Tag: executive resume writing (page 1 of 2)
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.
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.
If you’re an executive looking for trending advice on how to update your resume for maximum result, follow my executive resume writing tips below!
We give complimentary consultations. If you wish to schedule a time for us to chat about your next move, contact us by clicking on the ‘work with us’ link at the bottom right of our website.
It’s time for the 2018 TORI Awards, the resume writing industry’s most prestigious resume writing competition. I am excited to be a top-tier judge for the second year in a row. Thank you Career Directors International!
View past TORI Award winners and their award-winning resumes here.
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.
When creating your resume you need to write TO what you want versus FROM where you have been. Here are some secret tips from the vault that will help you to create a compelling executive resume:
Tip #1: Keywords and Summary Statements
One of the most important things to remember is that the keywords at the top of your resume create the reader’s initial perception of you by defining alignment and scale. You need to help the reader understand and appreciate your capabilities and career focus during a cursory glance.
For example, you could say:
Transformational Leader | Team Builder | Government Projects
But what do the keywords above really tell someone who does not know you? If you said, “Very little,” I agree! You have just used prime real estate to make a rather subtle ripple vs. a big splash.
Much more effective:
General Manager | Aviation and Aeronautics | Global Government Projects to $1 Billion | Transformational Technologies
Key points after that may include elements such as:
MBA, 9 Advanced Aeronautical Certifications | NASA Award Winner | Teams to 60 | 20+ Years’ Experience with World Class, Global Aerospace Companies
The second bunch of keywords supports your alignment and scale—and they “make your argument.”
Tip #2: Your Resume is Two Resumes in One
Your resume has to be effective during a cursory glance and also the deeper read—essentially, two resumes in one.
The first resume is the most important—it’s the snapshot … and YOU control where the eyes go. Your cursory-glance resume is laid over the entire resume—everything you color, bold, underline, or put in a call-out box is what the eyes are drawn to first—and thus it needs to include the following information for your reader to be “satisfied” at the end of 10 or 15 seconds. These little nuances are extremely powerful:
- Scale: Include things such as P&L to $600M or budgets to / industry or industries / company sizes / locations: global or national or regional or select: North and South America and Asia Pacific / Teams to 350 / Degrees | Board Positions / Certifications etc.
- Career Focus and Alignment: The bullets must support the direction you want to go in—not just the successes you have had.If you want to do turnaround work for large corporate divisions you will focus on all the turnarounds, reorganizations and transformations, and re-engineering of processes, setting a company up for sale, etc. Amplify your successes in the direction you want to go. Connect the dots for your reader.
- Front Load $$%% Metrics: It says to the reader, “Hey, I understand what you want to read because I am a leader.” It sets perception and builds confidence (in you). It also makes the conversation more fluid, creates excitement during the interview, and, at the first read, helps the reader picture you achieving similar results for them.
Tip #3: Design
The reason top executive resume writers pay so much attention to the balance and visual design of a client’s executive resume is because when the resume looks a little different, a little better, at the first glance the reader thinks, “Wow, this looks good … and a little different. So the content must be different too.” And thus, they stay on the page a little longer.
Well-organized information parsed out in sections and given enough white space between bullets, etc. has a similar effect. It makes the document easier to read and assimilate—thereby having a pleasing (not irritating) effect on the reader.
Most seasoned, credentialed resume writers “get” these points. Just like any other business investment in graphic design, professional photos, websites etc. “pays off,” investing in a professionally designed resume has the same effect—and usually pays for itself … though it often yields a return on investment many times over!
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!
One of my recent clients was a top construction superintendent. He had worked on dozens of important projects, across multiple industries, for many years and with an excellent track record. But he had been sending his resume to top recruiters and construction firms for 6 months with NO results.
I crafted a visually appealing resume for him that targeted the size and scope of position he wanted to focus on and to make a long story short, within 7 days of distributing his new resume, he had 4 interviews with top construction companies and an offer was already on the table at double his previous salary. That’s a 100% pay raise! And that is why professionals hire experienced, certified resume writers. The “career” ROI is often phenomenal.
You pay to earn project management certifications and construction degrees and give your all with years of on-the-job training. The above story is a perfect example of why you should not overlook the fact that mastering the art of communicating why someone should hire you is equally important.
Are you wondering what I did to this construction superintendent’s resume to grab the attention of the same key decision makers that had let his original resume slip by them just a few months prior? Here are some key steps I took that you can use too (and by the way – these tips are applicable whether you are writing a senior/executive, mid-level or entry-level/new grad construction resume):
- I focused his resume. The top keywords and opening statement of your resume need to be clearly defined and targeted to what you want. Opening statements should be no more than 4 to 5 lines deep. Your goal is to give your reader a framework of perspective about you that aligns with your career focus. Let’s say you are a PM targeting large construction projects. Your keyword at the top of your resume might read: Project management | Hospital & Healthcare | Projects to $200 Million
- I wrote to his ideal position. Find a few positions that represent your “ideal job.” Highlight all of the keywords and phrases in those positions that match and resonate with you. Now make sure those keywords are integrated into the top of the first page of your resume. I call this the mirroring technique. It is extremely effective.
- I told his story. In his career history section, I began by listing the company name, something positive about the company, their general size and scope, and why they hired him. Then I added some short stories targeting issues this superintendent overcame that ended up making the company more money in the form of more project work from happy clients. I topped this off by including call out boxes of selected projects for each company, highlighting that he had brought those projects in on time and within budget.
If you want or need to write your resume yourself, understanding these marketing elements is going to help you tremendously – not only understand your own real and perceived value, but to communicate your focus, strengths, achievements and branding to potential employers. You’ll quickly get their interest, beat your competition and ultimately land more interviews and offers for positions within the companies you truly want.
For more do-it-yourself executive resume help, here’s a free resource just for you…
Watch this 1-minute video to learn how to get more information on:
- 3 resume mistakes 90% of people make when they write their resumes themselves.
- What they are and how to easily fix them so you can get more interviews and bigger offers!
To your career success!
Effective executive resumes do several things at once:
- They are visually attractive. White space in the resume – or “real estate” – is respected. Big blocks of text that are hard to read through are omitted.
- At the top of the resume, key words are used precisely to help the reader understand the executive’s focus of direction, and any metrics are added to help the reader understand the size and scope of the executive’s profile. Examples include P&L to $200 Million, Fortune 500 Companies, Manage Teams to 300, Mergers and Acquisitions, Turnaround Expert, and so on…
- Parsing out leadership highlights in a box or sidebar builds on their executive snapshot – again, helping the reader understand their expertise in quick sound bites. They match up their skills TO the positions and titles they are focusing on moving into. Relevant keywords in their leadership snapshot may include things like: MBA, Total Years of Industry Expertise, Board Appointments, Awards, Certifications and even community highlights such as nonprofit committee positions.
- Charts and graphs are used in moderation to help add powerful visuals to their executive resume and can help to accent particular career successes. Colors – again, used in moderation – liven the document, creating an easier read, and solidifying branding by reinforcing an industry or position color. Examples include red for some sales and marketing or larger than life personalities, and blue and grey for healthcare executives.
- Under professional history, a story is well constructed and includes the size of the company and whether the executive was recruited, appointed or promoted. Bullets lead with results first, as this keeps the reader’s interest. Leading with something such as, “Improved customer service ratings 75% in 12 months,” becomes a powerful motivator to the reader; they want to keep reading to understand why. The executive has successfully communicated that they understand their value to potential companies, which heightens the reader’s confidence in them.
Crafting executive resumes is considered by many professional resume writers to be an art. And although executive resume writing is a component of an unregulated industry (the careers industry), top internationally certified advanced resume writing certifications can be earned through highly credible associations such as Career Directors International.