As an executive, if you want to up-level your executive title, make more money, or land a position at a specific, top-tier company such as Apple or Google, then the first thing you need to do is focus your executive resume on what you want vs. where you have been.
- First things first … make sure your target industry/company is stable, growing, and in general, has a good long-term economic outlook.
- Next, find two to four relative job descriptions that match and resonate with the title and industry you are focused on. Then, highlight the keywords and phrases in each position that you resonate with. Pay attention to running themes and patterns in each of the position requirements.
- Now frame out your executive resume with these positions as your touchstone and start to build out your keywords and taglines based on what your aligned position descriptions are calling for, and your core leadership strengths and attributes.
- Your summary statement should only be four to six lines deep and mirror the top strengths being asked for in your ideal job description. For example, if your ideal job lists “a strategic leader” who “has led turnarounds” and “has heavy expertise in fast growth organizations and M&A’s” as the top three qualifications, THAT is what you need to center your summary statement around (providing you have all of those skills, of course). As a top executive, you have a lot of skills and strengths; the challenge is mirroring what your next role is asking for.
These are the four most critical initial steps to solving the majority of executive resume issues, especially when it comes to “knowing what to put in and what to leave out.” Essentially, begin at the end and work backwards.
Now for the less-talked-about psychology behind these actions: If you are indeed interested in a company such as Apple or Google (the examples I used above), go to their websites as part of this executive exercise; look at the CXO players, their website colors, the keywords they use over and over again—and let the feel of the culture and the website really sink in. Mirror that back to them in the form of your communication, both written and verbal.
This is simply leadership and marketing 101 applied to your executive job transition. It is not something often spoken about from executive resume writers—but it should be! It’s truly the X factor in your ability to take a leadership approach in your 100K+ job search. Just like the other executive leadership initiatives and positions you have held in your career, when you manage your executive job search you are bringing everything you are into it—your mental outlook, your emotions, and of course, your focus of alignment and marketing collateral. You want everything to vibrate at the highest level possible and peg initial impressions as favorably as you possibly can. Where it gets set in motion tends to continue in that direction at the higher level.
That is how my executive clients are able to propel themselves to greater heights at an accelerated rate. They make it look effortless, though in-depth planning and preparation goes on behind the scenes!
PART 2: IMPLEMENTATION
In Part 1 of this article (which I strongly recommend you read if you haven’t already) I shared that your primary objective for utilizing LinkedIn is threefold:
- Connect with key players.
- Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, you will have already aligned your profile with the opportunities that are most relevant to your talents, skills, and preferences—and crucial to your happiness and job satisfaction.
- Use LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.
Let’s break down how these top three steps can be achieved:
Join Groups in Order to Connect with Key Players
There are tens of thousands of groups and group forums on LinkedIn. Forums give you an instant audience in a particular industry, networking group, alumni group, recruiter group, company, or geographic area! Currently, you can join up to 50 groups.
Search for groups on LinkedIn using the search bar at the top of your profile, and pick those groups that are most relevant to you. If you are a CFO in the airline industry, you might use keywords including CFO, Airline Executives, Financial+Aviation, etc…
Once you are accepted into a group, you can pose a question, post a news or blog article, or check out new career opportunities in the jobs section of the group.
But your most important priority, once you have joined LI groups, is to scroll through the member listing and invite key players and recruiters to join your network! Your reason for doing so? Because you are both members of the same group!
Why do this? Because you need to be in someone’s first-, second-, or third-degree network if you’re going to show up in their search results when they are looking for someone like you! In just minutes a week, you can check out the member listings for your groups and email select members to quickly and strategically grow your network.
To do so, check their profile for an email, then click the connect button and choose the “Other” option. Your message to whomever you wish to invite is simple: We’re in XYZ group together and I want to invite you to join my network! No need to include a greeting, since LinkedIn does that for you.
In the event that you can’t find an email, you can also directly message that person and ask them to connect with you or ask a fellow group member to introduce you. A third way (and the way I do it) is to check off the “Colleague” button so you can send them an invite directly.
Some will say you must know the person to use the “Colleague” option (including LinkedIn); however, I am of the school of thought that if you and I share a group together and I want to invite you to join my network, the fact that LinkedIn forces me to say you are a colleague in order for me to send you an invite is more of an “oh well, okay” situation. But that is me and just my personal opinion. What you decide to do is up to you and what you feel most comfortable with.
If the group you join is job search-related—or you are joining groups outside of your industry and you are concerned that you might inadvertently reveal the identification of your current company—you will want to hide the group icon so that it does not show up on your profile. You can easily do this in the group preferences settings once you are accepted into the group.
Become a Thought Leader Using LinkedIn
Wondering how to use the LinkedIn Activity Feed at the top of your home page? Articles you can post regarding those things that are relative to thought leadership include:
Info on a great career/leadership book you just read.
- A picture of you with the keynote speaker at a conference or seminar you recently attended.
- Links to one of your blog posts or an interesting career-related article you just read or were quoted in.
- A photo of your volunteer service—running a 5K for a cause, for example -or promotion of any other cause about which you are passionate.
Once or twice a month is all you need to keep you top of mind with your network and solidify your branding and professional perception.
Bonus Tip On Privacy
We all assume some risk when we put our information online. You can adjust who sees your network and activity feeds in the LinkedIn settings section of your profile. For example, if you are concerned about your employer being able to see what you are doing on LinkedIn or knowing about your connections, simply set these to private.
There are many other ways to use LinkedIn to benefit your business, career, or consulting business. These are just a few. Find more information and step-by-step strategies here.