While you’ve been focused on building your career, the job market has evolved and, along with it, resume writing and job search techniques. Even with a job market that is tightening and economic expectations for the US labor market and hiring intentions among employers to continue to reach new highs, preparation remains a key component when it comes to navigating a modern job search.
Right Now, It’s A Candidate’s Market
A hot job market creates competition and makes it imperative you position yourself as a top candidate for the role you are pursuing. To do that, you need to go beyond simply listing qualifications and responsibilities and offer a signature value statement that emphasizes how your executive experience, business acumen, and corporate achievements align with the executive-level position you are pursuing and the goals of your future employer.
Deciding to move forward and tackle new challenges takes courage (to step out of the familiar); confidence (belief in your abilities); and clarity (knowing exactly what direction you want to go with your career). Before you give yourself the green light to act, here are a few tips on how to craft your own resume and optimize your online presence.
Success Starts with a Strategy
No matter the role, from entry-level to Manager, Director, Vice President, President, and C-suite (CEO, CTO, CIO, COO, CMO), all companies hire because of their needs. The first step in creating a strategy is identifying the next step in your career.
- Are you going to level up or make a lateral move?
- Will you be staying in the same industry?
- What companies would you like to target?
Throwing together an old-school, responsibilities focused resume and flooding the job market with application after application will only serve to prolong your job search.
Take the time to narrow your focus and you will be able to speak to the employer’s needs and, by making a connection, you will rise to the top of the pile.
After identifying the career move you want to make and targeting companies that interest/excite you, the next step is assessing your skills, strengths, employment experiences, and accomplishments.
Modernize Your Resume
Technology has changed the job search landscape. The majority (75%) of hiring and talent managers now use recruiting software and/or applicant tracking software when hiring. These software platforms have automated and accelerated the recruitment/hiring process and serve as an aid to HR in sorting through and weeding out candidates by scanning for keywords.
Even in the digital age, you need a resume that persuades, informs, and provides the reader with an overview of how your experience, skills, and achievements align with your target employer’s needs. The key to writing a resume that connects is maintaining focus on the value you bring to your next employer.
Employers want to see evidence of your ability to solve similar challenges to the ones they are facing; how your leadership skills and industry knowledge have made an impact; and metrics and data that support your success stories.
Value-Focused Summary + Highlights of Impact + ROI-Driven Employment Narrative = A Modern Resume
The above formula will help you turn your unique blend of experience and talents into a HUGE competitive advantage by connecting the dots for the employer to see the IMPACT you’ve made throughout your career rather than the responsibilities you’ve held.
Executive Summary: A brief introductory value proposition that underscores who you are and the value you offer an organization. Neil Patel explains, “A more useful definition of value proposition is “a believable collection of the most persuasive reasons people should notice you and take the action you’re asking for.”
Stop using generic descriptors that could fit thousands of other people — dynamic, results-oriented, dedicated, focused, etc. Get to the heart of what makes you unique and put together a few short sentences that highlight your experience, strengths, and results. The top portion of our resume is prime real estate to stimulate interest. Which of the following command attention?
Dynamic executive seeking a new challenge
— Or —
Award-winning thought leader who delivers enduring solutions for mid- to large-size companies. Year-over-year success harnessing technologies, building high-performance teams, and fueling $10M in net revenue growth through the launch of innovative products and services.
Highlights of Impact: Distill your career story down into relevant impact statements that will position you as the candidate of choice for the position you are seeking. Remember, hiring authorities want to know how you’ve made a difference, strengthened the company, increased profitability and/or slashed costs. Only include highlights of results that align with the employer’s needs. This section should be scannable, relevant, and provide the answer to the employer’s question, “why should I interview/hire you instead of someone else?”
Which impact statement resonates more?
- Successful in building high-performance teams and leveraging strong communication skills to steer projects to completion.
— Or —
- Steered completion of 20+ multimillion-dollar projects transforming underperforming LATAM team into a trusted resource capable of delivering high-priority tech projects ahead of schedule and well under budget.
The first statement could fit any number of executives. The second one provides valuable metrics that distinguish the candidate from other candidates.
ROI-Driven Employment Narrative: Every piece of information you include in your resume should be focused on the employer’s needs and not about the responsibilities you’ve held.
Rather than writing text-dense paragraphs of information, articulate your employment history using short sentences packed with metrics and data that give scale to your accomplishments. Further draw attention to your key success stories by using bullet points and/or color font.
Sub-headlines, graphs, and charts are another great way to help the reader grasp the ROI you bring to their organization. Here is a before and after example of how to lay the groundwork for a compelling career narrative.
Business Development Executive
Responsible for identifying sales opportunities and building relationships with clients to enable timely and effective achievement of corporate sales initiatives.
— Or —
Business Development Executive
Earned confidence and respect of clients attracting more than $10M in sales within first 30 days of employment.
The ‘after’ example gives the reader a more focused summary of the value the candidate offers – he/she has a track record of earning the confidence and respect of clients and hit the ground running to attract millions of dollars in sales within their first 30 days of employment.
Optimize Your Digital Presence
A modernized resume is an integral part of your job search as is your digital presence. More than 70% of employers use social networks to validate who you are and learn more about you.
- Perform an online search of your name to find out what will show up when a potential employers search for you.
- Use social platforms to establish yourself as a leader in your industry and build credibility. LinkedIn is the ‘go-to’ platform for many executive recruiters and hiring authorities.
- Your online profile should be keyword rich (so you can be easily found) and it should also complement (not repeat) your resume.
- Audit your public profile to make sure your social media activity and online information aligns with the claims you’ve made about yourself.
Leverage the power of social media to solidify your professional brand. By regularly posting and contributing to online conversations, you can further position yourself as a thought leader and increase your visibility.
Whether online, on paper, or in person, the goal is to make clear how you are the solution to an employer’s problems/challenges.
- BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlight: Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Where The Jobs Will Be In 2019: Forbes
- Dominate Your Market: Neil Patel
- Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity: Business News Daily
- Impact of Recruiting Software on Businesses: Capterra
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