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Executive Resume Writing Services—Know This Before You Hire One

Executive Resume Writing Services—Know This Before You Hire One

A good Executive Resume Writing firm can help you with your career transition in multiple ways that can be truly life-changing. By writing your executive resume to the role you want, the firm can help you to achieve your goals, which may include a higher title; a move to a bigger or better company; increasing your overall compensation; or all of these and more.

More specifically, by writing a resume “up” to your next role, an Executive Resume Writing firm helps you to create a powerful draw—helping the readers of your executive resume understand your specific value proposition for the role you want. This, in turn, sets a mental marker in their mind that attaches your abilities to the skills and requirements of the up-leveled title you want. This has a very natural ripple effect—it’s very typical for my clients to land much more money and a much higher title, secure more interest and more interviews, and have generally more leverage in the market. All these things happen rather naturally when the foundation of your goals is well mapped out; and your marketing materials—your executive resume, executive biography, and LinkedIn profile—are clearly written to the role you want next.

Problems with poor marketing messages

Have you ever had recruiters reach out to you through LinkedIn  for roles that were just at or slightly under your capabilities (I wrote here previously about LinkedIn for executives)? This is simply a marketing / perception issue, and a good resume writer with a strong marketing orientation can quickly and easily solve this for you by redesigning and rebranding your executive LinkedIn profile and your executive resume. This is specifically achieved via your Executive Resume Writer’s leading you to focus on contextualizing your preferred outcome and then working backwards—which includes getting a good sense of the keyword patterns in the roles to which you are most attracted. When you are vetting potential Executive Resume writing firms, be sure to ask them about their process and their philosophy of resume writing, and how they plan to market you. Hopefully, you hear from them a similar approach.

Setting realistic expectations of your resume writing team

Setting expectations is another key area you want to explore. It is imperative that you go into an executive resume writing partnership with a grounded and realistic understanding of both the services and the deliverables, and that you are prepared to participate and partner with the firm to achieve success.

This includes an openness to work on details of your executive career track, to define impact and metrics; participation during the editing process; and an openness or willingness to embrace transitional strategies that could accelerate your results. An unwillingness to participate actively in any of these things; or a general expectation that you are “paying” for everything to be done for you; could negatively impact your results.

The truth is that the success these partnerships’ success equally depends on you; and is in fact, largely what you make it. Thus, understanding the rather large “performance management” component of a partnership between you and a career services firm—it’s safe to say that a positive attitude is everything. And, in fact, a negative attitude can completely hinder the success and progress of an individual—no matter how good the firm or writer helping you is.

As an example: When I have, in the past, hired business coaches or various experts, I may have gotten only one or two key points from our meetings. However, those one or two key points typically either became very important puzzle pieces to increasing my efficiencies or helped in growing my overall business. I didn’t disparage those encounters for not delivering on every question or challenge I brought to the table; I focused rather on the tenfold ROI that the one or two points on which they really delivered, benefited me. I went in with an open mind. What I learned made me better and made my company better; and that is valuable!

Setting realistic expectations of how long your job search will take

I greatly cherish and am inspired by all of the ongoing testimonials I receive from my clients. I think it shows a consistency of success from which I, too, learn as I continue to grow in my expertise and abilities. We never stop learning!

Within these testimonials, an important distinction is that some of these client’s career transitions took longer than others. Most of my clients make their transitions (anecdotally speaking) in just a few months, and that is at the C-level—which I think is extraordinary compared to the market statistics which are usually somewhere between 12 to 14 months for executives. Some transitions take longer and some searches are a little more challenging (changing industries); this can be for a multitude of reasons having to do with factors that span across industry health/future economic outlook, client qualifications, complexity of goals; and even time of year and time available for client to invest in their job transition. I try to help all of my clients pre-plan and map out their next moves in a realistic way, because all of these aforementioned factors have one thing in common: They are all outside of my personal control.

What I can control, though, is on what I focus to empower my clients. In addition to contextualizing goals, I am there for the occasional issue, and willing to help with any client transitions that don’t go 100% smoothly—as long as I have a willing and positive partner client. This is where the rubber meets the road; and to me, when I find a consultant or a company that is willing to stick it out with me to tackle challenges or address issues in a quick, straightforward way—this is a value trait I honor and respect. Often, these are my closest advisors and most preferred vendors.

I hope this rather vulnerable perspective helps you as you form your expectations of Executive Resume writing services or similar career resources.


Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CARW, MCDMary Elizabeth Bradford and her elite team of award-winning, top certified executive resume writers and former top executive recruiters and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier CxO’s and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. Would you like to discuss your executive level transition and explore your options? Book a complimentary, confidential discovery call now.

 

5 Things You Should Know Before Hiring an Executive Resume Writer

Five Things To Consider Before Hiring An Executive Resume Writer

Thinking about hiring and executive resume writer? In my article, Five Things To Consider Before Hiring An Executive Resume Writer, I walk you through five important factors you should take time to assess before making your decision.

See the other articles I’ve written for Forbes  as a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford Nominated for Multiple TORI Awards

toriI just found out I have been nominated for 4 TORI Awards through Career Directors International in the categories of Best Executive Resume, Best Cover Letter, Best Accounting Resume and Best Hospitality Resume. Wow, what an honor! Thank you to the CDI Judging Panel (my peers!).

Press Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
TOP EXECUTIVE RESUME WRITER AWARDED INTERNATIONAL MASTER-LEVEL WRITING CERTIFICATION

 

Mary Elizabeth Bradford - Triple Certified Executive Resume WriterMary Elizabeth Bradford, Founder and Executive Director of maryelizabethbradford.com, has been awarded international certification as a Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW) by Career Directors International (CDI). This Master-Level certification, the pinnacle level of competency for CDI, required Mary Elizabeth to demonstrate her superior knowledge and experience in contemporary resume writing through an intensive examination of her professional writing. She was assessed on her broad range of industry knowledge and expertise in the areas of strategy, branding, advanced visual appeal, and contextual narrative. Recognition as a CMRW sets Mrs. Bradford apart from the competition and distinguishes the high caliber of her credentials in assisting top-level executive clientele (Director to CXO and Board Members) with professional resume services.

 

Maryelizabethbradford.com offers expert-level resume writing and career advisory services for executive clientele in the global marketplace. She empowers clients to navigate the complexities of the job search and emerge as successful candidates. Mrs. Bradford is a recognized speaker and author whose career advice has been seen and heard on Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, PBS, NBC, Glassdoor and Career Builder, to name a few. She has more than 17 years’ expertise assisting 6- and 7-figure clients in achieving their career goals. She is the author of The Career Artisan Series eBooks—which have been best sellers on Amazon, and include titles: The New Executive Job Search, The 21st Century Resume, Interview Follow Up Techniques, Phone Networking Secrets, and The Hidden Job Market, and has been published in multiple resume writing and cover letter compilation books. In addition, she has received the highest CDI Award given: The Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also achieved Certification as Master Career Director, Certification as International Advanced Resume Writer, Awarded the CDI National Career Innovator Award, won two awards for 2015 Top Career Advice Blog, and maryelizabethbradford.com was voted a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. To learn more about Mary Elizabeth Bradford, visit her website at www.maryelizabethbradford.com.

 

CDI is an international association that provides proactive resources and assistance to empower its members to apply the world’s best practices in career development, resume writing, and job searches.

Why Do Dropouts Do Better?

I often work with very successful C level execs who are concerned they don’t have their college degree but they have made their companies hundreds of millions of dollars. I think this explains a few things…

Holmes-Elizabeth

Elizabeth Holmes owns 50% of her company, Theranos and has become the youngest billionaire. Elizabeth Holmes left Stanford University at 19 with a plan to start her own company. For money, she cashed out the funds her parents had saved for tuition. Now, she counts billionaire Larry Ellison as an investor and has former secretaries of state on her board.

Bill Gates is another famous dropout. So is Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, who dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to complete his project. Steve Jobs dropped out of college after six months. The list goes on an on. The question we have to ask – why does formal education turn-off the most creative people? Answer – they are non-conformists.

Read more here:   http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/12/02/why-do-dropouts-do-better/

Einstein-Imagination

Why You Should Have a Certified Executive Resume Writer Write Your C-Level Resume

As a top executive resume writer, I have the privilege of speaking to many top executives on a weekly basis. There are a few statements I hear over and over again from these executives in career transition. They include:

“I have not had to look for a position ever – they have always come to me.”

“I really don’t know much about today’s job market; I haven’t had to look for positions for many years.”

“My resume is extremely dated and doesn’t represent me the way I would like it to.”

“I have tried to write about myself and my accomplishments, but it is just proved to be too difficult.”

“I have done so many things and amassed so many executive level skills at this point in my career, my resume would be 5 pages long if I wrote it.”

These are all very common, frustrating situations for top executives, and all very good reasons that they seek to employ top certified executive resume writers to design their C-level resumes. At the C-level, most executives would spend money at their salaries to actually try to write their own resumes.

Another important factor is the ROI of working with a top writer to design a C-level resume. Most often the leverage a professional C-level resume gives means more interviews in less time and often more money. Ostensibly, C-level executives who invest in professional leadership resumes will recoup their initial investment or often see a return in the form of an increased salary, more interviews, a shorter job search and the like.

A C-level resume is a leadership document that is strategically planned out and designed to convey your value in the form of telling your story and communicating the metrics-driven accomplishments you have a track record for. If it’s done right, it sets the peg higher for initial conversations and builds the value of who you can be to a potential employer. It should create intrigue and pull opportunities to you.

A C-level resume that is professionally created ensures that your story is told crisply and in a compelling manner. The set up and delivery is compiled for easy reading – it is interesting – and white space is respected. Accomplishments are set in tables and perhaps shown on a graph and your top-branded accomplishments are called out in short sound bites. This gives your reader satisfaction at the cursory glance.

Common mistakes executives make when they write their own resumes include big blocks of text and simply including too much information. These sub par resumes do not adequately convey leadership strengths or give the stellar first impression needed to land interviews for an executive level position. If you write your own resume and feel the backlash of silence from recruiters and job boards you have submitted your resume to, you will be tempted to feel a loss of confidence in the job market and possibly in your own value. A professionally written C-level resume means you can step out with aplomb – and this good energy will carry over to your interviews.

It is rarely disputed that a top executive resume writer is a valuable resource for your C-level resume, as the investment often pays back very well. They can also serve as trusted sounding boards for executive decisions during a job search and provide other valuable resources such as LinkedIn design and optimization, recruiter distributions and more.

Why Your CEO Resume Fails to Get Interviews

If you are a successful CEO and have recently found yourself in the job market, you may have run into a few “surprises.” You may be sending your resume out to a small network of contacts, a few recruiters and perhaps applied for a few positions listed on job boards; yet, for all that effort, you may not be landing interviews.

There are many reasons that your CEO resume may not be getting you any traction. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Your CEO Resume may be dated. Have you done a quick search for CEO resumes on the internet and clicked on images? Or Googled top executive resume writers and looked at their award-winning executive resume samples? Leadership resumes have changed a lot in the last few years. More attention to visual design, layout, charts and graphs which detail accomplishment metrics and incorporate colors are all techniques that executive resume writers will use to make the professional documents they create stand out. Other executives are investing in hiring professional resume writers to create highly compelling, professional CEO resumes. They understand the value of standing out from the pack and the criticality of presenting themselves in the best light possible, including improving the ease with which their marketing documents can be read.
  • Your CEO Resume may be too long, contain too much information and be too text dense. Written communication has become more distilled and is most easily assimilated in short sound bites. This is where a good design can make a profound difference for you. By creating tables or call out boxes to showcase key leadership strengths, you can highlight things such as years of experience, how much P&L you have been responsible for, the size of companies you have expertise with and any special skills, such as reorganization or fast growth environments and advanced degrees. If you feel you are lacking in any of these areas, parsing out a section just to highlight key skills will help to accentuate the core abilities you do bring to the table and minimize any concerns about skills you may lack. If your resume is 3 or 4 or more pages long because after 20+ years you have “seen and done everything,” then it can be a challenge to create a resume that it more in line with the expected 2-page executive resume which is the most reasonable and easy to read. You might struggle with knowing what to put in and what to leave out of your resume. If you are going after particular CEO roles, listing all of your successes in detail – including what you did 15 years ago as a sales manager – may leave the impression that you are a little out of touch. Highlighting relevant results, not tasks, is the name of the game with today’s CEO resume. You probably have done some amazing things in your career, but the ones to list in your executive resume are those that align with your goals moving forward.

  • Your resume may not be focused. Again, a generalized overview of what you do is good. But companies, board members and top executives expect that you come to the table with a clear message that communicates your value and especially your branding. I like to think of your branding as “the promise of an experience; the experience a company or team will have when they work with you.” What are the main things you are known for in your leadership style? What are you doing when you are loving your work? What principals do you stand for no matter what? What special skills are you reputed for? Are these points communicated in your CEO resume? If not – they should be.

5 Things All CFO Resumes Should Have

The first thing you need to define when building your CFO Resume – either yourself or with the help of an executive resume writer – is your focus of direction. Your resume should be built to the position you want, rather than a historical narrative of where you have been and what you can do. If you apply this principal and do your due diligence regarding your refocus of direction (which can include public vs private, profit vs nonprofit, regional vs global, industry, company size, etc.) your resume will ultimately give you more market leverage.

Once you have determined your focus, here are 5 additional important components to integrate into your resume:

Your Branding

You may perform many responsibilities very well, but what particular areas do you excel in? Is it fostering banking relationships? Reorganizations? Fast growth situations? Turnarounds? Strategic Planning? Once you have defined your top skills, how does this align with your career goals moving forward? If you have picked your next move well, there should be a harmony between your career choices and your top skills. Providing there is, you can begin to weave your top skills into your branding message, including your introductory statements, tagline and keywords at the top of your resume.

The Breadth of Your Financial Acumen

Make sure to detail all areas of your financial expertise including accounting and finance, treasury, financial reporting, strategic planning, budgeting, tax strategy, insurance, internal audit, corporate compliance, and contract analysis and negotiations. Of course, include any supporting degrees or certifications such as CPA and MBA.

Metrics

Match up your metrics with your career goals. If you are gunning for a position with a large global company and that expertise aligns with your background, at the top of your resume provide metrics, including the most P&L you have ever managed, teams, and geographical scope. So you might say, “P&L to $500M, Teams to 1600, and Global Scope: North America/Asia Pacific.”

Your Core Competencies

These should align and support your financial acumen. Identify your other leadership capabilities such as executive stewardship, enterprise strategy, performance management, team development and strategic growth plans.

Cutting Edge Technologies and Strategies

Today there is ever-increasing interest in cloud-based consolidated technologies that simplify processes and consolidate data. If you have any expertise with cloud-based financial and administrative systems, be sure to emphasis this front and center on your resume.

Your ability to demonstrate how you have achieved or revived fiscal health in your previous positions, though your utilization of metrics and quantifiable achievements, will add tremendous value to your CFO resume. Remember too, exemplary, well-balanced designs (with a respect for white space) and focused content that categorizes and calls out your accomplishments in short sound bites, are all critical factors in today’s leadership resumes.

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Crafting the Perfect Executive Resume

A very common complaint I hear from executives who call me for the first time is that they have been sending out their executive resume for several weeks or months with no response. This creates mounting frustration for the executive whose question then becomes, “what is wrong with my executive resume?”

In my 17 years as an executive recruiter, executive job search coach and internationally certified advanced resume writer, I have identified three common denominators in the successful executive career transition. They are as follows:

  1. A clear focus of direction.
  2. Highly professional marketing collateral.
  3. The right job search techniques for that executive and their goals.

In this article I wish to address the second component: your successful marketing collateral. More specifically, your offline marketing collateral (online marketing collateral includes social media such as LinkedIn).

Executive resumes are leadership profiles that work hard to do many things at once; they tell your story in a compelling way, lead with the results that you have achieved in your career positions, and detail your primary leadership strengths in two ways.

The first way should give the reader a very good perspective of the basics (your focus, your industry expertise or target market, metrics including P&L and company size you’ve had experience in, and teams managed, to name a few) so that the reader is satisfied at the cursory glance. In other words, they feel they have a good basic understanding of your abilities and achievements. To do this correctly two things must be done:

  1. Your executive resume must be highly organized and written TO the position/industry you’re targeting.
  2. Your achievements need to be short and just cover the results you achieved. You do not have to go into the details of how you achieved your results on your resume when you are highlighting those major results on the top half or first page of your executive resume.

You can briefly and crisply cover the basic details deeper in the position history section of your resume. And this is the second way your leadership resume should highlight your strengths. In this section there are many ways to set up your career history, including calling out particulars and then showcasing an accomplishment next to it. For example: EBITDA Improvements, Asset Utilization, Profitability Improvements, Mergers & Acquisitions, Franchising, Performance Management, Operational Cost Reductions, Divestures, P&L Improvements, Global Market Expansions, and so on…

Setting up the stories regarding how you landed your positions, positive information including the size and scope of the companies and your leadership responsibility in them, and briefly outlining the challenges you faced in your executive positions and how you faced them – through to the results you produced – all work together to make a compelling and readable executive resume.

Design is of critical importance as well. Key decision makers are more receptive to executive resumes that are well organized, highly professional and show caring about one’s identity. The appearance of your executive resume truly matters.

A recent study tested 30 recruiters scanning resumes using a scientific technique called “eye tracking” which revealed a heat scan of where the professional recruiter’s eyes were reading 2 executive resumes. The recruiters spent considerably more time scanning the resume that had a clear and concise format, allowing them to more easily scan for pertinent information. This gives additional credence to what professional resume writers have been saying all along: a professionally designed and written executive resume helps professionals stand out and get noticed.

A Checklist to Help You Pick the Best Executive Resume Writer For You

If you are an executive, you may be wondering if it is worth it for you to invest in having your resume professionally written. VP Resumes, CIO Resumes, COO Resumes and the like are often professionally written for a few main reasons:

  1. The time it takes you as an executive to put together your own resume and do it well is usually a driving factor. You have probably already figured out that as a multi-six-figure plus executive, it costs you money to try to develop your own marketing collateral (at your salary) vs. hiring someone knowledgeable to do it for you.
  2. There is the struggle of writing about yourself and conveying a successful career track record without feeling like you are bragging.
  3. Perhaps most important is the edge a professionally written resume (also called a leadership resume) can give you as an executive in today’s market. Many studies have been done that show a well laid out document keeps the reader on the page longer. A resume that truly has a polished and professional appearance is more attractive and better received by key decision makers; it creates excitement, establishes trust and generally garners more interest. This is very important at the top executive level where there are statistically fewer opportunities.

So, with all the resume writers out there, how does an executive decide who to work with? Below is a checklist of items you can use as you determine the best writer for you.

  • Certification. There are very good writers who are not certified, but in an unregulated industry such as career services, a certification from a top association such as Career Directors International acts as an insurance policy to you.
  • Industry Expertise. Have they written for your level, your geographic location and for your industry before? This isn’t a deal breaker if they haven’t done all three, but it is important they have at least been in the general ballpark in terms of experience.
  • Price. At the end of the day your focus should not be the price of the resume but the return on investment you stand to gain. When it comes to resume writers, this is why I always say hire the absolute best you can afford. There is often a very good reason a top career pro commands top dollar. Lower-priced writers often do high volume. Think of what you want. Is it to change industries without taking a pay cut? Is it to get a 5k raise or make $50k more a year? Jeremy, a friend of mine that I recently wrote a resume for, told me that by using it, he landed a position with a Fortune 100 energy company and tripled his salary – in just a few weeks! So to Jeremy, does it matter now if I was $1000 less or $500 more than writer X? Not one bit with returns like that. Price should be way down on your list. Your confidence that your writer can help get you where you want to go should be top priority.
  • Brownie Buttons. What other brownie buttons (as I call them) does the writer have to offer you? Certifications, inclusions in books, magazine articles and major media, as well as winning awards, are ALL excellent indications that someone is pretty good at what they do. It also indicates that person is probably a pretty good marketer. When it comes to your resume – a marketing document – having a writer who has a strong foundational understanding of marketing 101 plays very well to your success. If you like how they market themselves, they will probably know how to market you, too!

  • Resume Samples. It is very important to check out the resume samples on that writer’s website and ask for more if you need to. Do you like them? Do you resonate with them? Do you want a resume that looks very similar? You should, because that is probably what your resume will end up looking like! Of course, understanding what represents good content is foundational too, but that’s material for another article!
  • The Writer. Do you like the writer? You’d better, because that person is going to be working with you – translating intimate parts of your career and personality for you and possibly giving you guidance to help you with next steps. You have to like and trust them enough to follow their lead. Can and will you trust them enough to let them lead you? Even if the writer is a fantastic resume writer, if they rub you the wrong way or they are not a good fit for whatever reason, it is best to keep looking.
  • Job Search Support. How much does the writer know about next steps? Are they savvy enough that they can accelerate your results with additional support, coaching, services and resources above and beyond your resume and/or LinkedIn profile? It is my belief that a resume writer who understands what happens after they give you your professionally written executive resume is going to be looking through that lens when they write your resume; thus they will produce a more focused and results-producing document overall.
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