Wednesday, March 13, 2013


We all wrote our own resumes when we were coming out of college, right? It’s part of the Career Planning and Placement process. You pick up some tips from the Placement Office, maybe a template and a few examples. If you’re interviewing with companies recruiting on campus, there may be a format you’re required to follow, so that everyone’s presented to the recruiters on a level playing field.

Now it’s 10 years later, you’ve got a few years of experience under your belt, maybe you’ve been with a couple of different companies and have shown some good career progression. You’re ready to move to the next level in your career – ready to transition to a leadership, executive or management role – and suddenly that old resume format isn’t working so well. You’re not getting the response you want. Why? And what’s the right strategy?

The reality is – it’s NOT all about the resume any more. Once you begin to target executive-level roles, you need a comprehensive search strategy and a tactical execution plan that encompasses all facets of the job search. The resume is still a critical piece of the puzzle, but the game has changed dramatically in the last few years.  

You have to know how to position yourself for where you want to go – not where you’ve been. Your resume has got to articulate the significance and impact of your work and the value you’ve brought to organizations. 

You’ve got to include examples of critical initiatives, cross-functional leadership, influencing perspectives, and what those things meant to the top and bottom line at your company. Take a look at your recent performance evaluations – many times they provide perspective on initiatives that were important to your management team.

Your LinkedIn profile has become another HUGE part of the search process. You need a great profile with a professional-looking picture – you don’t need a formal portrait, but you should look friendly and approachable - and no dogs, no booze and no vacation pictures. 

The percentage of recruiters and companies using LinkedIn to source candidates has skyrocketed in the last couple of years – more than 90% and growing every day. You have some great opportunities in LinkedIn to keyword load and create a profile that will help potential employers and top recruiters find you.

You need a strategy to get your resume to the right people at the right companies. How do you ensure your resume gets into the hands of the decision-makers at the companies you’ve targeted? Applicant Tracking Systems have changed the game – once you’ve uploaded your resume, it can sit in a database and never see the light of day.  So once you’ve uploaded your resume to a company’s website for the role you’ve selected, what do you do? If you’re waiting to hear from someone at the company, you could have a very long wait. Proactively use LinkedIn’s search function to find people at the company with whom you have things in common – LinkedIn groups, past employers, alumni connections – introduce yourself to them, connect with them and begin building and leveraging your network. Don’t be a stalker – but people are usually very willing to help someone if they can.

Competing in today’s job market is tougher than ever before in history. We often tell clients that we probably “could” roof our own house if we had to, but hiring a trained, experienced professional makes much more sense. Creating a comprehensive search strategy that encompasses preparation, developing the resume, effective use of LinkedIn, targeted resources, and a strong, focused plan will help you compete, move up – and win the job search race. Don’t get left in the dust!

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