be preparing for your interview. Think about these critical questions:

  • What was expected of you in each position?
  • What did you learn?
  • Did you find solutions to issues in the workplace that improved your situation?
  • How can the knowledge gained be used in a new position?
  • In what ways are you a better candidate because of your previous experience?

The answers to these questions could appear in any job interview. Studying them in the context of your ideal role will help you to build a detailed, informative resume as well as be prepared for the questions that will undoubtedly come in almost any interview. If this feels like a daunting task and you would prefer to have some guidance to tackle the most current trends in the job market you could go through an executive resume writing service. As experts in resume writing, we will develop the in-depth questions and information that will narrow the gap between your experience and your hiring executives’ requirements, thus putting you ahead of the competition!

Which Path Do You Want to Take?

Take an extensive look at the types of roles you have previously filled and compare them with where you would like to be in the future. Through doing this you are able to deeply analyze where you have been and where you are going. As the Cheshire cat told Alice, “if you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what path you take.” That is not the way that we want to approach the future. We want you to have a clear direction—a career search plan that succeeds. In short, we want to be prepared in every way possible.

Put Your Mind at Ease: Know How Your Resume Connects to Your Interview Strategy

Think about how at ease you would feel as the interview approaches if you have fresh in your mind a comprehensive view of your work history. Rather than having your resume be a vaguely familiar piece of paper that is printed off in a rush on your way out the door to the interview, use this tool as a preparatory strategy that supports your interview technique. Your resume is an important tool that is refined, accurate, and serves the right purpose in attaining the position you are interviewing for.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / dsilva

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

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

Put Yourself on the Job Search Map: Strategies for Your Address on Your Resume

Put Yourself on the Job Search Map: Strategies for Your Address on Your Resume

Your address on your resume is critical in your executive job search.

Your address on your resume is critical in your executive job search.

Job search in your own region is difficult, but it is even harder and more complicated to succeed in a job search when you are looking to move to a new geography. You might not have the time to go on cross-country treks for interviews, or you might be excluded from the running because you’re not a ‘”local” candidate. Read on for important resume strategies to improve your odds of getting interviews and job offers for executive jobs outside of your region.

Targeting only Local Executive Positions

Your address on your resume clearly places you in a specific location. If you are searching for a new executive role in your region, hiring leaders are likely to believe that you have some flexibility around interview and start date timing. After all, in most cases, an interview day will not require the expenses and frustrations of overnight travel. If you are applying for local role, therefore, your local address can be one more data point that compels a hiring executive to invite you to continue in the interview process. Therefore, including your address on your resume can improve your chances of being selected for an interview simply based on the convenience factor, all else being equal among you and the other candidates for the position.

Targeting Right Executive Job Openings Regardless of Their Location

On the other hand, if your address on your resume indicates that you are applying from a distance of hundreds or even thousands of miles, then the hiring leader might choose to exclude you on the basis of the complexity of bringing you in and, ultimately, requiring a move across the country.

Therefore, you might choose to include only your name, phone number, and professional email on your resume. This practice has become much more standard. Unlike decades past, your hiring executive is more likely to call your mobile phone or email you than send you a letter via the U.S. Postal Service. For convenience, many people keep their longstanding mobile numbers no matter where they move. We have all encountered executives whose mobile phone area codes do not match their locations, and this practice currently raises few red flags.

Targeting Your Executive Job Search on a Specific Region

If you are targeting a specific location across the state or across the country, you can implement a different type of strategy that enables you to include a local address on your resume. You can successfully and legitimately claim a local address

If removing your address and using your nonlocal but permanent mobile phone number make you uncomfortable, consider the following strategies for your address on your executive resume:

1. Secure a local street address in the city or region that you are targeting. The simplest method of doing this is to use a mailbox service with a street address in the new city.

2. If you want to be completely up front about your move, include the words “Relocating to” with a temporary local address.

3. Get a telephone number with a local area code. Many inexpensive or free phone redirect services enable you to have a telephone number with a local area code that redirects to your existing home or mobile phone number.

Your Resume’s Address: The Bottom Line

Your location matters in your job search for several key reasons, all of them financial. On the one hand, your hiring executive might want to interview all candidates within a certain time span, which could make bringing candidates in from other regions difficult. On the other, the costs of moving a family across the country plus temporary housing, meals, and the search for a new home–called a “relocation package”– can be thousands of additional dollars added to the expenses of hiring a new executive.

Of course, a sufficiently unique skill set and the proof that you are truly the right one for the position for the long term can drive a hiring executive to seek you out and negotiate with you for the position. The terms of negotiation could include relocation services directly paid by the new employer or a one-time signing bonus intended to cover the costs of relocation.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / Kolobsek