Tag: executive level resumes

ATS Scam Notice

There is a scam currently circulating on the internet.

Clients, please be cautious if you are approached by a “recruiting” firm and told you are being considered for an executive job. Here is what they will do:

  1. They will ask you to send your resume (and most likely, sign a non-disclosure agreement).
  1. You’ll get back an email stating that although they were able to open your resume, it could not be loaded properly into their ATS.
  1. They will send you a link to “score” your resume (or straight to a site to “fix” your resume for a fee).
  1. You’ll load your resume (with NO job announcement) to be scored. It will fail.
  1. You are sent to a website that will “fix” your resume for a fee.

This company changes names often to evade authorities.

Executive Resume Writer Mary Elizabeth Bradford Appointed as Judge for 2018 TORI Resume Writing Competition

Mary Elizabeth Bradford to Judge TORI Resume Writing CompetitionFor the second year in a row, Mary Elizabeth Bradford has been appointed to serve as a Top Tier Finalist Judge for Career Director International’s 2018 TORI Awards.

The CDI Toast of the Resume Industry Awards are regarded as the gold standard for best content/visual resume representation the industry has to offer. Top resume writers from all over the world compete for first, second or third place in their respective categories ranging from Executive to Healthcare, Finance, Sales, and Entry-Level.

According to CDI President, Laura DeCarlo, “The Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) award winners represent the epitome of excellence for job seekers to stand out from the competition for the 60-80% of all jobs that are found through networking and the hidden job market.”  TORI award winners are considered to be the top resume writers in the resume writing/careers industry.

Check out past TORI winners here.

Is Your Executive Resume Missing These 5 “Must Haves”?

Are you dusting off your VP or CXO resume for an active or passive job search? Making sure your executive level resume is a powerful marketing document is a wise investment in your career. It can set you apart from your competition, maximize the amount of interviews you land and ultimately play into how much a company offers you.

After all, you are negotiating with potential employers from the moment you connect with them to the time the offer is made. So everything that happens in that window of time plays into your offer … including how well targeted, well designed and compelling your resume is.

Here are five elements you will want to make sure your resume has:

#1: Targeted Format

Your resume must be compelling for the type of position you are focusing on. If you are a sales executive and you have a VP of Business Development resume or Senior Global Sales Executive resume for example, you are going to want to quantify your sales skills in terms of territory development, revenue generation, and types of skills associated with sales, plus secondary support skills such as client management customer service, public relations and marketing. The best way to match up your skills and create a magnetic attachment to your next position is to simply find a few representative positions and highlight all the keywords that match and resonate with you. Many of my clients successfully up-level their position titles using this method, which is simply writing TO where you want to go, not FROM where you have been.

#2: Value Proposition Statement

Under the heading of your resume you should have a value proposition statement, which is a 3 to 4 sentence overview of your focus and your strengths. Here’s an example of a value proposition statement for a technology executive:

Innovative & highly competent business and technology leader with 15+ years experience developing creative technology solutions that enhance performance, effect change, drive profits and growth. Proven reputation to…

Note: A value proposition statement is different from a personal objective statement because a personal objective is about what YOU want. A value proposition tells your potential employer what skills and strengths you have to offer THEM.

#3: Quantifiable Achievements

This is one of the most important components to your executive level resume. You need to communicate in your resume not just what you do, but what HAPPENS when you do it! This technique also helps employers envision you working with them and helping them with similar challenges and issues.

#4: Keyword Rich Content

Keywords, organized into a group called “core competencies” or something similar, will do two things for you:

  1. Influence the Scanner: It serves to potentially qualify you for more interviews, assuming those companies you are submitting your resume to use keyword scanning technology.
  2. Influence the Reader: Keywords are strengths that stand alone and therefore allow the reader to view your competencies independent of any past company associated with them. This has a positive psychological affect because it enhances the reader’s ability to picture YOU in the position they are working to fill.

#5: Two Executive Resume Versions

You will always want to have two versions of your executive resume:

  • Clean Word Format: Your word version can be both printed out as a hard copy or attached as a Word document in an e-mail.
  • ASCII Text Format: This will be used for all of your electronic submissions. Plain text retains its formatting and thus looks much cleaner on the receiving end. When saving a copy of your resume in this format, you will need to go in and clean up all of the symbols and spacing.

Why Your Executive Resume is Critical to Landing a CEO Job

At the CEO level, your career transition landscape has a unique terrain: there are fewer C-level positions, they come up less often and each has its specific requirements. As a smart CEO, you will first plan your upcoming transition by defining and writing down your wants, needs, career goals and driving motivators. You will want to layer in some due diligence respective to the short and long term economic growth and stability of the industries you have in your sights. The reason this due diligence is so critical is because today’s leadership resume must be written to what you wish to do moving forward vs. a chronological list of what you have done.

Demonstrating you can communicate your focus, your purpose and your value inspires confidence and will attract the positions you wish to explore.

Once you have a plan in place, this is the bull’s eye that you can now create and design your CEO resume for. A primary complaint from C-level executives, and one of the major issues with C-level executive resumes, is that they contain too much information. You may find that you have done and achieved so much in your career, you can’t find the objectivity needed to understand what to leave in and what to leave out of your executive leadership resume.

As a CEO, you need to communicate certain things in your resume that demonstrate your value in a C-level role to potential companies. In addition, you may be interviewed by a board of directors, and often in these cases, they like to see an executive biography in addition to your resume.

Hiring a professional resume writer to help craft a CEO resume can not only serve as a huge weight off of your shoulders, but bring you a substantial ROI in many ways, including:

  • Helping to present yourself in a highly professional polished manner.
  • Helping to showcase the metrics of your accomplishments.
  • Helping to communicate the value that you bring to the table.

All of these benefits can and do have a positive effect on your interviews and offers. Regardless of who writes your CEO resume, there are two critical factors you must not miss.

The first is to write to the positions you are focusing on. You can start this process by finding 2 or 3 representative positions and then literally highlighting the keywords and phrases in those positions that match you. From this you will be able to see running themes and gain clarity on your own personal branding (what you are attracted to) as well as understanding what keywords and phrases to layer in.

The second is to be sure you are speaking to the needs of the companies with whom you have defined represent ideal positions for you. At the CEO resume level, it is a mistake to use an old resume or a 6-page resume which may contain task-oriented details from past positions you held 15 or 20 years ago. At this point in your career everything needs to be recalibrated. Older positions may be placed in a “Past Career Highlights” section and given a brief nod with perhaps one notable accomplishment listed. For more recent positions, again, be sure to omit any task-driven details and concentrate on leadership skills. You may wish to emphasize leadership skills such as your visionary ability, how you empower organizational change, drive profitability through developing and initiating business goals, provide overall corporate direction, and inspire core teams across various divisions and reinforce corporate branding.

If you find yourself unsure of what accomplishments of yours to highlight, simply refer back to the ideal career positions you unearthed. Whatever they are asking for, those are the skills you match and reflect back to them using quantifiable accomplishments wherever and whenever you can.

If these basics are not reflected in your CEO resume, it could cost you a job interview or offer. You don’t have to list your entire detailed career history in your leadership resume. Simply present a polished document that shows what kind of a CEO you could be to their company.

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.

How to Choose an Executive Resume Writer

A very common comment from my executive level clients is that searching for career and job search help on the internet is extremely confusing.

The internet is a great place for getting questions answered and researching economic and job search trends, but it is the sheer volume of information that can tend to make a professional’s head spin.

To cut through the fat, the best thing to do when you are vetting any new service is to start by going through associations.

Please understand that career services is an unregulated industry. That means buyer beware! Going through associations allows you to compare writers and other coaching services side-by-side, and insures that you can instantly find people who take their career seriously through industry-regulated memberships and association certifications. I like Career Directors International because in my opinion, they are the career services industries gold standard. Their certifications are not inexpensive and they are difficult to obtain. Certifications must be renewed and continuing education credits submitted to “hold” the certification.

Here are some initial credentials to look for when you are reviewing a resume writer’s website:

  • They are CERTIFIED, preferably thru Career Directors International (yes there are good writers who are not, but this is like an insurance policy!).
  • They have been seen/heard/published in major media like Wall Street Journal, MSN, FORBES, etc.
  • They have won awards for their resume writing.
  • They have authored or been featured in career- or resume-related books.
  • They have been in business for at least 10 years (if you are a top executive).
  • They have expertise writing for your industry/position.

What else should you consider?

  • Look at the resume samples on their site and read the site content. Do you like and resonate with what they are saying? My personal feeling is that a writer who knows how to market themselves will probably be pretty good at marketing you too!
  • Reach out to them. Do they respond promptly? Do you like them and are you resonating with the feedback they are giving you? This is important because remember, this is a person you are entrusting with a very important project! They will be giving you advice and you must like/trust them enough to take it and implement it.
  • If they can help you with other needs you may have in your job search, such as understanding how to use social networking like LinkedIn or helping you with other job search strategies, that’s a big plus!

What about price?

The truth is that top writers are offering resume packages anywhere from $800 to $3000 on average. If you have never worked with a writer before you may feel this is “expensive.” Remember these professionals, when at the top of their game, usually spend thousands investing in industry-related continuing education. Certified resume writers are highly trained.  They can save you tons of time and frustration, and have amassed years and years of experience – this is truly priceless when you are in need of the right help and best information.

It is also important to realize that resume writing is an unusually labor intensive service that requires many hours of concentration and communication, for every project they undertake.  Most often, executives who invest in themselves via an executive resume writer or coach make that investment back many, many times over. There is no guarantee of course, but it is safe to say, that is the expected and most often achieved outcome.

Of course, I am a certified resume writer but I am sharing this in the true spirit of helping. I am not everyone’s writer – the most important thing is that YOU find the writer who is a great fit for you! Merry Christmas!

When and Why to Consider Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

resumeIf you have never invested in your career via having your resume or LinkedIn profile professionally written, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Sometimes it takes going down the path of applying for positions and not landing any interviews – or having a trusted college or professional recruiter tell you in confidence that it is your resume that may be holding you back – for you realize there is an actual ROI. However, more and more professionals are avoiding those uncomfortable situations by being proactive and planning their job transitions well in advance. I receive a lot of calls asking me about the value of having a resume professionally written.

The bottom line is when you retain and invest in your career, your resume writer becomes part of your professional support system, and you might be surprised by the benefits that can deliver. A really good, experienced and certified writer can:

  • Help you by properly diagnosing the core problems you might be experiencing in your job search and dispel any areas you might have misdiagnosed so you do not inadvertently sabotage yourself in your job search.
  • Help you identify your core motivations and crystallize your focus and goals.
  • Create marketing documents for you that will help you land more interviews that align with your goals.
  • Help you by stepping up the quality of your presentation which will improve potential employers perception of you and increase your value in their eyes; in other words, make you more money.
  • A good resume writer can be the strongest ally, professional sounding board, and positive support in your core circle when times of transition are most critical. A good resume writer’s baseline of perspective is very accurate.
  • It goes without saying that a professionally written resume gives you a distinct edge and advantage when working to naturally rise above your competition.

A few circumstances that come to mind when you should seriously consider investing in a professional (certified) resume writer include:

  • When you are applying for government positions and filling out “KSAs.”
  • When you are changing industries or attempting to move up in position.
  • When you have any challenges in your job search that are really concerning you.
  • When you need an edge. Generally, investing in a professionally designed resume ends up paying for itself and actually yields a bigger payoff. In many cases, having your resume professionally written is also tax deductible (check with your CPA).

If you look at my case studies here – you will see that quite often my clients write me to share they gained huge surges in income, among other benefits. Of course, every case is unique, but the odds are in your favor that this is a wise business investment in most any case.

When would it not be appropriate to retain a certified resume writer? If you really and truly don’t know what you wish to do next. A career coach is probably a better investment as they can help you identify your core skills and map out a direction.

Executive Resume Tips: Five Common Resume Mistakes

I see it too many times: Brilliant, forward-thinking executives who miss out on fabulous job opportunities just because their resume wasn’t working for them like it should!

A resume is no place to cut corners on your executive job search. That’s like going on a first date with someone you really like without getting all cleaned up. Yikes!

Here are five common executive resume mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: It’s Too Generalized

Executives must be able to communicate precisely what it is they bring to the table.

Here is a quick tip on getting specific: What is the ONE key area where you really shine? Is it your industry (if you plan to stay in it), or is it a function, or a process? Once you have that written down, then write down your next two greatest strengths.

Are these keywords right at the top of your resume? They should be.

Mistake #2: It’s Too Long

Is your resume more than two pages? Under certain circumstances, a three-page resume is acceptable (and of course a CV can be as long as you like), but generally, you are better served by limiting your resume to no longer than two pages.

Mistake #3: It’s Too Garbled

Word economy is extremely important when it comes to writing an executive resume. Do you have a long list of bullet points under your job from the 90’s? Was the position you held at that time about four levels below where you are at now? If the answer is yes, that’s a big red flag.

Perception is everything and you really want your potential employer to see you as the leader you are now, not the manager you once were.

Mistake #4: It’s Too Plain

Have you looked at a few samples of executive-level resumes? How does yours measure up? Boxes, arrows and even small charts and graphs that demonstrate your accomplishments are quick, compelling, and effective strategies that garner positive attention.

Have you ever looked at a credentialed, experienced resume writer’s website and seen the testimonials about how executives couldn’t get an interview until a certified executive resume writer redesigned their resume? It works and it’s a wise (and often tax deductible) investment!

Mistake #5: It’s Too Boring

One of the most important things your resume should convey is your accomplishments. They need to be quantified, short, and highly compelling!

This is a tough one for most executives. Even resume writers admit they would be hard pressed to write their own resume!

Begin by using a simple story template that includes the following:

  • A problem you encountered
  • What you did to solve the problem
  • What happened as a result

These stories should detail what you are doing when you are at your very best and LOVING your job! This helps you to honor your strengths and aptitudes authentically and attract the right attention!

By avoiding these five mistakes you stand to secure more high-quality interviews and reach your executive career goals more quickly and easily!

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