Tag Archive for: resume

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

Updated February 2017

I am constantly amazed at the level of success of the executive job seekers with whom I work on a daily basis. They run companies. They drive sales. They lead international teams. They are among the smartest I have met with respect to technology. They are rightfully proud of what they have done. Yet, down to a person, they are among the most humble people I have ever met. By infusing their executive resumes with this pride and humility, they prove they are true leaders in their industries without coming across as boastful and overblown.

Here are three statements I hear all the time from my executive resume clients. By elaborating on these into compelling accomplishment stories, you can demonstrate both your pride in your leadership and your knowledge that you are only as good as the amazing team you develop and lead into the fray:

  1. “It was my great team who really did it; we all worked together.” Executive leaders rarely deliver at the individual contributor level. They do understand, however,  that the team cannot succeed without their unifying leadership. Therefore, rather than going on about their individual tactical role, they rightfully focus on how they guided the team to larger goals.
  2. “I have an uncanny ability to hire the right people and place them throughout the company where they can do the most good.” By demonstrating your insight into which people are right for your organization, you achieve two goals. You show that you are wise to the larger industry, and you demonstrate that you can read people very well. Include details in your executive resume about your hiring strategy and the way you assess future team member.
  3. “I always hire people who are smarter than I am.”In truth, this is my favorite one. Nobody likes to work for a paranoid organization, and when an executive leader state outright that they are willing to hire team members who have particular expertise or savvy that they don’t, it demonstrates a healthy mix of fearlessness and pride.

In short, you should not afraid to recognize the fact that you are the team leader but not always the smartest guy in the room. It’s a big leap to embrace this mindset, especially when, in your early career, you were always hungry for the next win. Now, as a wiser, more tempered executive leader, if you’re smart, your executive resume will show that much of the credit also goes to a rock star team. In doing so, your ability to guide a group to a successful outcome shows you honor your company and each individual on the team. Effectively communicating your talents and value with humility and pride on your executive resume is bound to win the attention of like-minded hiring leaders in your target companies.

How do you struggle to communicate or market your executive value?

Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Sometimes, people write things they don’t really want others to read. The fine print that flashes by other commercial. That long text at the end of the credits on every “The Big Bang Theory” episode. The note you passed to your best friend in sixth grade.

But not your resume. If your resume is not readable, nobody will try to read it no matter how amazing your experience may be. Here are five easy steps you can take to ensure that your resume is readable, presentable, and sending the message you, as an executive, need to send to your future hiring leader.Five Steps to Executive Resume Readability

  1. Use the right typeface. Whether you call it typeface or font, be sure to use a style and size that is easy to read. My personal favorites are Times New Roman and Arial, as they are universal to every computer. Second bests are Calibri and Cambria, Tahoma, Verdana, and Century, all in 11-point type. You may also try Arial Narrow or Garamond, but do not use either one of these in a size smaller than 11 points. While you don’t have to make your resume scream in the style of John Hancock, you do want to ensure that the typeface you have picked is more or less universally available and in a size that an ordinary person would consider large enough to read. It should go without saying that typefaces with scrollwork or shadows are better suited to documents that are not professionally oriented.
  2. Use horizontal rules and shading appropriately. Feel free to break up your text with horizontal rules and highlight important pieces of data with tasteful shading. Good color choices are gray, green, tan, and blue. I tend to stay away from red, as percentages of red come out pink, which I don’t like on professional documents. Of course, you will need to evaluate your specific industry and the expectations of your future hiring manager to determine how design-heavy you want to be. If you are applying for a marketing directorship or design a leadership role, you may be expected to present a resume that is heavy on design. On the other hand, if you are applying to be a bank executive or a financial leader, more plain may tend to be better for your specific outcomes.
  3. Use the right margin size. Although there are many ways to present resume date up well, a good rule of thumb is to decrease your margins from the standard 1-inch level to .5 inch to .65 inch. The benefit is you will have more page real estate to use, and your resume won’t look like it was styled after a college paper.
  4. Use page numbers and headers for page 2 and beyond. I agree, that headers take up space, but it would be tragic for one of your two-or three-page resume to go missing from the stack  without a marker to tell its reader with which candidate it belongs. You can feel pretty confident that a busy professional with a stack of resumes to read won’t take the time to sort out which paper belongs with which candidate, so please make it easy for that person to solve this potential problem.
  5. Standard resumes for executives do not exceed three pages. You may find a one-page resume or executive biography suffices for a particular purpose. Most professionals typically need two pages to do justice to their entire career history. And many executives often find their resumes go on to three pages, which at that level, it’s perfectly acceptable. It is not a good choice to exceed the three-page limit for the basic information of your career history. If your resume is too long, your reader simply won’t read to the end. Take advantage of your resume real estate in the most effective way possible, and be concise about your accomplishments. If you have additional information you want to present, for example a list of publications, presentations, or volunteer leadership roles, then please do include a separate document with a separate heading as an addendum. But the rule of thumb of one to three pages overall is a good one to follow.

In conclusion, readability of the resume document itself can be as important as its contents. It is possible that a hiring manager might find your resume hard to read and put it aside simply because it doesn’t match the expectations for usability. Do not be one of those whose resume is consigned to the trash simply because you didn’t consider the documents overall readability and design.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College

Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College

I wish I had a nickel for every time I received a call from an executive who qualifies his or her career history with, “But I never went to college.” No matter what some of these people have done in their careers, no matter how big the businesses they built became, and know how much no matter how much money they made, their lack of college education seems to stick in their craws. Maybe it’s the one thing they were never able to do. Maybe it’s the one thing they always wanted to do. In my experience, these executives seem to have the most amazing stories and the best experience, and all of that belongs on their executive resumes.

The question of whether these executives should include their high school degrees on their resumes is almost moot. On the one hand, they could include their high school education, which would only highlight the fact that they never went to college. You never want to draw attention to what an executive recruiter might see as a shortcoming. Rather, it makes sense to turn this apparent lack into an opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise.

On your executive resume, you need to re-title your education section, and call it “Executive Development.” In this section can include a number of critical elements of your training and development. It doesn’t necessarily have to include formal education. Examples of the types of experience to conclude in professional and relevant include:

  • Company training programs.
  • Personal development programs, such as Stephen Covey, or Dale Carnegie.
  • Conferences in your industry.
  • Professional mentor ships, either that you have delivered or participate in.
  • Professional memberships, especially if you have held leadership roles.
  • Any college courses you have ever taken, even if they did not result in a degree.
  • Industry training programs, especially if they resulted in certifications that are relevant to your career goals.

Even if a job posting or job opportunity requires a certain level of education, you will find in many cases that executive recruiters and executive hiring boards might be willing to overlook the fact that you do not have a college education in favor of all of the professional experience you bring to the table. If you find that you are passed over for a particular role because you do not have a college degree, you may consider the fact that that company would be a bad fit for you in any case, and you would not do well in that company’s culture.

The benefit of including all of your professional training and certifications in your executive development section is that it detracts from your not having a college degree– in fact it sidesteps the question entirely and highlights the best of what you have done in the best of what you have learned. As a complement to your executive experience, this executive development showcases that you are an expert in your field and in your industry, which is really what an executive board or executive recruiter is looking for.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

More answers to Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”.

“Responsible for” Is Not Good Resume Writing

The question of whether a job seeker is “responsible for” something is old news for resume writers. We know not to include that type of language. It’s boring. It doesn’t describe anything active or with an outcome. It sounds like a copy-and-paste from the person’s human resources job posting. I am not going to retread that information. If you want more about that, see this article on 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume. It’s always been one of my favorite—and most popular—posts. I’m not going to retread it here.

Resume SEO Means Fewer, More Powerful Language

Resume SEO—a new phrase that is hitting the forefront and capturing the attention of career coaches and professional resume writers alike. Job seekers, too, need to pay attention to resume SEO. One of the best ways you as a job seeker can do this is by making sure that your resume language has power per total words. That’s not an actual measure, of course, but it should give you something to think about as you review your own resume language.

Resume SEO for Applicant Tracking Systems

Preptel.com has cornered the market on this strategy. The service enables job seekers to upload their resume and compare it to job postings, word for word. This is what a good professional resume writer does with hand and brain, but the challenge remains the same. Job seeker resumes need to have the right language within the text, so that they are picked up by human resources applicant tracking systems (think: online applications) via the search algorithms that pull up potential candidates. In simpler terms, a marketing executive resume isn’t going to be selected for an electrical engineering position—the phrases that describe a marketing executive simply don’t apply to the technical aspects of electrical engineering. In more complex terms, a marketing executive resume needs to have specific phrases that will be picked up by the search engine algorithm as matches for what a job posting is looking for.

Resume SEO for Human Readers

On the other hand, some humans—Salt Lake City, Utah recruiters, hiring managers of small businesses, and others—do read resumes with their own eyes. The more focused the language is and the more relevant the wording is, the more likely that human will evaluate the resume more closely. Fluffy, nonspecific language won’t make the grade, but highly technical, relevant wording will impress these very human brains with very specific problems they need to solve with a new hire.

What Does Resume SEO Have to Do with “Responsible for”?

SEO in broad terms can be thought of as having the right language in the right place for the right reader. Resume SEO is the same, as I explained above. Job seekers who use “responsible for” in every bullet of their resumes are adding two times the number of total bullets more words than are necessary—which dilutes the value of the words that are in there that are relevant. Simply by removing the words that a) add no technical value (again see 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume) and b) are simply fluffy extras will dilute your resume’s total impact on a hiring manager, recruiter, or applicant tracking system.

 

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Including an Objective Statement: The Resume Killer

In an earlier post about resume mistakes, I mentioned that including an objective in your professional resume is a kiss of death. Hiring managers do not know you, do not care about you, and do not want to know you. So writing anything that starts with “I want” is going to kill your nascent relationship with the hiring manager, who does not care that you like people, communicate well, or want to increase your responsibilities.

Your job is to make hiring managers want to read your professional resume and learn something special about you. They want to know what makes you different and what makes you the right one for the job.

You can make that happen with by nixing the objective statement and overhauling your resume with a branding statement that blows your reader away. Remember, all hiring managers are hoping that the resume they are reading now is owned by their next great hire. All you have to do is convince them that you are the right one and make them want to pick up the phone and dial your cell.

Does this sound intimidating?

Write for Your Audience While Writing about You

The easiest solution to the problem of why an objective statement is the worst opener for a great resume begins with your sitting down with yourself and asking yourself what makes you great.

Your answers to that very general question must be very specific. They have to address your specific history and your specific abilities and skills. Some examples of these answers can include the following.

  • You drive $X revenue per year
  • You manage distributed teams for a global company
  • You have the reputation of being the go-to expert on some critical industry topic
  • You find revenue when the economy is down by increasing wallet share
  • You build operations departments for car dealerships in the deep south where the organizational silos divide every employee into either “parts” or “service.”

What You Have to Do Now

Of course, these are only examples. You can’t copy these for your own resume. Why not? Because these are made-up examples. They refer to nobody in particular, certainly not you. A famous person once said that the right answer is usually the most difficult, costly, and frustrating.

You have to pick up a pencil and pad and start to brainstorm about what makes you great. That is the only answer. But when you finally have that answer, and you are confident that the words represent you the way you want to portray your brand of excellence, you will start to notice something remarkable that might not have happened before.

Your phone will start to ring.

Your professional resume will start to get you those interviews you have been after, because you are starting to show the value that you offer to a hiring manager. You will show in your professional resume that you have done A, B, and C before, and you are likely to be able to achieve those types of results again.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

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.

 

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.

The “Discouraged Worker”—July 2, 2010 Unemployment Data

Like most in my trade—and most of you out there looking for work—I keep my eyes and ears open to the new monthly data on unemployment. I have heard all sorts of spins on the data most recently available from the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics (BLS). In fact, you could hear the glee in reporters’ scribbling as they happily reported the declining unemployment rate, currently at 9.5%, down from 9.7%.

I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the unemployment statistics. The report used a term we’re probably not too familiar with as a statistic, but we all know the punch-in-the-gut feeling it represents: “Discouraged workers.”

According to the BLS, discouraged workers are those who have ceased to search for work because they believe that there are no jobs out there that are suitable for them. The BLS statement reports that the number of discouraged workers has increased an incredible 289% to 1.2 million over the last 12 months.

To translate, that means that the number of people who have simply given up for lack of finding a job has almost tripled in the last year. This statistic differs from the number of unemployed, as “unemployed” assumes that those counted are actively seeking work. The discouraged worker surrendered to the poor economy.

Are You Discouraged?
If you are reading this blog post, you’re probably one of two things: You’re interested in the job market and actively seeking as well as shocked by the idea that things could get so bad you, too, might give up. Or you are, truly, a discouraged worker, and you’ve decided to give it one more shot.

Don’t Give Up! Get Connected to Career Resources
Regardless of how you see yourself at this very moment, don’t give up. My advice is the same. There are resources that can help you. If you need a resume, let us know. If you need career advice, we can help you with that, too. If you want to scrap your current career path and start over, let us find you a professional who can deconstruct where you’ve been and help you figure out where you want to go. If you already know all of that, and you simply need a recruiter who knows your specific industry, send us a note, and we’ll connect you with someone we know personally.

If you have a great resource, let us know why it’s incredible (it might even be you!), and we’ll add it (or you) to  my favorite career resources page .

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, is president and founder of Inscribe / Express and your partner in your job search. She writes exceptional resumes and cover letters that get interviews for savvy job seekers. Inscribe / Express is a full-service career documentation company and provides a 3-day turnaround time for resumes and cover letters. Contact us at 801-810-JOBS to speak one-on-one with a professional resume writer.

IT Waves Goodbye to the Cover Letter

There are plenty of resources out there for job seekers that spout the continued importance of cover letters. However, this continues to be a widely debated subject. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer from the people who matter to you the job seeker; that is, hiring managers, recruiters, and human resource departments. That being said, we at Ashley Ellis are going to come right out and say that, in the IT world, the answer is no, you don’t need a cover letter.

To be frank, the number one reason cover letters aren’t read by hiring managers is the sheer volume of people applying and the hours it would take to direct personal attention to each and every person’s cover letter. Today’s world is one of speed and efficiency, and the practice of the cover letter just doesn’t seem to fit in with that vision. This is especially true in the IT realm: since IT Directors and Managers typically embrace that vision, a cover letter isn’t going to do much for them.

However, even if there was an extra hour in each day to read cover letters, hiring managers are unanimous in the view that if a resume doesn’t hold its own, then a cover letter will not help you get an interview. If a resume is bad, a cover letter won’t be read at all. On the other hand, if your resume does stand out from the masses, the chance your letter might be read increases. However, if your resume is good enough to get you an interview by itself, why create a second chance for you to be weeded out with a cover letter that potentially just doesn’t cut it? In other words, a great resume by itself can get you an interview. If you add a cover letter into the mix, your chance at an interview might be hurt.

If you’re still tempted to write a cover letter despite all this, keep a few things in mind before you put pen to paper. If cover letters are read at all, they are not read in depth, so stay brief and to the point. A cover letter that consists of an autobiography, a detailed explanation of personal issues or requirements, or an extended version of the resume just won’t cut it. Essentially, a cover letter should be a snap shot of your resume that can reach out to both technical and non-technical people. Briefly highlight both your technical and non-technical skills, especially ones that were specifically mentioned in the job description.

Watch for any inconsistencies between the letter and your resume that may inadvertently pop up. Also, personalization is good: Put some effort into researching the company and briefly explain why you want to work for them and what you can bring to their table. Finally, please resist any temptation to enclose an autobiography within your cover letter, even an abridged version. Ultimately, if you really need a measure, a cover letter shouldn’t be more than two or three short and concise paragraphs.

The bottom line is all signs indicate that we’re speeding towards a world where a cover letter is simply not worth your time or brain cells, especially in the IT world. If you choose to get ahead of this train, then great. If, however, you’re still intent on writing a cover letter, then our tips will definitely help you on your way.

Clare Webster – Interactive Copywriter at Ashley Ellis

Ashley Ellis is an Information Technology Recruiting/Staffing firm, focused on staying ahead of the industry through our excellent customer service and constant drive toward improvement.