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Category: Executive Resumes & Cover Letters (page 1 of 7)

Quick Tip for Top Executives on Executive Resumes

The best executive resume writing tips in one quick, 3-minute video. Mary Elizabeth Bradford, The Career Artisan, addresses the top issue executives encounter when writing their own resume and shares the resume tips she uses in her practice.

quick-tips https://youtu.be/aG55kWqNFbc

Want more information on DIY resumes? Visit Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s Success Store at:  http://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/success-store.php

Interested in having Mary Elizabeth create your resume for you? Visit http://maryelizabethbradford.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call.

Selected as a Top Career Website

Excited to announce we have been selected as a Top Career Website on Career Igniter!

http://www.careerigniter.com/career-websites/

How Savvy CXO’s Tweak Their Resumes for Different Career Opportunities

One of the main challenges my CXO clients have is knowing WHAT to put in their resumes. This is why they will often have 5-page resumes that are crammed with everything they have ever done. When top achievers try to share all of their accomplishments, this is what happens!

The solution to this dilemma is to clearly identify what the end game is and then work backwards so that your resume is written to the industry and general position you want. For example: You are interested in COO or VP of Operations roles in mid-market growth companies that range in size from $500M and $1B in the technology services industry. This is a good scale that is not too broad and not too narrow.

Identifying your sweet spot generally ensures you will get what you want, are clear and direct from the beginning (this energy will radiate confidently out to all those you come in contact with during your transition) and will generally make your entire transition easier to manage and your results quicker.

Good executive resumes have keywords and snapshots at the top ½ of the first page that help the reader quickly understand your scope of abilities and your career focus. You can look at the resume samples page on my website for examples of this principle in action.

When you are targeting positions with slight variations in title and scope, first detail everything you know about the opportunity you want to tailor your resume to. A powerful but simple exercise is to highlight the keywords that are the main aspects of the position, then go back through and ascertain which of those keywords are a “match” for you. It could be all of them – in which case you could simply embed those new keywords, using them to accentuate the points about the opportunity that you are perfectly aligned with. Here is an example:

Original Example:

Chief Operating Officer, Vice President Global Operations | Technology Services

P&L to $1B | Teams to 500 | Fast Growth Mid-Market Companies

Augmented for a Specific Opportunity:

Chief Operating Officer | PE Backed, Rapid Growth Technology Services Companies | SAAS

P&L from $100M to $1B | Teams to 500 | M&A | Turnarounds

This is generally quick and easy to do and allows you to match your skills to mirror specific opportunities. Although this doesn’t require much effort on your part, it has a strong resonance with the reader because you reflect the qualities they are looking for – which creates more interest and intrigue.

There are times when you may feel it necessary to dig into the body of your resume to accentuate various strengths and achievements more clearly to align with your position of choice. However, I have found that the more clarity you have from the start regarding your driving motivators and what kinds of career opportunities you are looking for, the less you will encounter this issue because you will be naturally in alignment with what best suits you from the beginning.

60+ Most Popular Job Search Articles of 2015

JobMobJobMob has thoughtfully compiled a list of the best job search advice for 2015! You’ll find my article, “Executive Job Interviews and Money: The Secret to Landing Bigger Job Offers” listed among those of some of the top career professionals in the industry such as Jason Alba (JibberJobber.com), Marc Miller (CareerPivot), J.T. O’Donnell (CareerHMO), Martin Yate (Knock ’em Dead book series), and Undercover Recruiter. Enjoy!

The Top Job Search Articles of 2015

The Executive Resume: 3 Advanced Tips to Help You Create a Powerful Marketing Document

resumeWhen 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.

Bonus Tip

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!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford Honored as 2015 Dual TORI Award Winner

toriThank you to Career Directors International for honoring me with 2 TORI (Toast of the Resume Industry) Awards in the categories of Best Executive Resume and Best Hospitality Resume.  View the winners on my resume samples page!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford Nominated for Multiple TORI Awards

toriI just found out I have been nominated for 4 TORI Awards through Career Directors International in the categories of Best Executive Resume, Best Cover Letter, Best Accounting Resume and Best Hospitality Resume. Wow, what an honor! Thank you to the CDI Judging Panel (my peers!).

How to Match Your Resume to the Job You Really Want: The Mirroring Technique

mirroringOne of the major reasons resume writers—or any writers for that matter—are in business is because it’s simply so hard for people to be objective when writing about themselves or their businesses.

It’s for this very reason you may find it tricky to customize your own resume for the position you are going after. To make it easier, here are three tips that you can use to “tweak” your resume properly. I call it “The Mirroring Technique.”

Tip #1: Find Your Focus. This is an obvious one, but there is a trick to it. So often, professions only think their resume is “focused,” when in reality, they are generalizing. I believe this is because many professionals believe (incorrectly) that they should not focus their job search goals too narrowly for fear of losing out on possible open positions. You can exacerbate this misguided belief by limiting your job search to job boards for executive jobs and positions. Job boards represent about 1 percent of actual jobs that are available and are awash with competition.

The first thing I do when working with my clients is have them complete my Career Success Blueprint™. This gets them hyper-focused on exactly what they want and really understanding where the low-hanging fruit is for them. This information, now on paper, also gets them out of “job board” head space and helps direct their energies to thoughts like, “what exactly do I really want and what are some of my primary job search motivators (i.e. money, geographic, and industry parameters)?” When they get crystal clear on these important components, then and only then can they take the next step—which is to write their resume and formulate the right job search plan. The same is true for you.

Tip #2: Shift Your Perspective. You must approach the information contained in your resume through the eyes of potential employers. In other words, you are going to want to write some things about your career history that will probably not be applicable to your ideal position. Shift your perspective by taking into consideration the position requirements that you know of and, most importantly, the results you can bring to the table: your quantifiable achievements.

For example, if you have a background of experience in operations AND marketing and you are focusing on a marketing director position, you will most likely want to minimize your operations experience and draw forth only the experience relevant to your goals.

Tip #3: Use “The Mirroring Technique.” This is an extension of shifting your perspective. Take an example of your ideal job from any relevant job description using a job aggregator like indeed.com. Next, highlight ALL the keywords and phrases used in the job description that communicate the ideal candidate and also match your skills and strengths. Now weave those keywords into the first page of your resume,  essentially “mirroring” what they are asking for.

So often we say to ourselves mentally, “Oh, this position fits me perfectly!” and yet we fail to take that rather simple next step, which is to and make sure we are communicating this in our resume. By using the mirroring technique, it becomes quite easy!

Let me elaborate on the technique of using a sample position from indeed.com—and how powerful this little exercise truly is. Let’s say, that you are interested in a VP of Sales position for a mid-size technology company. Using those search keywords, in about 10 or 15 minutes you will have found three or four position descriptions that sound like a great match for you. It doesn’t matter where these positions are located or even what companies they are with. You are looking for descriptions that excite and energize you and you will know you have found a great match by the emotions they evoke in you. Cut and paste each of these descriptions into a Word document and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that match you. Most likely you will begin to see a pattern of keywords in each position. Simply take and use these keywords and phrases in your resume. You can use them in your showcase keywords at the top of your resume, in your opening statement, and in your bulleted list of core competencies.

Bonus Tip: I like to use a lot of keywords at the very beginning of my resumes so that the reader can (at a glance) get a pretty good idea of what my client is all about in just a few seconds. By using very clear communication at the very top of your resume—which also can be called “good branding”—not only will your resume clearly and powerfully communicate your career objectives and expertise, but you can subtly tweak your keywords to “mirror” a particular industry or position. For example, let’s say you have both start-up and turnaround experience. “Technology Start-Ups” might be one of your keyword phrases at the top of your resume. If you are reaching out to a mid-size technology firm that you know needs a turnaround expert, you can replace “Technology Start-Ups” with “Turnaround Expert.”

Using the simple techniques above should increase your interviews and interest from potential employers.

I always approach any tips I provide you from the perspective of the job seeker going direct to employers versus waiting for the perfect job found on a job board. Remember, almost ALL jobs (more than 85 percent) are not publicly advertised. So no matter what your industry is, or what stage you are at in your career, it makes total sense for you to get your information to the key decision-makers, companies, and industries that you are most interested in. You might be surprised at their show of interest in YOU and your initiative! If you are ready to learn more about how easy it is to tap into the hidden job market, you can check out my home study program at www.job-searchsystem.com.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford Featured in TIME Magazine

Time MagazineCheck out where I share what contact information you should include on your executive resume.

5 Things I Have Learned as a Career Coach

successLooking back, I have probably coached and written resumes for over 4000 executives in all kinds of industries. Here are a few things I have learned along the way that I hope you will benefit from.

Most professionals:

  1. Worry about things that never happen.

    Most clients I work with have shared numerous worries they thought would hold them back, like their age, too little or too much salary, the economy, a shrinking industry, too many jobs in the last 10 years, and being fired or laid off (just to name a few). I am happy to report that these same executives went to on achieve – and in many cases exceed – their career goals. How did they do it? Usually through a combination of the following:

  • Education that the reality of their concerns was often overemphasized to the point of being counterproductive.
  • Obstacles were minimized or eradicated through a well-planned marketing strategy.
  • An expertly crafted resume showcased their strengths and was in sync with their goals.
  1. Believe they can’t successfully change industries.

    I love to hear the excitement in my clients’ voices when they are shown that successfully changing industries is more about their plan, their resume, their networking approach, and they coaching they receive than their experience!

  1. Feel they interview very well, when they don’t.

    “Just help me land the interviews and I will do the rest.” I have heard that dozens of times from seasoned professionals that made one simple error: They mistook their amazing charisma and people skills for great interview skills. Believe me, there is a big difference. I have seen firsthand how just answering one question the “wrong way” quickly leads to a lost candidacy.

  1. Can’t write an interest-generating resume.

    There are multiple reasons for this, such as:

  • The use of industry jargon (resumes need to be written with an audience of at least 5 different departments in mind).
  • The inability to write objectively.
  • Failure to craft a resume from a marketing perspective.
  • Writing about what was accomplished and not what happened as a result.
  1. Didn’t know how much career coaching and marketing would help them, until they used it.

    I can personally relate. I didn’t realize how much a business coach would help me until I hired one. It’s respectable to want to do things for ourselves – and there is a beneficial degree of learning in it – but if you have ever played sports and had an excellent coach, or studied under a dynamic teacher, then you have already experienced the value that a true professional can bring and the many ways they can help you to reach your full potential.

I hope if you have identified with any of these points, it will help you to quickly and easily take action to shore up areas for improvement. I promise this will result in a much more enjoyable and fruitful job search for you!

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