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The One Thing Your Resume Can Never Say About You

The One Thing Your Resume Can Never Say About You

Replaceable. That is the last word you want to come to mind when an employer or hiring manager is reading your resume. If you present yourself in a way that is generic or unappealing, you will not be seen as a likely candidate for the position. The company, essentially, is investing in your skills to better their company and they need to feel confident that you would make the company better, not stagnant and certainly not worse.

What Not to Include in Your Resume

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What is the one thing your resume never can say about you?

Your resume can either present your worth and personality in a favorable or a not so favorable way. Many employers prefer that you leave personal details and interests off of your resume for many reasons.

Personal information: Things like your marital status, sexual orientation, religious views, age, gender, social security numbers, and number of children should be left off this professional document. Certain details could lead others to believe that there is a form of discrimination happening if you are rejected as a candidate, such as your religion or age, and will put the employer in a difficult situation. Some of these details will likely come up in conversations later, like the interview, and you can share the information when appropriate.

Spelling errors and poor grammar: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing is worse than seeing a resume of a well-experience candidate with poor spelling or grammar. It will make you appear unprofessional despite your previous positions or current standing.

Irrelevant work experience: No one cares about your first job from high school. It is most likely not relevant now, as you are established in your career.

Hobbies and oddities: If you knit hats for dogs, unless you are applying for a job that requires that skill, keep it to yourself. Things like this will make the employer look twice at your resume, but not in a good way.

Negative language: Even if a project went south, reflect on what went right, not wrong, and include those details. They will also not want to see reasons you left previous positions.

References: They will want references later, after an interview, not up front. If references are necessary, it will be included on the application itself or be requested before the interview process making it unnecessary to include on your resume.

Lies: Do not bend the truth. This goes hand-in-hand with plagiarism. Lies can be anything from “I am fluent in Swedish” to “I am an excellent typist.” If it is not true, it will come out eventually.

Too much information: Keep it to 1-3 pages, depending on your level, and years or depth of experience; anything beyond that is too much, and the hiring manager will not bother reading it.

Being too creative: Distracting colors, clip art, and unnecessarily fussy fonts distract from the meat of the resume making it very difficult to discern what your talents actually are.

Using vague wording, cliches, or situational jargon: “Thinks outside the box,” “ABC of DEF,” or “Oriented” are very generic phrases you should leave off of your resume. If it doesn’t make sense to someone aside from yourself or screams “I’m not original,” don’t include it.

Preparation

You want to be prepared for anything — new opportunities, unexpected job loss, or decisions about career changes. There are things you can do to be prepared like making sure your resume is always up-to-date, keeping up with your marketable skills, and networking. When updating your resume, you should make sure that you are current in all of your skills as well. It’s worth it to make time to work on yourself and refresh all of your skills. Being up-to-date is important on and off paper. Don’t put something on your resume that you’re working on, wait until you’ve completed it to include the new information. Networking will be much smoother if you know where you stand in your field, at your current position, and what your resume reflects. Don’t wait to build connections until you are looking for a new job, have connections you can count on when you need them.

How to Sell Yourself

There are only so many combinations of the same phrases used in a resume. After viewing resume after resume, a hiring manager seeing the same exact phrase over and over most likely has eliminated those generic looking candidates. Your resume is the document that gets you in the door and opens the conversation for an interview. It should be the flyer catching the company’s eye and drawing them in. Your resume should make the hiring manager believe you have what it takes and you should be able to follow through with that promise made in your resume. You have value and companies need to know what you can do for them.

All in all, your resume should display your expertise in your field. It should never let an employer think “this person will be replaced in a month or two.” Your resume is the commercial about you — it should reel them in with enough information to want more. You have to think about what you are in relation to your resume and what kind of impression you are making to any hiring manager.

 

Photo attributed to Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

 

 

Your Executive Resume Writing Checklist

Your Executive Resume Writing Checklist–Examples from a Real Executive Resume

If you are looking for a new executive job, you are probably checking and rechecking your resume. Use the following checklist to ensure that your executive resume contains all of the elements your audience is expecting to read. If you do not include everything on this list, you risk underrepresenting yourself, failing to meet your audience’s expectations, and eliminating yourself from the running even before the race to selection begins.

1. Take It from the Top: Your Name

Check to make sure your executive resume has all of these elements.

Check to make sure your executive resume has all of these elements.

Your resume must begin with your name. No exceptions. Do not title your resume “Resume,” and do not deviate from the First Name, Last Name, Advanced Degree/Certification (if applicable and relevant to your targeted position) format. Do not put this information in the document header, or it will be lost to applicant tracking systems.

2. Executives in the ‘Hood: Your Contact Information

Directly below your name should be your contact information. Use a street address, not a P.O. box. Include a mobile phone number or another number that you will know to answer professionally. Include only one set of contact information.

3. Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Title Your Resume with Your Position Title

If the intern opens the mail or sorts resumes, into which position should he be sorting your resume? Ease this process and brand yourself well by titling your resume with your current job title or your future job title.

4. What Does Your Billboard Say: Your Branding Statement

If you had a billboard on a well-traveled highway, what would it tell drivers passing by? Remember, these drivers are focusing on the road, talking to their passengers, and changing the radio station. Hiring executives devote roughly the same attention and time to your resume, so write a brief, well-branded paragraph about the expertise and talent you bring to the role.

5. Experience is the Teacher of All Things: Your Executive Experience

For a deep discussion of resume bullets and accomplishments, read about The Difference Between Resume Accomplishments and Duties.

6. “When I Think Back…”: Your Formal Education and Professional Training

Your education supports your entire career history, so describe it well. Read Education Goes Last on a Professional or Executive Resume for specifics on how to describe your educational history. If you are one of the many executives who never went to college, Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College will describe how to overcome this challenge in your resume.

7. Details, Details: Extras that Demonstrate You Are the Right Candidate

Some optional sections you might want to include in your executive resume can differentiate you from the crowd:

  • Board memberships
  • Volunteer positions
  • Publications
  • Conferences attended
  • Presentations
  • …and more.

Include these last if you have them.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com/Fanginhoon

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.

For Immediate Release: Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

For Immediate Release

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

Now Available on Kindle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 25, 2013). Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

Amy L. Adler, first-place winner of the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award for Best Executive Resume, announced today that she has published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters. This concise, inexpensive, and accessible e-book contains Adler’s top-secret techniques for determining your next job and writing the resume that gets you there. This new e-book promotes the best career transition strategies and the most powerful resume writing techniques available.

Six interactive worksheets give every reader the chance to implement Adler’s strategy right away. Job seekers who need to identify the right job titles, the right resume formats, and the right cover letters to win interviews need to read this book. Says Adler, “The economy is tough. If job seekers are unemployed, or underemployed, they need access to the right techniques that will give them the same chance to achieve the interviews they need. This e-book levels the playing field.”

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters
Only $0.99 at
http://bit.ly/easyjobsearchstrategiesforresumesandcoverletters

Bloggers: Ask for a free review copy.

About Amy L. Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won first place in the TORI Awards 2012 for Best Executive Resume. Amy is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on career advancement, executive résumé writing and interview strategies. Having written hundreds of job search documents, several examples of her work have been published in Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th Ed. (David F. Noble, JIST Publishing, 2012).

 

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For interviews and media appearances, contact Amy L. Adler
2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com

Executives, There Is No Such Thing as “Not Part of the Interview”

Executives, “There is no such thing as ‘not part of the interview’.”

In just the last week, we heard on the news two stories about high-profile people and their inadvertent publicizing of more or less private information. In the case of Duchess Kate Middleton, compromising photos of her were leaked to the media. Clearly she must have thought she was completely alone when these photos were shot. She could not have believed that her very public persona would go unnoticed no matter where she was or what she was doing. Similarly, the campaign of presidential candidate Mitt Romney discovered that a speech he gave was recorded when it should not have been. Whether you agree with his conservative approach or not does not discount the fact that as a public person, he should have been aware that he is always under scrutiny. And whether you believe that a newlywed can or should behave any way she wants privately doesn’t discount the fact that the Duchess should be aware of what she’s doing all the time due to her high profile.

The same is true in the executive interview. Let me tell you another story, a very personal one. Two decades ago, when I had just finished a master’s degree program, I was in job search mode. I had achieved an interview for a job that I was interested in, and was sitting before the hiring executive. He asked me all of the usual interview questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. He also asked me something tangential, I believe about my thesis and the way I did the data analysis. He post-scripted this question with “This is not part of the interview.” Without thinking I knee-jerk responded with, “There is no such thing as ‘not part of the interview.'” I suppose I also answered the question about the data analysis. I didn’t get that job–in fact I got another one that I was much better suited for. But I never did forget, and I have repeated many times, that there is no such thing as not part of the interview.

When you are applying for an executive position, you will have to go through many interviews. You’ll interview with executive boards, CEOs, CTOs, CMOs, potential colleagues, and even subordinates. You walk through the company’s hallways, you’ll sit at desks, in conference rooms, in lobbies, and maybe even in restaurants. None of these locations are private, and none of the people with whom you interview are obligated to remain quiet about your conversations. Even if your executive interviewer suggests that your conversation will remain private, he or she has no obligation to remain circumspect about what you say. In fact, the more inflammatory your comments are the more likely someone will repeat them in the form of gossip about your level of professionalism or in the form of a polite letter declining to evaluate your candidacy further.

Thus, it makes sense for you to measure every word and sentence that you utter not only from the perspective of your executive accomplishments and your executive role, but also by the dimensions of whether you are comfortable with your words being repeated by people you don’t know well to people you don’t know at all. Here are a few guidelines for you as you move through your executive interview:

  • Treat everyone you meet professionally, including administrative personnel. You might even earn some goodwill points by writing a quick e-mail to the receptionist to thank him or her for the kindness shown to you on the day of your interview.
  • Do not let your guard down during your interview, no matter how comfortable you feel with the interviewer. This might be especially true if you know one of the panel members well. That person is not your friend in this context: That person is evaluating you the same way he or she is evaluating every other candidate that walks into similar interviews.
  • If you are asked and uncomfortable for even the legal question, be prepared either a) to answer the question as asked, or b) respectfully decline to answer it based on its level of appropriateness. Do know, that if you answer an illegal question you open up a tremendous can of worms and the opportunity for your interviewer to probe the issue more deeply.

In conclusion, remember that as an executive in an executive interview you are as famous as Mitt Romney and Kate Middleton. You are on stage and being evaluated at every turn. Anything you do can and certainly will be used against you. By monitoring your behavior and behaving like the professional executive that you are, you can avoid being caught saying something you can’t defend or doing something you wish you hadn’t. Remember: There is no such thing as “not part of the interview.”

Entrepreneurs Need a Resume and a Professional Biography

Entrepreneurs Need a Resume and a Professional Biography

I’ve written in the past about resume writing for business owners. But it’s not enough for entrepreneurs to have a resume. Entrepreneurs who are thinking about transitioning back into the corporate world also need a professional biography.

What Is a Professional Biography?

A professional biography is not a resume. A professional bio is a one-page statement of who you are from a branding perspective—a marketing document that is content-heavy, attractive, and readable. It’s purpose is to convince a hiring manager that you have the substance and experience to make interviewing you worth their while.

Constructing and Professional Biography from the Ground Up

As a business owner, you probably feel like your business is your life. But your business owner experience is not the same as your life story. So your professional biography will likely start somewhere around the time that you developed your idea for your company. If that was while you were in college, great—use that to your advantage. But the fact that this document is called a biography doesn’t mean you need to collect your personal history starting from your childhood. Remember: Everything you present to a future hiring manager counts, and this needs to be clean, professional, content-laden, and well written to get a jaded hiring manager’s attention.

Key Sections of a Professional Biography

There are many formats that will work for a professional bio; you might want to research what your potential colleagues have developed. Likely they will all contain the following elements:

  • A history of how you got to the point at which you are seeking to make the transition to corporate life.
  • A brief discussion of your skill set, detailing a few stories of accomplishments specifically related to your target role.
  • Your educational history.
  • Your contact information.
    Your photo, if you choose.
  • Recommendations or testimonials from clients and vendors.
  • Speaking engagements or publications related to your industry.
  • Related interests and hobbies, if appropriate.

How to Use a Professional Biography

Certainly, you must have a resume if you are applying for jobs. However, as you network into companies and work with recruiters, you might want to have copies of your professional biography ready to present. Because your bio will be lighter and eminently readable yet still contain the essential elements of your brand, you might find that recruiters and hiring managers are likely to read this document to get a broader sense of the person behind the words—you, the professional ready to tackle a corporate positions successfully.

If you’re an entrepreneur who is trying to break into a traditional corporate job, learn how an executive resume writing service can help you make that transition here.

Crafting the Best Resume for You and Your Unique Job Search

The best resume you can write—or that a professional resume writer can write for you—is

  • Unique to your specific job search
  • Targeted to the positions you are trying to obtain
  • Authentically about your specific career history and your personal brand.

There are hundreds of articles on resume personal branding. There are perhaps thousands of articles on resume accomplishment statements. However, strictly speaking, using accomplishments in your bullets alone won’t convert your history into your unique branding, or make your career history into the best resume it can be.

Keyboard
Creative Commons License photo credit: Plutor

You could research resume examples written for anonymous other members of your industry (or look at a friend’s) and copy the bullets word for word. You could also use resume writing systems that you buy on the Internet, which are simply lists of bullets that you can use in your resume. And there are the professional resume writers that won’t even talk to you before embarking on the tricky process of writing a resume that best suits your job search.

These seemingly simple systems don’t work. They do not capture the authentic you. If you want to be authentic in your job search and to find the best fit for your specific job search needs, you need to think about your resume as an organic document that is borne of your particular personal history. Even if you worked in a factory, or even ran one, you are not a factory yourself. There’s no such thing as data-in, data-out in a resume writing process that gets you interviews. It’s much more thoughtful and careful than that.

The following are the minimum steps I follow to write the best resume that fits your specific job search needs.

  • I learn about what makes you special.
  • I learn about what makes you unique.
  • I ask you about every aspect of your job, in the context of your position, role, and industry.

When I start a resume writing project, I start with a blank screen. Yes, this process is tougher than using a resume template, but it’s much more authentic. I start from scratch because I make sure that each client receives 100% unique content that is 100% about his/her specific career history, branding, and personal excellence.

If this is the type of personal, one-on-one, targeted resume writing service you need, call me at 801-810-JOBS. I am confident it will produce the best resume for you.

 

Personal Branding Countdown: 5 Steps to Success

Have you looked at your personal brand recently? Here is a simple system you can use to make sure that your branding is hit-the-ground-running ready for your job search.

Grab your paper and pencil, and make these lists:

Five contacts

with whom you’d like to renew your network.

Jobseekers’ networks are their #1 source for referrals, notices of prime job openings, and internal recommendations. Don’t lose the opportunity to increase your sphere of influence by losing touch with important contacts you’ve not connected with in a while.

Four projects

you’ve worked on in the last two years that showcase your expertise and winning contributions to your company.

Your next hiring manager is going to want to know how you can solve his or her pain starting… now. By having a clear understanding of the contributions you have made, and thus the contributions you can make immediately, will help you organize your thoughts for your resume and your interview.

Three reasons

your skills have changed or grown in your current position that support a promotion.

If you can’t identify in thirty seconds or less how your skill set has improved since you started your current role, you need to do some serious thinking. These are exactly the types of skills that you will showcase on your resume and, ultimately, in your interview. Think of them as pre-on-the-job training, which now your future employer won’t have to ensure that you get, as you’re already there!

Two challenges

you’ve recently discovered about your work.

You’ve changed and upgraded your skill set in response to . . . something. Identify which projects impelled you to work harder, smarter, better, or with different resources. Take the time to identify not only what you did but how you did it. Demonstrate how you have already taken steps to tackle the types of situations your new hiring manager is expecting you to manage in the future. In addition, utilize these job upgrades to show why you’re the only one for the job you’re seeking (and why you merit a significant pay increase, too!).

One skill set or new challenge

that you have yet to incorporate into your professional toolbox.

Want to know why they need a specific line item broken out in Accounting? Ask the manager. Is that program manager handling a project with new technology? Go ask her about it. Heard about a great webinar that will add something new and different to your already diverse skill set? Sign on, and improve your marketing pitch to include your new abilities.

Now take a step back and read what you have written. All of these together contribute to the branding and image that you want to project to your future manager. Your next challenge is to distill all of what makes you great, hirable, and worthy of a fabulous salary. Put these features of your professional self into your elevator pitch, your resume, your cover letter, and your interview. You’ve got the goods, now go get the job!

Related Links

Market Your Professional Branding Message

Indispensability + Findability = Employability

 

Market Your Professional Branding Message

Your personal branding is a statement of the why and how you are an expert in whatever it is that you do. Just like McDonald’s is known for burgers and fries, people should remember you for one or two areas of expertise. If you think you’re an expert in 5 or 10 things, you’re probably not sure what direction your career should take, and you’re certainly not ready to start applying for positions.

These one or two skill sets or areas of proficiency should pervade three components of your career documentation. With a unified, clear marketing message, you will make the connections you need with your next hiring manager. Market your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile with your unique selling proposition, and you’ll present yourself as clear, focused, and ready to solve a hiring manager’s pain, starting on Monday.

Target your personal brand

Focus your personal brandYour value makes you special.

Your resume

Say who you are and what you do in your headline. Rather than title your resume with Resume or Summary of Qualifications, use strong, interesting language that will pique the interest of a hiring manager as well as provide excellent fodder for a digital applicant tracking system. For example, if you’re a project manager who only manages construction of airport parking garages, say so. As a selling strategy, it sure beats Objective.

Once you have distilled this headline, elaborate on this headline in your professional profile. This paragraph, rather than being a literal summary of your experience, should demonstrate the benefits of hiring you. Think of it as an expanded headline.

Your cover letter

If your hiring manager is not a fan of cover letters, convince her otherwise with a killer cover letter that conveys something really special about the value you deliver—your unique skill set and expertise. Rather than rehash your resume, explain how when the doors open on Monday morning, you’ll have a list of implementable solutions founded on significant expertise.

In summary, no matter who you are, no matter what industry or what level of expertise, you have something special to offer your next hiring manager. When you have refined what makes you great, make sure that your message flows through every marketing document you send.

Your LinkedIn profile

Poorly engaged LinkedIn profiles look like copied-and-pasted resumes. Instead, capture your audience’s attention with a well-written headline (different from, less formal than the one on your resume; see above). Infuse it with your personality. Make it clever. Invite people to read more. For example, a resume’s “Project manager for Airport Parking Construction” becomes LinkedIn’s “Project Manager Overseeing Parking Lot Construction: I built it, they came, and they flew away.”

Related Links

Indispensability + Findability = Employability

What Is in a Name, or Why You Need a Great Resume Headline

What Do You Need in a Job Search Emergency?

Amy L. Adler is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a resume and career documentation company focusing on the health care and information technology industries. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents on behalf of clients at all levels of employment. Credentialed as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has earned a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology and Strategic Management as well as a Master of Arts in Publishing. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS or aadler@inscribeexpress.com.

10 Commandments for a Sparkling Cover Letter


1. Write a cover letter—then send it with your resume.

You’d be surprised how few job seekers actually include cover letters with their resumes. These “naked” resumes might get read—or they might get trashed. If your target hiring manager is one of those who loves to find out more about star applicants, you need to provide the means for her to do so.

2. Include the proper address and job title.

Don’t embarrass yourself and automatically consign your resume to the dustbin by neglecting to personalize your letter for the hiring manager and position you’re seeking.

3. Create a simple, elegant design for your letterhead.

Ensure that the hiring manager sees that your resume and letter come together as a package.

4. Don’t rehash your resume.

Your resume is a detailed list of your accomplishments. A cover letter is an introduction to your resume. Don’t confuse the two. Instead, highlight the best of your resume and explain why your accomplishments prove you’ll be the best for the job.

5. Don’t write more than one page.

Again, your letter is a teaser for your resume. If you’ve gone over one page, you’re boring your reader. Be succinct; be punchy; be powerful.

6. Highlight the best of your accomplishments.

When you do mention your career history, make sure that you’ve selected the most relevant, most incisive, and most exemplary accomplishments. You might need to tweak these based on the job posting.

7. Use impeccable grammar and spelling.

If this isn’t your long suit, ask someone to read it. Barring that, read it out loud to yourself. Backward. Sentence by sentence. Trust me: That technique will enable you to focus on each word of each sentence.

8. Use online application systems to your advantage.

If you’re uploading your resume into an online application (applicant tracking system), create one document with your letter on the first page and your resume on the second and third pages.

9. Keep e-mailed cover letters short.

Attention spans for e-mail are shorter than those for printed material. Your e-mailed cover letter might be half to two-thirds the length of your printed one.

10. Hire an expert writer if you have any misgivings about commandments 1-9.

If you have any reservations about your ability to craft a top-flight resume, cover letter, or post-interview thank you letter, hire a certified advanced resume writer.  No doubt you’ll shorten your job search.