Starting an Executive Job Search For the First Time in Years? Here’s What to Do

Businessman in crisis facing different roads
If you’ve always been recruited, or jobs just “found” you in the past, you might find things have changed.
You’ll now face an increasingly competitive battlefield in the race for a new executive job – and here’s why.

After the economic ups and downs of the past 10+ years, many executives have gotten serious about job search, taking the time to market themselves with a carefully constructed brand message on social media. At the same time, they’ve become more aware of what works on a resume and what doesn’t, especially in a crowded market.

As a result, your executive job search now looks much different than 10 or even 5 years ago – and putting out a single-page resume or a weak LinkedIn Profile won’t suffice.

Read on for the new and upcoming reality of executive job search:

1 – Executive resumes now require a thorough exercise in personal branding.

Still adding new jobs to that old resume, pushing down older positions and making it longer? It’s time to upgrade. Executive resume trends have changed so much that you might not realize how to pull out all the stops to showcase your skills.

Powerful language, graphic elements, and concise success stories now take center stage (as you can see in this example of a Chief Revenue Officer resume), enabling you to  position yourself at an executive (not mid-career!) level.

Devote time to gathering achievements from past positions, adding metrics to frame your results. Note the budgets you’ve managed, initiatives you’ve led, and promotions earned, as well as the accolades behind them. You can even pull in “sound bite” quotes from your references to further emphasize your value proposition.

No matter what you’ve achieved, you must distill accomplishments into short, potent sentences – because recruiters aren’t willing to navigate 6+ pages in their quest for a leader.

2 – LinkedIn should be a strong tool in your job-hunting arsenal.

Ignoring LinkedIn because you don’t know how to use it? Barely filled in your Profile? Don’t wait any longer, because it’s one of the first places employers will be checking you out.

Get your LinkedIn Profile updated as soon as possible, adding achievements and career wins that represent your executive status. Write a powerful, relevant Headline and Summary to position yourself at the right level.

Learn how to join and use Groups, Status Updates, and other facets of the site, without waiting for the “right” time. (Hint: there is no right time.)

Accept connections from other LinkedIn users and issue a few of your own. Be careful not to show your frustration with social media during the learning curve, as this will brand you in a negative light.

3 – Recruiters can be helpful – but you’ll need to pay it forward.

If you haven’t taken a recruiter’s call in many years, it’s time to reconsider. There’s a continual need for talented leaders who can guide strategic decisions, take projects offshore, implement cutting-edge technology, transform sales organizations, and otherwise mentor the next generation of executives.

Picking up the phone and passing along credible names to a recruiter can be a good move, especially if you want to be among those courted for a new role. Staying on the headhunter’s radar might pay off in both the near and long-term future.

When you’re discussing opportunities with a recruiter, maintain your best professional demeanor; remember that they’re working for the client corporation, NOT you. While a recruiter can act as a job-search partner, they’ll also pass along any negative impressions of your communication style and flexibility as a candidate.

4 – Your executive network is more important than ever.

By staying active in your industry with highly visible positions on Boards and in professional associations, you’ll be more likely to become recommended to (or meet) a recruiter or business owner who needs your expertise. In fact, you’ll gain near-immediate credibility by volunteering for a position or speaking engagement within an industry association or group.

You can also elevate your reputation as a thought leader by publishing content or white papers for industry journals, or even on LinkedIn. You can gain blog or social media followers by promoting and commenting on similar articles, particularly those that align with your leadership brand.

5 – Accept changes in your industry – and in the job search.

Your line of work or industry may have undergone substantial changes in the past few years, making your desired role harder to find or difficult to sustain at the same salary level. Here’s where looking at tangent industries, transferable skills, and new professional contacts will serve you better than trying to re-create your job search of years past.

If you’re not sure why the phone fails to ring or recruiters seem to ignore your queries, spend time asking valued colleagues for feedback, or searching LinkedIn to gauge your ROI against the competition.

You might uncover alternatives to the roles you planned to pursue, or a slightly different industry in which to concentrate your efforts.

Continue to spread the word about your expertise through social media and by making high-value contacts, rather than limiting your activity to job posting responses.

In summary, it’s not your father’s job search anymore.

Your digital identity, reputation, adaptability, and networking efforts – not to mention your executive resume – have all taken on considerably more weight in the past few years. You’ll get better results by adapting your executive job search tactics accordingly.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

 

LinkedIn Resume Assistant: Will It Help You Create a Strong Resume?

LinkedIn Resume Assistant

It’s here! LinkedIn’s new Artificial Intelligence-powered resume tool, Resume Assistant, has rolled out to Office 365 users.

By promising to ease the challenge of writing your resume, this new capability has caught the attention of many job hunters.

However, Resume Assistant is much like any tool purported to streamline your job search: it works best when you see it as another way to improve the process, not as a means of handing off the process itself.

Here are the pros and cons of using LinkedIn Resume Assistant to develop a compelling resume:

1 – LinkedIn Resume Assistant can cut down on your keyword research efforts.

Keywords dials businessman on computer .When you’re embarking on a job hunt, gathering keywords from job postings is an important step for your resume. By quickly generating a list of skills and other relevant terms found in LinkedIn jobs and other Profiles, Resume Assistant can help make this research more manageable.

A caveat:  many LinkedIn users fail to fully populate the site with valuable information, so you might get repetitive and mundane results (such as Operations Management for a COO or Budgeting for an Accountant).

A look at the Profiles of your most skilled colleagues or connections could yield better insights. Don’t forget to use other job boards, too, such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor.

2 – LinkedIn Resume Assistant will appear automatically if you open an Office 365 Word resume template.

And this is NOT a good thing. Rather than trying to populate a basic template, you’ll fare better with a customized presentation. Think of the reasons you’d tailor any important business document to the subject, target audience, and purpose. Your resume is of equal, if not greater importance!

When you limit yourself to the resume templates found in the Office 365 application, you’re showing employers a lack of imagination and resourcefulness. See How to Write a Standout Executive Resume for additional ways to distinguish yourself on a resume.

3 – LinkedIn Resume Assistant helps research competing LinkedIn Profiles for you.

LinkedIn_investigationIf you’re not already using LinkedIn to assess your job-seeking competition, you’re missing an important exercise. Not only will LinkedIn research help you gauge whether your career goals are realistic, you’ll also be able to identify unique capabilities for use on your resume.

Resume Assistant will match your job title to that of similar LinkedIn users, and show you snippets of their work history. It will also generate detail from LinkedIn Jobs that align with your experience and career stature. The idea is to jog your memory and prompt you to write keyword-specific resume content, enabling you to compete among professionals at the same level.

4 – LinkedIn Resume Assistant is NOT intended to encourage copying.

No matter how you look at it, taking someone else’s resume or LinkedIn content is plagiarism, and LinkedIn takes this very seriously (read their Copyright Policy, complete with procedures for filing a claim).

If you’re stumped for ideas, look at job postings or even resume samples for inspiration. Often, you’ll see achievements or projects that will remind you of your own success stories. The idea in using Resume Assistant is the same:  you may have forgotten to note important facets of your work, such as the size of teams you’ve managed or new initiatives you’ve led.

This information is presented to help you recall important detail from past positions, education, or volunteer experience, NOT to claim it as your own.

5 – LinkedIn Resume Assistant won’t help you brand yourself.

ex_pickme2This is probably the biggest objection most marketers have when it comes to Resume Assistant: a truly powerful and effective resume should distinguish you from others, not enable you to mimic them.

Want to make employers sit up straight when they get your resume? Then spend time on both keyword research from Resume Assistant and the hard work of real resume writing, where you develop power-packed success stories as proof of your performance.

If you find this part difficult, try a classic storytelling method such as Challenge-Action-Result (CAR). This technique helps you describe career wins by noting the Challenge or situation you faced, the Actions taken to resolve it, and the Result or business benefit to your employer.

You’ll see examples of achievement statements, quantifiable metrics, and powerful brand messaging in this sample CEO resume.

So, take time to check out LinkedIn Resume Assistant to see what it will show you for keywords and competitive research.

Spend even MORE time writing about your own personal qualities, strengths, and accomplishments for a resume that truly gets results.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

 

Executive Resume Trends 2018: What Will Make You Stand Out?

resume trends 2018

No matter how you job hunt in 2018, you’ll STILL be asked for an executive resume – and the competition will be fierce.

Even if you use social media to convey work history or tap into great opportunities in your network, your resume remains the cornerstone of a well-planned job search.

By incorporating these key elements into a fresh, competitively designed executive resume, you’ll stand out among other leaders in 2018:

2018 Resume Trend: A Clear Focus on Your Passion.

What drives you? What type of work or challenges make you excited to come into the office? How do you inspire passion in your teams or customers? This is the kind of information employers seek about you – and it should land on the front page of your executive resume.

It’s no longer enough to state that you’ve directed teams of a particular size or managed millions in budget. Recruiters are looking for your ability to motivate teams, influence Boards, and shape customer reactions.

If you’re unsure how to convey this information, use these questions to kickstart the process:

  • What distinguishes you from the person who preceded you at your company?
  • How did you get started in this line of work?
  • What should employers know about you almost immediately?
  • How do you select and motivate the right kind of talent?
  • What legacy do you want to leave at the end of your career?

Next, take your findings and write a brief statement that sums up your answer, as shown in these examples for a Chief Technology Officer or consumer products industry Board member:

Lifelong technology evangelist and innovator commercializing profitable, disruptive products

Board member with strategic outlook on fast-paced CPG sectors

2018 Resume Trend:  A Quick-Read Synopsis of Your Career Wins.

Like this TORI award-winning resume for a Chief Revenue Officer, you can incorporate a short listing of achievements that demonstrate career highs. Here, a selection of quantifiable accomplishments are listed under the heading: Generated #1 Revenue & Customer Churn Metrics for 16 Straight Quarters.

You can easily build your own list of notable success stories by condensing significant achievements down into areas of strength, such as Sales Growth or Employee Retention.

Next, add metrics that demonstrate your expertise (45% Year-Over-Year Gains or 98% Team Engagement Scores). By providing quantifiable figures, you’ll show leadership-worthy detail that backs up your value proposition to employers.

2018 Resume Trend:  Use of Symbols & Headlines.

There’s more than one way to demonstrate your fitness for a specific industry or career level, as shown in this example of a CEO and CEO resume in the healthcare field (see the full CEO-COO resume here). To describe his area of focus, a simple symbol and headline noting his specialties were incorporated at the top of the document:

COO_CEO_Healthcare_Resume_Example_top.png

Resume headlines are one of the best ways to convey salient points of your background, while preserving space for other relevant details.

To create headlines for your executive resume, jot down short sentences or phrases that encapsulate what you do best, such as Driving Growth in Americas Region. You can also describe yourself in third-person, as shown in the example above (Highly Engaged Leader With Passion for Business Vision).

Don’t resort to boring section titles! Instead, insert headlines like Examples of Technology Leadership to introduce your achievements.

2018 Resume Trend:  A Concise Summary of Your Brand.

Like any marketing tool, your executive resume must drive home your point – fast. If you’re still using a long and winding Summary of Qualifications, start over and jot down just a few of your core strengths and achievements.

Use this data to rework the top part of your resume into a brief (and power-packed) set of brand statements. Now, you’ll be able to provide employers a quick glimpse into your executive value, saving time and compelling them to read further.

Not convinced? See how quickly you can digest the following executive resume summaries:

Accomplished technology executive with extensive experience in designing, development, and implementation of high-performance technology solutions. Proven ability to bring the benefits of IT to solve business issues while delivering application and infrastructure performance. Experienced in cross-functional team management, problem-solving, contract negotiations, and crisis management. Well-rounded infrastructure, software and data management, application development, IT financial reporting, security, and project management skills.

Vs. this shorter, tighter version:

Strategic, resourceful IT leader behind cost-controlled business improvements – upgrading infrastructure, ensuring right-fit applications, optimizing network operations, eliciting top vendor performance, and building lean, skilled teams. Strong financial and budget expertise; builds viable justification for IT investments.

As you can see, your executive resume summary must be a quick read, supplying just enough data to avoid losing the reader.

2018 Resume Trend: A Short, Powerful Story of Your Achievements.

Face it, no one has the time or interest to read a 7-page novel of your accomplishments. By culling success stories to hard-hitting statements, you’ll show employers the ability to focus on relevant points.

Most executive resumes can fit squarely into 2 or perhaps 3 pages. If you decide to offer additional detail, make sure your document is easy to navigate. As an example, this CEO resume uses a first-page summary-only strategy to introduce the candidate, with subsequent pages providing additional details.

If you struggle to condense your story into a tightly written executive resume, try reworking parts of your history into “sound bites” that capture the actions you took and the end results, using these examples for inspiration:

Delivered 42% year-over-year profit by focusing manufacturing teams on top 8 product lines and rationalizing underperforming products.

Exceeded profit records up to 34% and reached peak satisfaction scores from new relationship building efforts among Fortune 500 customers.

2018 Resume Trend:  Using Color to Set Off Important Data.

I’ve said this many times, but it bears repeating: black-and-white documents heavy with detail are easier to skim if you’ve added a bit of color.

Your executive resume needn’t employ flashing lights and neon green, however, in order to make your point. Step into the use of color by altering your resume headlines with a subtle blue or shading a few areas for emphasis, as shown in this example of  a Finance leadership resume:

VP_Finance_Sample_Resume_P1.jpg

By easing the navigation required to digest the most notable parts of your work history and success stories, you can quickly set off important points, allowing recruiters to see snapshots of value that illustrate your readiness for a new position.

In summary, there’s numerous ways to restructure your executive resume for a clear, attention-getting message. 

Make 2018 a banner year by capturing your personal brand in an innovative, content-rich executive resume.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

 

Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search

LinkedIn Publishing PlatformIf you haven’t tried LinkedIn’s Publishing platform for your job search, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to promote your personal brand and leadership skills to employers.

There’s no limit to the topics or volume of posts allowed per user, and with an international recruiting audience ready at your virtual feet, there’s no reason to hold back!

Still hesitant? Consider these near-instant benefits to your job search from publishing: Continue reading “Why You’ll Benefit From Using LinkedIn Publishing for Your Job Search”

Executives, Are You Rejecting LinkedIn Connection Requests?

Declining requests to connect because you “don’t know” other users? It’s time to reconsider.

LinkedIn isn’t a tell-all social media site (like Facebook, where you’re often judged by the quality of the company you keep).

Instead, think of the site as a massive, ongoing business networking meeting, where the more people you reach, the more exposure you’ll receive as a leader and executive job seeker. 

Online networking can be a boon for your executive job search – and the sooner you change your approach, the faster you could land a new job. Here are 5 reasons to quit rejecting connection requests on LinkedIn, particularly if you’re in the market for a new leadership opportunity: Continue reading “Executives, Are You Rejecting LinkedIn Connection Requests?”

How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO

LinkedIn Profile SEOIn case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn now has 500+ million members – establishing itself as a hotbed of job search activity, with recruiters pursuing candidates and job seekers vying for attention from hiring decision-makers.

With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO strategies in order to be found for a choice job.

Here are the best ways to boost your findability on LinkedIn and optimize your Profile for SEO, including search algorithm strategy and keyword adjustments: Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO”

A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline

How to write your LinkedIn HeadlineFar from being just a placeholder, your LinkedIn Profile Headline has an important job to do.

If adjusted to market you effectively, it can represent your personal brand and become an online promotional workhorse.

The most highly indexed part of your Profile (next to your name), your Headline allows recruiters and employers to locate you, based on the search terms or keywords you specify… so if you’ve filled in only part of the Headline or let LinkedIn populate it with your current job title (the default value), you could be missing out on valuable traffic to your Profile. Don’t let that happen!

Instead, use as many of the 120 characters available in your Headline – ensuring that it represents your career level and personal brand, while distinguishing you from your competition. Try the following formula when you’re stumped for an effective LinkedIn Headline that leverages your industry expertise, achievements, and keywords: Continue reading “A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline”

Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?

Falling for these resume myths
No matter how much advice is published on the subject, some myths still circulate about the best way to write your resume.
Fortunately, a lot has changed in resume writing and job search – and you can benefit from these new trends.

For example, you might have been told to keep your resume to a specified length or to always exclude certain types of information. Given how much has changed in the job market, many of these “rules” have fallen by the wayside.

Take a look at the longstanding myths and misconceptions about resume writing, then see which of these apply to your own resume: Continue reading “Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?”

5 Ways to Crush the Competition in Your Executive Job Search

How to win executive job

Moving up to the corner office – or seeking a change in your executive role?

Start leveraging new practices and trends to outpace your job-seeking competition as soon as possible. 

A strong social media presence, keyword-rich executive resume, cutting-edge search methods, and intensive follow-up are now required to land a choice leadership position.

Here are 5-must-know executive job search, LinkedIn, and resume trends you’ll need to win your next leadership opportunity:

Continue reading “5 Ways to Crush the Competition in Your Executive Job Search”

3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume

Want to distinguish your leadership brand among competing candidates?

Then ditch the boring language you’ve seen on other executive resumes.

Just because other resumes (professionally created or self-written) employ a blend of monotonous, overused words doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

Shake things up and inject some power into your personal brand message by refusing to add these mundane descriptors to your executive resume: Continue reading “3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume”