Category: cio resumes

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”

3 Ways You’re Wasting Space on Your Executive Resume

Wasted Space on Executive Resume

Getting a slow response when sending your executive resume?

If so, you might be focusing on extraneous details – while starving employers of the facts they need to make a hiring decision.

In fact, if you haven’t heard, the executive resume has evolved considerably as a marketing tool for your personal brand and value proposition, complete with splashes of color and persuasive, quantifiable content.

To take stock of your executive resume’s effectiveness, consider whether you’re committing these resume space-wasting sins (and try these ideas for a more powerful and effective presentation): Continue reading “3 Ways You’re Wasting Space on Your Executive Resume”

How to Write a CIO Resume That Wins More Interviews

Aiming for a CIO or IT Director role?

You’ve probably wondered how to transform your resume from a list of technical jargon to a powerful document worthy of an enterprise-level position.

Working with on an IT Director resume makeover, I spent time answering this very question. Surprisingly, it’s often business acumen (more so than tech skills) that attracts hiring authorities… and with’s candidate, business alignment was clearly the focus of his career.

To obtain these results, I recommend taking a step back from the typical list of projects, protocols, and programs usually featured on an IT resume, using a fresh eye to show how your achievements met business needs.

These 4 powerful tips for how to write a CIO resume (or IT Director resume) will help you shape a brand-driven, compelling document that elicits action from employers: Continue reading “How to Write a CIO Resume That Wins More Interviews”

Should You Hire an Executive Resume Writer?

portrait of business executiveReadying your resume for an executive job search?

You’re up against intensive competition from leaders with a wealth of experience.

But will you need a professionally written executive resume to compete at this level? Does every executive outsource this part of the job search?

It depends. While it’s true that every impression counts in today’s job market – and that many executives turn to a professional resume writer, there are cases where you’ll be able to rely on a self-written document.

Weigh these 5 considerations when deciding to use the services of an executive resume writer or go it alone:

1 – Is resume writing your strong suit?

If you’re a naturally expressive writer, you might be able to compose the detailed, achievement-rich story of your background needed to capture interest at an executive level.

However, if you dread writing in detail about most subjects – and you haven’t kept up on the latest trends in executive resume writing, then it’s time to consider bringing in an expert.

This is especially true in cases where your background is complex, and you anticipate devoting hours to weeks on the task.

Rather than spending considerable time on your leadership resume, it can make more sense to concentrate on efforts that only you can undertake – strengthening networking relationships, starting conversations with executive recruiters, and polishing your LinkedIn / social media presence.

2 – Do your executive competitors rely on resume experts?

Look around at your executive competition to see if their LinkedIn Profiles appear polished and personally branded – AND if they’re successfully landing new jobs. You might see some trends.

Executives in sales and marketing roles, for example, regularly tap into resume writing services to help them edge out the competition. (Many resume writers will tell you their main business is centered on serving sales leaders).

In fields involving more jargon and technical skills, though, you may find executive resume writing services to be the exception. As an example, some medical professionals are able to target a leadership role if their degrees, places of residency, or areas of practice speak for themselves. In the case of this Chief Revenue Officer, an expertly crafted resume was instrumental in organizing large amounts of data.

Many CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, CNO, and CLO candidates seek executive resume writing services because they’re accustomed to outsourcing tasks of high complexity. At this level, your executive resume will be routinely compared against these well-crafted portfolios. Don’t come up short!

3 – Are your skills extremely rare – and in hot demand?

If your phone is already ringing off the hook with calls from executive recruiters, or you’re receiving at least several LinkedIn messages per week from employers eager to bring you in for an interview, you may not need to turn to an executive resume writer (as long as you’ve compiled your career history into a presentable document).

The same will be true if your field has few experts – and your resume or LinkedIn presence will therefore generate interest quickly.

On the other hand, if you find sending out your executive resume only results in the sounds of silence (even after multiple rounds of tweaking it to fit the job description or to add accomplishments), then it’s time to look closely at an executive resume writing service as part of your strategy.

4 – Have you been able to write (not just talk) about yourself effectively?

Many people can tell a colorful story of their achievements and career high points – but only if asked probing questions, and only in talking through their stories. (This is why I interview executive clients and take copious notes.)

If you possess this type of “blind spot,” then struggling to write your own executive resume can be a daunting task. In this case, you’ll find collaborating with a top-notch resume expert to be invaluable, as they’ll spend the time to draw out both your career stories and the relevance of each one to your ultimate goal.

However, there are executives who’ve stayed in close touch with their inner marketer, continually documenting success stories that effectively describe their career paths. If this applies to you, then writing your own executive resume isn’t that much of a stretch.

5 – Are you up to speed on trends in executive resume writing?

Many people are surprised at the new look of leadership resumes, particularly when they review executive resume samples to get an idea of what others are using in job search.

If you’ve stayed relatively current on resume trends, or had a resume professionally written within the past 2-3 years, you may be able to put together a striking presentation that will capture attention.

Conversely, if you’re unaware that an executive resume can take up more than a page, or if you’ve never experimented with fonts beyond Arial or Times New Roman, then your job search can suffer significantly from a bland resume – and you’ll need expert help.

In summary, executive resume writing services can be effective, but they’re not for everyone.

Consider your situation and needs in context against the job you’re seeking, and make your decision 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.


How to Make Your IT Director Resume Really Pop

If you’re pursuing an IT Director job, you already realize there’s a special challenge in your search.

Your resume must be written to show technical aptitude, plus demonstrate leadership problem-solving and team management skills (crucial for a later move to VP or CIO positions).

Climbing the corporate ladder to a higher-level IT leadership role requires that you first take stock of your career success stories and the strength of your business skills.

A compelling IT Director resume will contain at least these 3 elements:

1 – Metrics-Driven Results.

Most IT Directors are charged with managing projects at an enterprise scale, creating new infrastructures that set the business up for growth, or resolving support issues that threaten business operations.

Here’s where you’ll want to consider the scope and impact of these initiatives on the business for your IT Director resume. Answering these questions will help you pull in the metrics of most value to employers: Continue reading “How to Make Your IT Director Resume Really Pop”

Is Your Executive Resume Stretched Too Thin?

Recently, I had a conversation with an executive who was concerned about the effectiveness of her resume.

While I can’t comment on how well it represented her (since I’m not familiar with her career), I couldn’t help but notice the diverse job goals listed across the top: “CIO – Operations Director – CEO.”

Wow! That’s a lot to ask of any executive resume – and it’s a lot to hang your professional hat on as well during a job search.

Here’s why: the hiring audience looking for each of those executive leaders will be focused on an entirely different part of your experience and competencies. Continue reading “Is Your Executive Resume Stretched Too Thin?”

Yes, Virginia, you CAN use color on your resume

(Written tongue-in-cheek one year during the holiday season…)

As long as job hunters have tried to stand out (and feel they need new tricks to do so), there’s been the question of color for a resume.

Way back in the Stone Age when I was a candidate, the big no-no was colored paper. Now, it seems that the concept of color ON a resume is still catching on.

My Careerealism post on resume trends brought this to light very quickly.

While I mentioned several up-and-coming techniques that have helped my resume clients immensely, one hot button seemed to be color.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Answer these questions first:

  • Is your field reasonably cutting-edge (say, technology)?
  • Do you want to spark interest and intrigue among employers?
  • Are you open to open to trying new things? 

If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then resume color might be a great advantage for you.

However, if your idea of novelty is using borders for the first time, then it might be best to hold off on color and rely on shades of gray to spice up your resume. Continue reading “Yes, Virginia, you CAN use color on your resume”

Facing layoff from Cisco? Plan your job hunt strategically

Cisco Systems layoffCisco Systems announced its largest layoff ever in July 2011, and employees are certainly feeling the aftershocks.

With 6,500 staff being cut (up to a 14% drop in its workforce), Cisco has announced that it plans to restructure in order to maintain a competitive position.

If you’re one of those affected by this or other layoffs, what should you do? It’s no secret that professionals have bemoaned the state of the job market now for several years.

Will YOU fare better? Yes (and you can read more here about your chances of finding a job quickly), but you’ll need to map out a plan that is as sound as any project you’ve ever tackled.

Consider that most people going through the shock of a layoff tend to react quickly, aggressively responding to posted jobs without taking time to regroup or prepare a plan. This is at least one main reason behind a job search that drags on for too long.

Then, there’s your competition: even though like Google, Apple, Yahoo, Citrix, and NetApp will be waiting at Cisco’s door to lap up well-qualified talent, there’s no shortage of eager job hunters ready to outdo your search tactics.

Therefore, it pays to take these key steps in your search:

1 – Decide if you’re able to relocate.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll face in the job search is also one that can have the most impact. If you have the ability to put down roots somewhere else, you’ll become a better candidate for other technology companies outside of Cisco—and for recruiters.

2 – Map out your desired targets.

You’ll need to not only identify the best companies for your talent, but also research their needs.

What is going on inside your target companies or industries? What business challenges do they face? And most importantly, how will YOUR skills make a difference there?

When you sit down to write a cover letter directed toward these firms, you’ll be glad you went through this exercise. Spend some time online and within professional journals to extract data on what these companies need, then write directly to their pain points.

3 – Polish your resume – but not in a vacuum.

Yes, your resume needs to be as ready as possible to compete against others, but don’t forget that a large part of what gets someone hired is the reaction they get from employers.

Therefore, it makes sense to circulate your resume among former Cisco colleagues and networking contacts for feedback—ensuring that you haven’t missed anything critical about your skills or projects.

This is true even if you have it professionally written – you’ll want to verify that your resume writer understands technology.

4 – Identify networking venues (online or otherwise) and potential contacts.

Networking doesn’t always mean in-person contact, but the more personal, the better. If you already belong to a professional or trade association, start using these contacts. If you don’t, now’s the time to join one.

Getting involved at either a local or national level in these associations can help boost your visibility, as can joining Groups within LinkedIn. Here, you’ll want to join in professional discussions, but on the subject of technology or engineering topics, NOT to advertise your job search.

Within LinkedIn, you can also use the Advanced People Search function to gather names of potential contacts, either because they work at your target companies or they have some insight to offer. Don’t forget recruiters, either – online networking gives you a good chance to check them out.

5 – Maximize your LinkedIn Profile.

If you’ve ignored your LinkedIn Profile for a while, now’s the time to beef it up. Recruiters like to look carefully at your job titles, education, and critical achievements online before considering you for a potential slot.

You’ll also find (as many of my engineering and leadership clients do) that your interviewers will look you up on the site, and so you’ll want that Profile to be more than ready – with a professional or personal headshot, a powerful Summary, and solid listing of job titles and accomplishments.

Following these 5 tips will give you a strong head start on the competition you’ll encounter, both in the job market at large and from other Cisco employees.  

Even with substantial job market challenges, strategic planning pays off with a faster job search – and a better position on the other end.

CIO Resumes: Mining IT Projects for Strategic Benefit

Are you a rising star in the IT world eager for a shot at the CIO role? Ascending from IT Director or VP takes more than just showing how you’ve leveraged the technology itself: you’ll need to first put yourself in the C-suite on paper.

As described by my recent article in ComputerWorld, most would-be technology executives stumble when it comes to resume writing at the CIO level.

Transitioning your value proposition to reflect officer-ready qualifications requires a significant transition from the traditional, skills-based resume that helped capture your last job in IT.

Here, I’ve included simple steps that can transform your IT resume from mundane, project-by-project details to a leadership brand message designed to land a CIO role.

First, I recommend making a list of the projects you’ve led, then answer the following questions about each one: 
  • What made these initiatives attractive to stakeholders (in terms of ROI)?
  • Were the benefits external or internal to the company (with impact to either the company’s customers or business users)?
  • How did the company leverage the new technologies from a PR standpoint?
  • And last of all, what competitive edge was gained from the project?

Now, take these project details and add specific budget or cost figures to demonstrate scope, as shown by these examples:

“Contributed to $4M total savings by working with regional CEO to incorporate SaaS and cloud technologies…”

“Delivered automation solutions that increased business productivity 43%—even with $300K reduction in operating costs…”

As you can see by these sample phrases from actual CIO resumes, focusing on the bottom line can help decision-makers review your credentials in a more strategic light.

In a future column, I’ll cover CIO resume writing techniques that showcase (and capitalize on) your executive relationships.

Struggling to write your executive resume? Try these branding tips

If your idea of writing an executive resume is trying to list all your tasks and group them under each job title, you’re in for quite a surprise.

The information that actually makes employers want to call you is quite different than just the descriptions of your previous jobs, as it involves creating a personal brand message with a clear, unmistakable promise of leadership value.

In this market, your job search is almost guaranteed to take longer if your resume doesn’t reflect your specific strengths and the impact of your work for your employers.

However, don’t despair: there are quick, real-life branding exercises that you can undertake in the executive resume writing process that will get the response you deserve.

In the process, you’ll also be able to turn around your perspective of resume writing, gaining a valuable lesson in how to self-market and promote your unique leadership background.

To jumpstart the process of executive resume-writing and related brand analysis, try these 3 tips to make your task easier, before writing a single word:
1 – Ask others for feedback.

This may seem like a backwards step, but if you discuss your job search and resume purpose with trusted colleagues or friends before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you’ll actually have a better vision of the end goal.

Specifically, most people around you can clearly see your value in ways that you cannot, because they have likely benefited from your leadership qualities, organization skill, and technical proficiency.

Here are some great questions to ask your network, which will help generate resume ideas: 
  • What reasons would you have for recommending my work to my next employer?
  • What company-level problems did you believe I was able to solve when we worked together?
  • How you believe I’ll be able to add value as a leader in my next job?
  • What did you see as my top 3 contributions to profit, employee performance, or cost savings in my last job?

Next, you’ll want to keep these ideas in a list next to you during the leadership resume-writing process. Use them to add color to your resume profile and flesh them out in more detail in your executive work history.
2 – Make a list of career wins.

Right off the bat, make a list of your top achievements over the course of your career – including everything from leading a challenging project to success to turning around a non-profitable company division.

Give yourself permission to remember (and savor) the highlights of what you’ve been able to do that brought you kudos from others. Don’t forget that the impact might have been external to the company, as many executives often garner praise from industry insiders or analysts, as well as from their teams.

You’ll want to create success stories from each of these accomplishments, and then put them in the classic Challenge-Action-Result format for your resume writing efforts. Describe the Challenge or situation first, then the Action that you took, and most importantly, the Result of each project or achievement.

These stories will now become the foundation for accomplishment stories in your executive resume, and can be used to replace what would usually be the classic list of tasks performed at each job.

In addition, you’ll want to add more facets to each story during the resume-writing process, supplying employers with more proof of your leadership performance as you recall the details.
3 – Inject some personality into the process.

Give some thought to the role you are seeking. What type of qualities does the perfect candidate for this job display? What are his or her professional attributes?

This isn’t hard to picture: for example, a COO might be extremely analytical or improvement-focused, while the ideal IT Director would tend to challenge the status quo and take a firm stance with vendors.

Now, tie these qualities back to your own experience. In what situations did you display these attributes and what were the results of your leadership at the time?

What’s important about this exercise? It allows you to start with an employer-side view of the ideal executive leader, giving you the same perspective they’ll have when scouring your resume for proof of these qualities.

As a result, you have some goals around which to center your leadership resume, rather than just starting with a list of mundane tasks that everyone performs in your field.

In summary, you’ll need to transform your perception of executive resume writing from what you’ve been led to believe, and start the writing process from a standpoint of brand value that can help you differentiate your experience – a solid first step toward capturing a better response for your leadership skills.