Trying to get your job search off to a strong start – only to be hampered by the resume-writing process?
Do you struggle to articulate the high points of your career and brand – or to sum up the reasons you should be considered over others?
If so, you have plenty of company, especially if your career is at the executive or senior professional level.
Many leaders have discovered that it’s easier to actually drive change, improve company operations, or transform revenue performance than it is to write about it!
Here’s why resume writing can be difficult, with tips to make the process easier:
1 – You’re too close to the subject.
Most executive leaders and skilled professionals are subject matter experts in all types of leadership competencies, from strategic planning to team delegation.
However, when asked to describe their strengths, most of them will resort to tactical or skills-based descriptions, rather than illustrating the ways in which they add strategic value.
You’re naturally good at what you do, but telling your story requires a HIGHER level of analysis — a process that most executives and senior-level professionals don’t think to undertake for themselves.
So ask your colleagues or past bosses! Give them a few open-ended questions on what they believe are your most valuable accomplishments or skills… and be sure to add THIS information to your resume.
2 – Marketing and personal branding aren’t your strongest skills.
If you’re a COO, you’re probably engrossed in cost control and ensuring the company’s infrastructure will support growth.
If you’re a sales manager, you’re assessing the competition. If you’re a CEO, you’re busy building the corporate vision and strategic forecast. Accountants are closing the books, IT Managers are negotiating with vendors, and CIOs are dealing with the rising costs of technology.
My point? It makes sense that you’d have little time to become well-versed in self-marketing or personal branding!
Even if marketing campaigns ARE part of your leadership role, you’ll still find that it’s much harder to create promotional copy when the product is YOU.
So get accustomed to what a strongly branded executive resume looks like. Review examples of resumes built for the 2021 job market and the ones that preceded it. These samples can give you some inspiration to write your own story.
3 – You haven’t created your personal brand message.
Your personal brand is basically the value proposition and reputation that you’ve forged throughout your career.
Even if you’re in touch with what your value-add means to your next employer, it’s difficult to articulate it for others to read! It’s even harder to translate your personal brand into the context of a cohesive executive or professional resume.
Start by researching your leadership reputation and the reasons behind your promotions. Talk to others who’ve promoted you: why did they believe in you? Look at your performance reviews. What themes come up again and again?
After writing your resume, show it to colleagues and others familiar with your work. What do THEY think you could be missing about yourself?
In summary, writing your resume can seem like the most challenging part of your job search.
However, don’t give up and just list your duties!
Instead, spend some time figuring out how to frame your most valuable achievements and brand in a way that captures (and holds) employer interest.
Should You Write Your Own Resume?
You’re accomplished and well-suited to a new leadership role. But can you build the business case for rising to the next level?