Category: personal branding

Top 10 Executive Resume Trends For 2014

2014 resume trends

Gearing up for your 2014 executive job search?

One of your first tasks is probably polishing your resume… but oh, how the times have changed.

The new reality in executive job hunting demands not only a powerful marketing package for your skills, but also a keen awareness of social media, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), recruiter preferences, and cutting-edge personal branding.

Take stock of these 10 trends destined to affect how your executive resume is perceived in 2014 – BEFORE starting to network or reach out to executive recruiters: Continue reading “Top 10 Executive Resume Trends For 2014”

5 Tips for Preventing Age Bias in Your Executive Resume & LinkedIn Profile

Avoid Age Bias in Your Job SearchBack in the job market for an executive role? You may have encountered (or wondered about) potential age discrimination when putting yourself “out there” for an executive job search.

If you find yourself experiencing rejection in your job applications, the possibility of age discrimination may seem all too real.

Yet, it’s possible that you’re actually CALLING attention to your age – more so that your leadership qualifications.

Bottom-line, focusing on your executive brand will make the biggest difference to employers. This is particularly true if your work history includes the leadership skills valued in today’s market, such as cost control, team leadership, fiscal stewardship, contract negotiations, and technology expertise.

Consider these 5 ways to get a better reception from employers – and create an “age-proof” executive resume and LinkedIn Profile – if you believe age is working against you: Continue reading “5 Tips for Preventing Age Bias in Your Executive Resume & LinkedIn Profile”

Does Your Resume Reflect Today’s Personal Branding Trends?

An Expert ResumeIf you’ve spent hours studying current resume trends to see examples of outstanding personal branding, look no further.

The 2013 global Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) award nominees and winners have been announced!

Considered the pinnacle of personally branded resume examples, the TORIs represent the highest honor achievable in executive resume writing.

(My executive resume writing partner, Kim, and I swept the contest this yearmaking An Expert Resume the #1 award-winning resume writing firm in the world. But don’t take our word for it – view our award-winning resumes from the 2013 competition).

Whether you’re trying to get ideas for a sales resume, IT resume, medical executive resume, or international CV, you’ll see a wide array of strategies, designs, and branding formulas that reflect the latest in resume writing trends.

Why look at TORI-winning resumes? They’re judged against stringent criteria for presentation, content, style, graphics, font choice, and strategy by hiring and careers experts worldwide (people who know what a cutting-edge resume should look like!). The competition, run by Career Directors International, draws entries from writers in Asia, Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Europe.

Of course, you can use these award-winning documents (and our other executive resume samples) for inspiration when writing your own leadership resume.

YOUR “award” may come in the form of a new job!

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 – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

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

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

Your LinkedIn Broadcasts: Must-Know Privacy & Branding Settings

Fearful LinkedIn UsersTrying to be “open” on LinkedIn? Or more intent on locking down your job search activity for privacy?

You MUST understand the site’s broadcast message types, Activity Broadcasts and Activity Feed, and the differences between them.

Often confused with each other, these controls allow messages to be widely distributed to other LinkedIn users, informing them of your activity (and basically prompting them to look at your Profile to interpret your actions).

Here’s a close-up look at the type of information you can control with Activity Broadcasts and Activity Feed settings — with key points on how to customize and maximize these messages for your job search:

1 – Activity Broadcasts.

Activity Broadcasts are the dead-giveaways sent out when you change your Profile. So, if you’re tweaking your Headline to arrive at the best fit, or finally populating your Profile with a ton of new data, this is the one to turn off first.

You can view your Activity Broadcast options by going to Settings, then “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.”

Here, you only have On (“Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies”) and Off. Continue reading “Your LinkedIn Broadcasts: Must-Know Privacy & Branding Settings”

3 Tips to Writing a Strong Career Biography

Executive Biography WritingA career biography as a job search document is nothing new; employers and recruiters have often reviewed bios as a part of a leadership or executive portfolio.

In fact, don’t be surprised if you’re asked for an executive biography when submitting your resume.

However, you don’t want to resort to the tired, “James has served as the IT Director of XYZ Company for 6 years” type of bio.

Instead, power up your biography with these writing techniques – creating a vibrant, clearly written narrative of your leadership career that demands attention:

1 – Summarize your work history – but consider where to start.

Many leadership biographies are designed to spell out your career chronology by starting with your current role.

This is because when you’re aiming for either a level up, you’ll want to grab the reader with a potent description of your authority and relevant achievements, as in this excerpt from a CFO bio: Continue reading “3 Tips to Writing a Strong Career Biography”

The 5 Essentials of a Powerful VP Sales Resume

VP Sales Resume SampleWant to be considered for a coveted Vice President of Sales role – with a leadership resume that promotes you far above a Sales Manager or Director?

You’ll face an uphill battle if you rely solely on the same metrics and quota figures that nailed your current position.

Here’s why: employers assume that a VP-level sales leader will have already mastered the art of building relationships, training sales teams, and exceeding objectives. Most Sales Managers or Directors aiming for the VP slot have proven that they can close deals and surpass expectations!

What your resume REALLY needs to make it past the gatekeeper for a VP Sales job are these 5 elements, strategically positioned on your executive resume to illustrate your readiness to take the helm of an entire Sales organization: Continue reading “The 5 Essentials of a Powerful VP Sales Resume”

Does Your LinkedIn Photo Look Like You Just Don’t Care?

You’ve already been told how important your photograph is to your social media identity – and you certainly understand that other LinkedIn users will be more likely to network with you when they can see your face.

Even so, you may not have the time or inclination to suit up for a professional headshot on your LinkedIn Profile.

However, if you substituted any of these “convenient” pictures of yourself (all found as actual pictures on LinkedIn) for an online photo, your professional credibility can be called into question:

1 – Gazing off into the distance.

Most people build trust by looking directly at the camera—which makes the reader (probably a prospective employer!) believe you’re sincerely interested in their needs.

2 – Cropped out of a family photo.

If you’re so reluctant to have a photo taken by yourself that you’ll resort to having your spouse’s shoulder included on LinkedIn, recruiters might wonder if he or she will need to accompany you to the interview.

3 – Glancing over your shoulder in the car.

Seriously, that headrest in the photo isn’t the nice touch you thought it might be.

4 – Showing some serious skin.

You look wonderful at the beach, but while everyone wants to see you more often, they probably don’t want to see more of you.

5 – Looking much too stern.

A smile goes a long way toward helping your target audience feel comfortable reaching out to you. (Conversely, that “mug shot” look doesn’t quite build rapport in the same manner.)

All joking aside, if you’re intent on using LinkedIn to move ahead in your career (and who isn’t?), you’ll receive a more positive reception by looking the part of the role you hope to gain.

All it takes is your best suit, the nearest person handy with a digital camera (even your teenager), and a quick upload to your Profile to make a much better impression.

Does Your Resume Show Your ROI?

Creating your resume, but stumped for ideas beyond your job titles, places of employment, tasks, and education?

Compelling employers to pick up the phone requires a much stronger brand message!

If you haven’t focused on your ROI – the benefit companies get when hiring you – your search can go on indefinitely.

You might believe that recruiters or HR managers will “get” this message from reading about your past jobs or span of authority – but guess what?

With plenty of resumes to review, most hiring authorities won’t take the time to connect the dots in your background.

Therefore, if you’ve made a significant difference at past employers, but your resume doesn’t provide this evidence, you’ll lose your shot at winning an interview (while employers hire your competition instead).

Consider adding quantifiable measures of your performance to reinforce your personal brand message on your resume, as shown in these tips.

1 – Comparisons to Others.

Do you wear many hats at your current job? Employees who can perform more than one job simultaneously are often credited with generating increases in the bottom line. Continue reading “Does Your Resume Show Your ROI?”

Simple Ways to Reinforce Your Brand Message With Resume Headings

Writing your resume to attract the kind of attention your career deserves is a challenge. Content is critical… but your formatting and strategy are equally important!

One of the best resume branding techniques (that can escape your notice even if you review executive resume samples) is changing resume section headings for greater impact.

An easy way to reinforce your personal brand message, descriptive headings give your reader a heads-up on the value of your experience, education, or achievements.

Classic headings, of course, are important for getting your resume past automated systems (see Making Your Resume Format Machine-Friendly for tips). However, you’ll also need HUMAN readers to take note of your qualifications.

Use these ideas to jumpstart creative thinking for each section of your resume, with branded, innovative headings that hammer home your promise of value:

Your Professional Experience.

There’s no law that requires your experience to be contained in a section called Work History.

What about Sales Achievements and Performance or Technical Leadership Experience? Why not try Operations Management Career if your focus is a new role in manufacturing production or within a call center? Continue reading “Simple Ways to Reinforce Your Brand Message With Resume Headings”

3 Strategies for Writing a Bold, Branded Executive Resume

Launching a strategic executive job search – and hoping to make a splash?

In previous years, listing the size of budgets managed, divisions run, or revenue generated might have been enough for a recruiter to hunt you down.

However, in today’s economic climate, executives are being asked to deliver more and brand themselves as well-rounded leaders prepared to tackle industry challenges and obstacles to growth.

Your executive resume will be judged much differently than in the job markets of years past, due to intense competition and the fact that employers can be much more selective.

It’s important to look at your executive resume with a fresh perspective. Have you missed opportunities to market yourself?

Do hiring authorities fail to understand what you bring to the table? Are you being passed over for jobs, even though you’re well-qualified?

If so, these 3 strategies can help you reassess the strength of your executive resume – with ideas for powerful content and leadership storytelling:

1 – Demonstrate strategic, not tactical, value.

Employers are not only looking for your leadership skills – they’re intent on finding a leader that will impact growth, retain top talent, and impress their competitors.

Therefore, your executive resume has to take your brand message a step further than just listing results, and talk about the situations encountered in your career.

Consider whether the following scenarios apply to your background: Continue reading “3 Strategies for Writing a Bold, Branded Executive Resume”