In this first of my 3-part series, I’ll outline the initial strategies you need to get under your belt to craft a top interview-generating, brand-driven executive resume.
Some new thinking on how a resume should look and read has come to the forefront. To take advantage of Executive Resume Writing 2.0, you need to get your head around and embrace these new career marketing strategies.
A caveat: Keep in mind that every job seeker is unique. The strategies that will work best for you may vary somewhat from those I outline here, depending upon your unique situation, job target, and other circumstances.
A great resume is all about differentiating you from everyone else competing for the same job. The purpose of a resume, and your mission, is to showcase the best you have to offer, align it with the imperatives of your target job, and package it all in a concise, vivid, and compelling way that will get you noticed and help you land faster.
Many factors converge and need to be weighed, balanced, and strategized to breathe life into an otherwise flat, commonplace document and make you come alive on the page (or the screen).
Before presenting the strategies, the following assumptions are implicit:
→ You have a clear job target. If your resume isn’t comprehensively directed toward a specific kind of position, it won’t align with the qualifications and requirements hiring decision-makers are looking for. A generic, unfocused resume probably won’t land you anywhere.
When writing your resume, take into account any information you can get about the job you’re targeting. Job descriptions, readily available online at sites like SimplyHired and Indeed, are great resources.
→ Your resume must be flawless. Grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistent fonts and formatting are unacceptable. Formatting should be attractive and easy to read. And, of course, the content must be entirely truthful.
→ Your resume must be no more than 2 pages (with some exceptions, such as doctors, educators, scientists, etc. who may have extensive CVs). With so many hiring decision-makers reviewing resumes on BlackBerries, the need for brevity is even more apparent and critical.
You’ll be gathering a lot of information for your resume. Initially, don’t worry that you won’t be able to fit it all in 2 pages. Nothing will go to waste. Excess information can be used for collateral supporting documents and/or interviews, and the entire resume development process serves as a terrific confidence-builder and energizer to prep you for your executive job search.
Following is the inside track on getting to the meat and presenting the essentials in a powerful career marketing document that will turn heads:
Branding is the Great Differentiator
To put it succinctly, personal branding distinguishes and communicates the value you offer that is different from everyone else. Your brand is your unique combination of pivotal strengths, talents, drivers, and passion for your work – your brand attributes. The things you rely on and tap into every day to benefit your companies and those you work with.
Hiring decision-makers reviewing resumes are looking for good fit, so chemistry is very important to them. Branding creates chemistry. It also makes for interesting reading, unlike the possibly hundreds of similar, lifeless resumes the reviewer may have in front of her.
With the high cost of hiring, a branded resume helps the reader pre-determine whether you’ll be a good fit in terms of leadership and management style, how you get things done, and what you can always be counted on to deliver. Personal or leadership branding is essentially a pre-qualifier that provides insight into your potential value to your next employer.
Branding is a relatively new trend in strategic resume writing and not that many job seekers have embraced it. Take advantage of it before it mainstreams.
When I’m working with my executive clients on their resumes, we go through my system of brand-mining questions and have a discussion that helps us both pinpoint her or his unique promise of value.
For advice on how to develop and shape a marketable career brand, see Why Personal Branding in Your Executive Resume Makes You Easier to Hire, and the related posts at the bottom of the article.
Here’s the rest of the series:
and Part 3 – Putting Together Your Executive Branded Resume