Category: leadership resumes

Top Resume Tips for Aspiring Leaders

Are you a senior-level professional or manager wanting to transition upward in your career? If so, you may believe that your dedication and proficiency will automatically shine through on your resume.

However, many leadership professionals experience minimal results when they fail to adequately express their true strengths and core competencies.

If you aspire to the corner office, moving from searching to successful requires using some key strategies to pique an employer’s interest. Consider these tips to present a confident image and look the part on your resume:

Look at your career contributions with dollar signs.
Employers are always interested in the bottom line. Can you add to it, or control the expenses affecting it? Then, by all means, get this information onto your resume.

Ask yourself hard questions about the results of your work, and then put figures to as much of it as possible.

For example, when working with a sales director in the mortgage industry, after discussing his leadership of an underperforming location, we were able to turn dry task descriptions into “Turned around branch to achieve #1 status nationwide from initial ranking of 32 out of 40.”

As you can see, results such as these speak for themselves—and cut through any doubt about your abilities.

As with any business communications, consider your presentation.
If you want to portray a standout image, look beyond the strategies used by countless other job seekers. Case in point: millions have used a do-it-yourself style or worse yet, that Microsoft Word resume template, to create their resumes.

Given that this is arguably the most important document of your career, take a hard look at your presentation, and consider implementing some components found in professionally designed resumes.

You can find examples online at many websites, including An Expert Resume, that show streamlined design, leadership presentation, and effective formatting that preserves both content and space.

Showcase your personal brand and leadership qualities.
Everyone has unique strengths and capabilities to offer their next employer. What are yours? Have you thought about the impact you have on the company’s business?

Make a list of what you achieve that consistently affects revenue, the corporate reputation, or efficiency, and then describe the steps you’ve taken to attain these results.

Ensure that this information takes center stage on your resume, rather that just listing mundane details and job descriptions.

In summary, accessing today’s fast-track jobs requires connecting your performance and personal brand to bottom-line results—thereby ensuring that your resume gets noticed.

5 Ways to Quit Underselling Yourself on Your Resume

If you’re in the midst of a job search, you no doubt want your resume to land enough interviews to make your efforts worthwhile. If it seems like you are passed over for jobs on a regular basis, consider this: what you see as your real strengths might NOT be conveyed on the resume you send out.

Here are some ways to reverse this situation and clearly market your qualifications so your resume gets noticed:

Ask yourself what your 3 main qualifications are—then write directly to them. What do you really want an employer to know about you? Take out a piece of paper and jot down your three strongest qualifications for the job. For example, this could be a recent degree, your leadership capabilities, or your ability to bring in new business. Now write your resume around these points, taking into consideration that the document should give a clear picture of your overall background as well.

Not sure what strengths to highlight? Take out a job description from an online posting and circle some areas that match your expertise. Focus your thinking around these requirements and the skills that accompany them.

Stop taking up space with mundane details. Think of your resume in terms of a certain amount of valuable space, then use that space to convey your strong points as much as possible. Avoid focusing on the details that others most likely know about your profession.

For example, it is generally assumed that accountants are familiar with the general ledger, and that network administrators back up servers. I recommend that you conserve “resume real estate” by giving hiring managers some hard facts about the impact you have had on your work environment, customers, and to the bottom line.

List the most important aspects of your credentials FIRST. I am always amazed by the volume of highly credentialed professionals who show an old degree at the top of their resumes. If your degree is surpassed by your experience, put it near the end of your resume.

If you have managerial experience and you are applying to a leadership position, put this on your resume toward the beginning. By the same token, be sure to show qualities and skills relevant to the job as quickly as possible on your resume so that these will not be missed.

Don’t use “rules” unless they apply to you. The biggest mistake I see here is that experienced professionals try to cram a lot of detail onto one page. Since no one is really sure of the origination of the one-page “rule,” it is best to just forget about it and concentrate on readability instead.

Other rules to skip include the use of an objective statement (very outdated) or references (should be kept separate) on the resume.

Quantify everything where possible. One of the biggest rules in the resume industry is “show, don’t tell.” A very effective way to demonstrate the full impact of your work is to pull as many figures into your resume as possible.

To get yourself into the mode of including numbers, look at each sentence and try to think like a four-year-old. So you brought in new business—how much? If you reduced costs—by what percentage? Ask yourself the kind of questions that employers might want to know in an interview, and you’ll soon find that your resume contains some exciting facts and quantifiable numbers that will catch the reader’s eye.

Remember that it is up to YOU to make an outstanding first impression, and that you may need to take a hard look at how you are presenting yourself on paper—especially if your resume is not producing the results you expect.

Peter Weddle on Why You Need to Be a Career Activist

“Here’s a sobering truth for all of you out there who are happily employed: if you’re not looking for your next job, you’re probably looking at a period of forced unemployment,” states Peter Weddle.

When you consider the average tenure of a CEO is now less than four years, there is reason for concern. In the wake of the CEO fiascos from Enron, WorldCom and Hewlett Packard, loyal employees were left without jobs, companies had to cut budgets or file bankruptcy after paying out big severance packages and hundreds of innocent employees were left in financial distress.

Weddle says that in 2006, 14% of the world’s largest companies fired their CEOs for lousy performance. What this means to employees is that no matter how much hard work and dedication you put in, there is no job security.

How can you protect yourself in such an environment? Weddle says, “Become a “career activist,” defining him/her as is someone who: sets the direction for their career (by identifying near-, mid- and longer-term goals that are interesting, challenging and meaningful to them); and initiates the specific actions (e.g., finding a mentor, acquiring a certain kind of experience, learning new skills) that will enable them to make steady progress toward and actually accomplish those goals.

A career activist, then, is in charge of the change in their career, rather than its victim. In Weddle’s analysis, job seekers are under the control of those who hire the, while career activists take charge of and control their own career destiny. They make the decisions and do so to meet their own goals. “The selection of one course over another is always based on a single guiding tenet: it is to do that which will advance you toward being the best you can be at your profession, craft or trade,” writes Weddle.

Weddle suggests giving yourself a “personal performance appraisal by asking yourself the following questions:

* Am I doing my best work in my current job or am I just coasting?

* Are my skills and knowledge at the state-of-the-art in my career field or am I growing obsolete?

* What job should I be doing in the next 12-18 months in order to upgrade my performance and my satisfaction at work?

* What do I need to do now to prepare myself so that I can compete successfully for that job at that time?

“Career activism is essentially a pair of commitments you make to yourself: bringing the best you can be at work each day and improving your personal best every day. Those promises provide the only real security there is in today’s volatile and perilous workplace…because you are relying on yourself,” says Weddle.

Reprinted from Career Masters Institute Newsletter

Resumes for the Colorado Job Market: Demonstrating Proof of Your Performance

If you are a professional seeking employment in our colorful state, you have no doubt polished up your resume to achieve maximum effect on Colorado employers, taking care to prepare a document that will surely pass the classic 10-15 second glance by a hiring manager and win an interview. Or have you?

Here in the land of boom and bust, oil and gas, and both the great and not-so-great times in telecommunications history, employers have weathered the rush of thousands of resumes from job seekers determined to make their next move. However, the number of candidates that make the first pass is considerably smaller than most might realize.

Consider adding these core components to your resume in order to make a stellar first impression on employers in the Colorado jobs marketplace—and to get your phone ringing:

Skip the Fluff.
Or, as is said in the resume industry, “Show, don’t tell.” If you really are self-motivated, dedicated, and innovative, detail this information rather than resorting to these words often used by the masses to market themselves to Colorado employers.

Which makes a stronger impression? “Provided strong customer service and led national projects” or “Slashed marketing expenses 45% by delivering three national relationship management projects on time and under budget.”

By the same token, resorting to a cute graphic will likely irritate rather than wow a hiring manager who is weary of searching for core skill sets.

Strategize.
Skip the objective statement in favor of a summary that shows precisely what you offer an employer. Why use “Seeking a challenging position utilizing my abilities and skills…” when you can give impressive data on your real-world strengths?

Consider that “Visionary, decisive, and strategic operations leader credited with intense profitability by turning around inefficient organizations, driving groundbreaking service initiatives, and achieving quick results that elude others” hardly makes the same statement.

Make use of short, clear, sentence fragments—think marketing copy—throughout the resume to add spice to your message.

Beware the Functional Resume.
Nothing makes an employer who has rode the ups and downs of the Colorado economy look the other way faster. This format, which delineates skill categories in lieu of giving detail on achievements at each job, is past its prime and implies that the job seeker has something to hide.

Grouping your relevant expertise by using keywords appropriate for your profession is a great idea; however, take care to include the classic reverse chronology of your job history for the reader to explore.

Summarize…and summarize some more.
Clarity rules the day! In other words, five-page resumes are history. Don’t expect a prospective employer to read anything resembling a novel, especially when sprinkling the pronoun “I” throughout your document.

While there is no “magic” length, more than eight years of professional experience typically dictates a second page—but not necessarily a third—in the eyes of Colorado employers.

Why use a professional resume writer?

Many resumes that I rewrite seem to use the same Microsoft Word template. While this format is certainly easy to read and contains appropriate headings, it seems to say, “I wrote this myself, so please overlook any irrelevant material.” I dare say this is not the type of initiative one wants to demonstrate to a prospective employer.

To make a better impression, do a little more research. Templates for all kinds of documents abound online. Better yet, persuse resume books at your local library for more examples.
Of course, using a professional resume writing service nearly guarantees that you will free up your time for other pursuits–such as finding venues in which to send the resume.

Why use a professional resume writer? Even people with an outstanding command of written language rarely pass muster when writing their own resumes. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of us belong to professional associations that consistently, constantly educate us on industry-leading standards and practices in the resume industry.

This select group reads resume books–cover to cover–as soon as they are published, uses a complex thesaurus, dictionary, and other grammar tools, consults the AP Stylebook, and undergoes rigorous resume industry testing. It should also be noted that most resume professionals also tune results based on your job search progress–and results!

Just a reminder for any time you are tempted to bypass what should be a comprehensive process by using a Microsoft template…there is no substitute for a professional help from a writer who has honed the craft for effectiveness.

Are IT Resumes Easy to Write?

I’ve seen more IT resumes than I can count–and I cannot honestly say that most were representative of the fantastic skill sets that most technical workers possess. Since most technical professionals add an extensive list of technology skill sets to their resume, how can this be?

The fact is, IT resumes are mostly known for what they lack–which amounts to accomplishments, demonstrations of proficiency, contributions to the employer’s bottom line, and overall strategy. When I hired software developers, I was frequently impressed at the extent of knowledge displayed in an interview, which I could NOT discern from the candidate’s resume.

I only interviewed one candidate who had her resume professionally written. It was quite obvious her skills we lacking, and we did not schedule a follow-up interview.

However, she was later hired by a client based only on her RESUME! Even though the client hiring manager told me she was not a fit, he was overridden by a higher-up who kept passing out the resume to everyone. It summed up her project contributions perfectly and made her skills all the more attractive to employers.

Remember, an IT resume is not “easier” to assemble than those in other fields. It is a particularly daunting job to assess the actual result of your IT knowledge, rather than just tallying up the technical skills you use on a regular basis.

The bottom line? Think long and hard about your unique contributions before putting words down on paper. You are more than the sum of your buzzwords!