Category: resume writing strategy

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?”

Take These Overused, Trite Words Off Your Executive Resume

Executive resume errorsIf you want to impress employers, don’t repeat the same tired words you’ve seen in other documents!

These terms can water down your personal brand message (and bore recruiters).

To ensure you’re piquing the interest of hiring authorities, scan your executive resume for these too-common words and phrases – and consider using more powerful replacements: Continue reading “Take These Overused, Trite Words Off Your Executive Resume”

How to Write a CFO Resume That Reflects Your Leadership Brand

cropped-financialteam.jpgPursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO or Controller?

Your CFO resume must connect the dots from tactical details, such as financial reporting or systems, to strategic advisor and CEO partner.

By showing examples of strategic decision-making and forecasting, IT oversight, performance recommendations, and Board influence, your CFO resume will position you to compete against other contenders for a C-suite role.

Here’s how to present your value proposition on a powerful, effective CFO resume: Continue reading “How to Write a CFO Resume That Reflects Your Leadership Brand”

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 CIO.com 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 CIO.com’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”

Will Your Executive Resume Make the Grade?

Is your executive resume good enough by Laura Smith-Proulx
As a resume writer who works with executives, I’ve seen many “before” resumes of varying quality and impact.

Typically, the candidate asks, “Is my resume holding me back? Or does it just need a few changes? What do you think?”

Even if your resume was professionally written, you may still have doubts about its effectiveness (especially if your writer didn’t conduct a deep-dive analysis of your personal brand).

Look at your executive resume objectively for a few minutes, then answer these 5 questions to determine whether it needs an overhaul:

1 – Does your resume provide metrics in the TOP HALF of the first page?

Employers want to quickly figure out how you’ll fit their needs and solve their problems. If you don’t connect the dots for them, they’ll comb through your dates of employment and job titles, looking for reasons to rule you out.

Unless you have a perfect job history, a degree from Harvard, or a coveted executive spot at Amazon, a quantifiable summary like the one in this CEO resume is a requirement for a high-powered job. You’ll notice it avoids tired phrases such as “proven ability” or “highly accomplished leader.”

You’ll need to spend time digging up metrics that illustrate your performance, then choosing the best ones to highlight, front-and-center, on your resume.

2 – Is your resume design RELEVANT to the job you’re pursuing?

If you read this question and had to take another look at your resume, it’s probably not eye-catching enough to stand out against competing documents. On the other hand, if you’ve loaded it with neon-green and orange graphics to pursue opportunities in a conservative field, it might be time for a change.

An infographic or chart can make a powerful statement, as long as it covers salient points of your career and is placed appropriately among your success stories. Before making changes, think carefully about the alignment between your message and the audience who will read your executive resume.

3 – Are signature achievements, awards, clients, or employers shown at the TOP of your resume?

Employers will nearly always miss information that’s buried, especially if it is placed as a footnote to your job responsibilities. Career-defining accolades, as shown in this CIO and CTO resume, must land in prime resume real estate (that top half of the first page again), or your audience can get lost finding them.

Don’t neglect to mention your job at a major Fortune 500 employer, especially if you’ve been promoted multiple times there. Why? This tells recruiters that a) you’ve passed a stringent vetting process in the past; b) you have credibility in your field; and c) you offer an edge over competing candidates.

The same goes for graduation from a renowned alma mater, or your ability to secure top, brand-name accounts. (Name drop! Please!)

4 – Does your resume fit into 3 PAGES OR LESS – with an easily readable font?

You have 10 seconds or less to get an employer’s attention! Don’t make employers squint at important details by using a tiny font and listing every detail of the past 30 years.

If your executive brand message doesn’t pop within the first page, with an easy-to-read design in at least 10-point font, most people won’t spend time looking for it.

No one has the time to read your resume cover-to-cover, so don’t bother writing a novel. If you must document a large volume of individual successes, publications, or speaking engagements, develop an Addendum or Achievements listing that can be pulled out for interviews.

5 – When you send your resume out to employers, are you receiving a RESPONSE?

The ultimate litmus test of whether you need resume help, a positive reaction from employers is your only goal.

No matter what I (or even you) think of your executive resume, it has one main job: to bowl over hiring authorities and compel them to call you before their competition does.

If it works, you’ll know it.

One final clue:  if you answered “No” to the majority of these questions, you already know the answer to the first one.

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

 

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”

How to Write Your Resume When You’re NOT The Perfect Candidate

Man with gaps in work history or no college degree

If your career trajectory contains a few speed bumps (such as a gap in work history or job hopping), you’re among the multitudes in this job market.

Given the state of economic affairs over the past few years, most job seekers don’t fit the classic picture of a “stable” work history at a single employer the way they once did.

I recently sat down with Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes.com to discuss ways of dealing with a not-so-perfect career history for What To Do When Your Resume Looks Like Bad News, reiterating that problematic job situations can often be overcome with just a few key changes to your resume.

Here’s how to address common “sticky” situations (ones that seem to trip up even the most well-qualified job seekers):

Job Gaps

A period of unemployment is no longer an automatic red flag to many employers. Therefore, you’ll want to be as up front and concise as possible when dealing with a gap.

Continue reading “How to Write Your Resume When You’re NOT The Perfect Candidate”

5 High-ROI Resume & Cover Letter Fixes

Resume section headings matterSometimes, you have to feel for the person who is reading your resume on the other side of the hiring table.

Too often, job seekers resort to almost identical phrases on resumes and cover letters. Yet, if you want to generate serious attention, you’ll need to shake things up a bit!

Here are 5 fast, simple ways to think outside the template on your resume and cover letter:

1 – Introduce your resume with a specific, branded title.

Pursuing a global business development or marketing role—one with authority for trend watching and sales in industry verticals?

Sure, you can use Business Development Executive, but Director Strategic Sales packs more impact, plus retains the keywords (Director and Sales) that are needed at your career level.

There’s always more than one way to introduce yourself. Project Manager is fairly specific, but you can give yourself a bit more latitude with a general title such as Project Executive, with a second line that lists Portfolio Manager, Project Director, and PMO Manager as job targets.

2 – Alter your resume headings for powerful impact.

There’s no law that requires your resume to use sections such as Experience, Education, and so forth.

If you’re in sales, you can use the title Relevant Revenue Highlights to describe a selected list of sales successes, while an Operations Manager can create a section entitled Operational Productivity Improvements to show important achievements. This executive resume sample uses a section called Signature Performance Benchmarks.

Light on experience? Group your training under keywords that make sense to employers, such as Sales Education, Leadership Training, or Technology Knowledge.

A caveat: be sure to change your resume headings BACK to typical phrases if you’re submitting an online application likely to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – and send the pretty one directly to hiring managers.

3 – Give recruiters something else to read besides your job titles.

Are your job titles very general, such as Associate Analyst or Senior Consultant? Help employers out (please!) by specifying exactly what you do in your career.

Get creative and add another line underneath your real title with more descriptive terms such as Project Manager, Product Development Analyst, or Business Process Reengineering Manager.

4 – Change your cover letter’s enclosure line.

Adding just “Resume” with the notation Enc. after your signature doesn’t quite cut it as a parting shot.

How about Enc: Business Development Leadership Resume or Attached: Senior Leadership Qualifications Summary instead?

5 – Try adding a P.S. to your letter.

The power of the post script (or P.S.) is well-documented. Marketing studies have proven over and over that this may be the most-read sentence of your entire cover letter.

Branch out a little and try a grand finale such as “I’ll be glad to share my ideas for bringing XYZ Company’s Western region revenue to #1 in the nation. May we talk?”

In conclusion, don’t believe everything you read about a single RIGHT way to create a resume or cover letter.

Instead, experiment by adding some flair and road-testing different ways of stating the same information – and you can easily end up with a better response.

 

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, using 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