Category: Executive Resumes & Cover Letters (page 1 of 9)
I am thrilled to have my colleague Lisa Lewis write this guest post. She specializes in helping executives with Career Clarity and in this article, she will walk you through how to determine when to hire a resume writer vs. a career coach.
Guest Post by Lisa Lewis
Do I Need a Resume Writer or a Career Coach?
Want to land a job at a fabulous company where you’re paid well and have an impressive title?
One of the keys to getting an amazing job offer is having a perfectly polished resume that shows you’re a great fit for the role.
When it’s obvious on paper that you’re a beautiful fit, it’s easy for the hiring manager to make the case to give you a generous salary.
However, creating a killer resume that earns you high-paying offers isn’t as simple as it seems. Tailoring your resume to the exact role, industry, and organization is a critically important step for your success.
Want to craft the winning resume? Here are some questions to help you decide if you need to work with a professional resume writer, or if you need to start with a career coach instead.
You’re Unsure of Your Next Ideal Role
If you have no idea what your next ideal next role could be… work with a career coach.
If you’ve been climbing up the corporate ladder but you’re bored, tired, or ready to shake things up, it may be time to speak with a career coach to help you get more clarity. If you’ve ever described yourself as “needing help figuring out what you want to be when you grow up,” or know you definitely don’t want your boss’ job but aren’t sure what you *do* want, career coaches are better positioned to help you evaluate the full employment landscape and see all the available possibilities for you to pivot into. When working with a talented resume writer, they create a completely different profile for you if you’re making a switch in your career path rather than if you’re continuing on a similar path — so making the investment into resume writing before you’ve made a decision on your direction might mean you don’t get the ROI you were looking for. If you aren’t certain where your next job could be, invest in working with a career coach to go through a holistic process to identify the best fit intersection between your strengths, interest, personality, and lifestyle needs using personality assessments, opportunity brainstorming, and visioning exercises.
(Want to learn more about these four intersecting features of your next job? Check out the eBook, The Roadmap to Career Fulfillment!)
You Need Help Visualizing Your Goals
If you know the kind of role you want next, and need help crystallizing your goals and positioning yourself to get it… work with a resume writer.
Resume writers are brilliant at pulling out the most relevant parts of your past work experiences and matching them up to the kinds of roles you want to step into next, helping to stretch you and allow you to grow. They can help you find the diamonds in the rough from your past, and feature them prominently in your candidate profile so that future employers start drooling over you and can’t wait to give you an interview. There’s a true art to looking at a job posting and being able to display your most important and similar accomplishments — and it’s an art which varies wildly depending on the type of role you’re aiming for.
You’re Unsure If You Qualify for the Position You Want
If you aren’t sure you have relevant experience to apply for the roles you want… work with a career coach.
Career coaches – particularly ones that focus on supporting people in transitions – have a gift for helping you think about ways to bridge experience gaps on your resume before you start applying for new roles. While a resume writer can make your existing experiences sparkle and shine, they need you to have the experience so they can effectively position it. Career coaches can help you brainstorm creative ways to get those relevant experiences on the side of your current role, so a future employer will be thrilled with all your growing expertise beyond your job. Employers aren’t interested in you as a candidate if you’re applying for roles in fields where you can’t prove you have knowledge or skills — you’re too risky for them to take a chance on. Career coaches help you strategize about minimizing that risk and getting more tangible experiences to help you make your next steps.
You Need Help Realizing Your Accomplishments
If you need help making your work sound like powerful accomplishments instead of standard job duties… work with a resume writer.
When we reflect on the tasks we did in any given job, it’s easy to get mired in the details and minutiae of the day-to-day. Resume writers have a gifting for taking your career goals, seeing the bigger picture opportunities for you, and helping you elevate your work experience into language that’s appropriate for more senior hires. If you’re great at speaking about your work history but can’t seem to translate it to your CV, resume writers can help you get ideas out of your head and down on paper. Resume writers also have loads of experience in how to visually differentiate mid-level and senior-level hires on paper, and know lots of formatting and styling tricks that make a huge difference (and can dramatically increase your starting offers). Most career coaches don’t have nearly the depth or capability in branding and marketing you as resume writers. So if you’ve got it, a resume writer will help you flaunt it!
Investing in getting support to make your next career move is a great idea, and these guidelines can offer specific direction on what kind of professional service to pursue in to get the best return on your investment. Good luck moving forward on identifying your next move and crafting the perfect resume!
Lisa Lewis is a career change expert and creator of the Career Clarity method of finding more fulfillment and joy at work. Don’t love your job? We should talk. Learn more at GetCareerClarity.com or check out The Career Clarity Show podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play.
Thank you to Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Career Trend for designating Mary Elizabeth Bradford as one of the top executive resume writers in the industry in her article, “10 Best Executive Resume Writers Provide Expert Job Search Tips for 2019“!
Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and the MaryElizabethBradford.com Blog for the latest in executive career news, executive resume writing advice, executive job search tips, and more.
“I am thrilled to have just wrapped up the judging for the 2019 TORI’s (Toast of the Resume Industry™) resume writing competition and was super excited to see so many wonderful submissions this year!” – Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE
Check out my latest Forbes article, “Top 10 Qualities Of Chief Executive Officer Resumes,” for executive resume advice on how to get full market leverage with your CEO resume .
You can read all of my articles as a Forbes Contributor by visiting Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, Forbes Coaches Council Member.
A big thanks to Forbes for publishing my article, Today’s Executive Resume Is No Longer Just For Job Searching, which highlights five ways executives may not have considered utilizing their resume to advance their career.
The importance of association partnerships for resume writers including tips and strategies to discern the legitimacy, competency and quality of executive resume writing firms
When looking to hire a top executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner executive resume writer, you may be wondering how imperative it is that the firm be involved in an industry association. This article explores the different resume writing industry associations, how they help and support their members (resume writers), and, why involvement in associations is so critical to vetting a firm’s credibility.
The cornerstone of this important topic is that the career services industry is unregulated. Because the career services industry lacks both regulatory compliance measures and licenses in order to be a practitioner, association membership(s) become a very important indicator of a resume writing firm’s quality and industry reputation.
Reviews and review boards do not replace this credibility. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to self-appoint ‘great’ reviews through overseas contractors – especially on B-tier review boards. In the same manner, bad ‘fake’ reviews can be written about competitors with relative ease and has become a recent problem for reputable resume writers. Consistent ‘glowing’ reviews over a period of weeks or months, systematically generated every other day or every few days, can be an indicator that said reviews are being procured through unscrupulous methods. Be prepared to use a wider set of indicators than online reviews when working to discern an executive resume writing firm’s overall credibility.
Most career-related associations have guidelines that professionals must agree to uphold in order to obtain membership (among these are good business practices like ethical and honest consumer marketing). The standards established to extend membership are therefore a solid indication that the executive resume writer or firm is committed to following criteria or guidelines in concert with accepted ethical business dealings and industry best practices.
Furthermore, most career-related associations offer opportunities for executive resume writers or firm representatives to serve on boards and committees, attend informative conferences, obtain advanced certifications in a niche or market (C-level executive resumes or military transition resume writers), and submit their work for award contests and recognition where a panel of their peers judges their level of competency.
This provides exceptional opportunities for the executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner to learn, grow, advance and network with other industry leaders and career-services professionals.
In an ever-evolving market such as executive resume writing, staying current on best practices and market trends is crucial. I have made sure that my writing team and I are not only members of multiple associations, but also certified and actively involved in them. In addition, many of us are multi-award winners for our executive resumes (more detail on this below).
This is an investment of time, effort and money, but I consider it a wise investment for any writer or firm wanting to truly reach and stay at the top of their game. More specifically, we participate out of a commitment to our clients and our quality standards; to stay current on industry standards and market trends; to uphold our thought leadership in the industry; and to give back to our professional community by sharing knowledge, ideas and information that enhance our entire niche. This is why, if you call multiple practitioners, you may begin to get the feeling that we do not see each other as competition but rather as admired and respected colleagues. This is one of the many positive aspects of the resume writing and career coaching industry.
As you search for an executive resume writing firm, you may have stumbled upon a top-10 list in a niche, geography or industry. Here are a couple of points to consider when seeking to discern the validity of these lists:
- Who wrote the list? The author should be clearly stated on the article. Did the author appoint him or herself or someone related to his or her company as #1 on the list or anywhere in the ranking? If so, then the list you are reading is primarily marketing material for said company or person. Reputable third-party reviews or top-100 lists like FORBES do NOT self-appoint their team as winners and can therefore offer you a higher level of objectivity.
- What authority do top-10 list authors have for producing the ranking? Are they a professional journalist, industry veteran, book author, retired partner from a top retained executive recruiting firm such as Kornferry or past or present association director? If not, what is their objective for compiling the list and with what authority and criteria have they established their ranking?
- How long has the author been in the careers industry? Are they a reputable thought leader and industry expert?
- What credentials, awards or recognition does the author have? Are the awards or recognitions self-appointed or did he or she earn them through a recognized third party or industry association?
The takeaway: discerning fact from marketing hyperbole or sometimes straight up deceitful marketing practices and/or scams (I wrote about that here) takes a little digging but it can be done. The good news is associations can help you filter information to establish who and what companies are truly committed to their industry, their clients and best practices.
Resume Writer / Executive Writing Firm Checklist
When you are vetting resume writers, here are some things to look for that establish credibility….*
- Years in the industry:
- Price point (the best writers and firms usually command a premium):
- Association memberships:
- Association certifications:
- Association awards:
- Association board member:
- Association committee member:
- Price transparency (listed on website?):
- Resume samples on their site (that you like):
- Training in graphics or marketing:
- Professional training in your industry or niche:
- Major media mentions:
- Keynote speaker/speaking engagements:
- Book author/publisher:
- Careers expert for (LinkedIn/podcasts/career related entity):
*Nothing 100% ensures a perfect partnership in any service industry, but these general guidelines can increase your chances of success.
Now for a quick look at the primary resume writing associations:
- Career Thought Leaders (CTL): A think tank of careers industry leaders learning and collaborating to advance and promote the careers industry. Offers membership and certification. CTL is home to many of the top executive resume writers and career coaches in the world.
- Career Directors International (CDI): A membership-based organization for resume writers, career coaches, recruiters and HR related professionals. Often considered the gold standard in the industry, CDI offers, membership, conferences, multiple resume writing and coaching certifications and is home to the famous TORI awards, held by the majority of the top resume writers in the world. (TORI: Toast of the Resume Industry).
- The National Résumé Writers Association (NRWA): The mission of the National Résumé Writers’ Association, a nonprofit trade association for professional resume writers, is to increase the visibility of the industry, encourage ethical practices, promote excellence, and raise industry standards through peer marketing and training. The NRWA offers memberships, conferences, certifications and educational resources.
- The Professional Association of Résumé Writers (PARW): Our first industry association, The Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches™ was founded in January of 1990. Today, those who display the association’s logo affirm their dedication to excellence in meeting client career goals. In addition, many members then choose to seek certification to further affirm their expertise as career professionals. PARW has over 1,700 members including independent business owners, as well as non-profit career centers such as colleges and universities, military bases, workforce development offices, and state Departments of Labor in North America. Additionally, the organization has members throughout the world. PARW offers membership, certification and conference opportunities for their members.
In closing, association memberships, awards and certifications are critical to give job seekers peace of mind that the executive resume writing firm or executive resume writer cares about the quality of their product, service and client. It is the job seekers insurance policy—in an unregulated industry—that the writing firm is following industry standard guidelines, truly committed to their craft, and has obtained some peer reviewed positive feedback.
Here is another top executive resume writer’s perspective on Associations from Wendy Weiner of The Writing Guru.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford is honored to be a member in good standing of Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, The Professional Association of Resume Writers and The National Resume Writers Association.
For Career Directors International (CDI), she has obtained the following certifications: Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Internationally Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Master Career Director (MCD) and Certified International Advanced Resume Writer (CARW).
She has earned the following CDI recognitions: 4 CDI TORI Nominations and 2 TORI Awards, Career Directors International Career Innovator Awards: Nominee & Winner for The Job Search Success System, CDI Lifetime Achievement Award (The Highest CDI Award given).
Finally, for CDI, Mary Elizabeth has sat on multiple committees and has served as a past and current top tier judge for the TORI Awards (2017, 2018 and 2019). *Please note award winners are judged by a team of 15+ judges and work is submitted anonymously by entry number.
Maryelizabethbradford.com has been awarded the FORBES Top 100 Websites For Your Career.
The majority of writing team members for maryelizabethbradford.com are both multi-certified and multi-award-winners.
To book a discovery call to discuss your next executive transition, working with Mary Elizabeth or her team, contact us here: https://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford, President of maryelizabethbradford.com, (a premier online provider of executive resumes and supporting documents for C-suite executives), has been awarded an international designation as a Certified Executive Resume Master. Evaluated and awarded by the Career Directors International Board of Certification, her work demonstrates an exceptional grasp of the discrete personal and business aspirations pertaining to astute, top-tier executives. This knowledge includes use of the appropriate keywords and competencies, position responsibilities and challenges, and effective resume presentation styles for the ‘best and the brightest’ in business.
CDI President, Laura DeCarlo, states that, “When selecting a resume writer, a job seeker should always look for an individual who is certified and who has experience working with job seekers in their industry. Selecting a skilled professional with a Certified Executive Resume Master designation is the natural choice to confidently put your career in the hands of a qualified expert who has made the effort to specialize in this highly competitive population.”
CDI is an international association that provides proactive resources and assistance to empower its members in the undertaking and application of career development, resume writing and employment practices.
maryelizabethbradford,com, a FORBES Top 100 Career Website, creates executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles, executive biographies and online portfolios for VP and C-suite executives in the global marketplace. Founded in 2008, maryelizabethbradford.com has grown into one of the premier executive resume writing services in the US and worldwide for top tier executives who wish to transition either within their existing career fields or to another industry. Mary Elizabeth Bradford is a recognized thought leader in the resume writing industry, who has been seen and heard in major media including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glassdoor, MSN, Inc., and TIME. She is has been awarded 8 of the highest industry awards including 2 CDI TORI awards, and has been appointed as a top tier judge for the CDI TORI Awards both in 2017 and 2018. She is a member in good standing of multiple gold standard associations including Forbes Coaches Council, Career Thought Leaders, Career Directors International, The National Resume Writers Association and The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Mary Elizabeth lives on a farm in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and daughter.
What an honor to be included along so many of my esteemed colleagues in Laura DeCarlo’s new 8th edition of Resumes for Dummies. Many congratulations to my fellow collaborators:
Niya Allen-Vatel, Meg Applegate, CPRW, Kimberly Robb Baker, NCRW, CJSS, CMRW, CCST, Susan Barens, MHRD, Jacqui Barrett Poindexter, Master Resume Writer, Karen Bartell, CMRW, CERM, CPRW, CRS-IT, Laurie Berenson, Brenda Bernstein, Skye Berry-Burke, Mary Elizabeth Bradford, Executive Resumes, CARW, CERW, MCD, Bridget Weide Brooks, Phaedra Brotherton, Donald Burns, Erin C. Cambier ✰ CPRW, María de Lourdes Caraballo, Paula Christensen, Marlene Cole, Sarah Cronin, Darlene M. Dassy, CEIC, CMRW, CERM, Jeri Hird Dutcher,Ken Docherty, CMRW, CERM, CPRW, B.A., Kelly Donovan, CPRW, CHJMC, Matthew Dupee, M.Ed, MBA, MSF, CPRW, Maureen Farmer, Jennifer Fishberg, Ed.M., Certified Resume Writer, Cliff Flamer, Anne Galloway (CARW), Louise Garver, Jill Grindle, Susan Guarneri, Tiffany Hardy, MA, CERM, ACRW, CPRW, Laura Hartnell, MA, CARW, Gayle Howard, Sandra Ingemansen, Billie Jordan, Gillian Kelly, Erin Kennedy MCD, CMRW, CERW, CPRW, CEMC, Peter Lavelle, MBA, Michelle Lopez, Natalie Joan MacLellan, Victoria McLean, Jennifer Miller, CPRW, CARW, CRS, Judith (Judy) Monaco, JD, CPRW, ACRW, Zakiyyah Mussallihullah, Sari Neudorf, Tyrone Norwood, CMRW, CPRW, Lisa Parker CERM CPRW, Marie Plett, Rachel VanderPol, Barb Poole, Audrey Prenzel, BA, BEd, CARW, CEIC, Annette Richmond, MA, CMRW, CARW, CEIC, Michelle Riklan, Eve Ruth, Barbara Safani, Posey Salem, Robin Schlinger, Certified Resume Writer, Career Coach, Cheryl Simpson, Career and Job Search Coach, Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resumes, CPRW, CCMC, CTTCC, Michelle Swanson, Denise Taylor MBA, C.Psychol, Adrienne Tom, Executive Resumes, Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Kara Varner, MAOM, CARW, CPRW, CRS-MTC, Jeanette Walton, BA (Writing), Natalie Winzer, CARW, Lucie Yeomans, CPRW, CEIC, OPNS, JCTC, JCDC,
Click here to learn more and buy a copy.
Landing your first, or second or third CEO role can be accelerated through understanding how to best market yourself in a way that most fluidly communicates your value points as well as gaining clarity on what the market best responds to. Here are a few quick tips to help you in your next executive transition:
Thank you to Jacob Share of JobMob for including my article, “Top 10 Executive Resume Writing Tips for 2019” in his list of top job search articles for 2018, along with those of 22 other amazing careers industry gurus. Read them all and vote for your favorite at Top Job Search Articles of 2018.