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: (more…)
You’re up against intensive competition from executives with a wealth of experience.
But will you NEED to find an executive resume writer to help you compete at this level? Does every executive outsource this part of the job search?
It depends. While it’s true that every impression counts in today’s job market – and that many executives turn to a professional resume writer, there are cases where you’ll be able to rely on a self-written document.
Weigh these 5 considerations when deciding to use the services of an executive resume writer or go it alone:
1 – Is resume writing your strong suit?
If you’re a naturally expressive writer, you might be able to compose the detailed, achievement-rich story of your background needed to capture interest at an executive level.
Rather than spending considerable time on your leadership resume, it can make more sense to concentrate on efforts that only you can undertake – such as strengthening your networking relationships, starting conversations with executive recruiters, and polishing your LinkedIn / social media presence.
2 – Do your competitors hire executive resume writers?
Look around at your executive competition to see if their LinkedIn Profiles appear polished and personally branded – AND if they’re successfully landing new jobs. You might see some trends.
Executives in sales and marketing roles, for example, regularly tap into resume writing services to help them edge out the competition. (Many resume writers will tell you their main business is centered on serving sales leaders).
In fields involving more jargon and technical skills, though, you may find executive resume writing services to be the exception.
As an example, some medical professionals are able to target a leadership role if their degrees, places of residency, or areas of practice speak for themselves. In the case of this Chief Executive Officer, an expertly crafted resume was instrumental in organizing large amounts of data.
Many CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, CNO, and CLO candidates hire executive resume writers because they’re accustomed to outsourcing tasks of high complexity.
At this level, your executive resume will be compared against well-crafted portfolios. Don’t come up short!
3 – Are your skills extremely rare – and in hot demand?
If your phone is already ringing off the hook with calls from executive recruiters, or you’re receiving at least several LinkedIn messages per week from employers eager to bring you in for an interview, you may not need to turn to an executive resume writer (as long as you’ve compiled your career history into a presentable document).
The same will be true if your field has few experts – and your resume or LinkedIn presence will therefore generate interest quickly.
On the other hand, if you find sending out your executive resume only results in the sounds of silence (even after tweaking it to fit job descriptions or add accomplishments), then it’s time to consider an executive resume writer as part of your strategy.
4 – Have you been able to write (not just talk) about yourself effectively?
Many people can tell a colorful story of their achievements and career high points – but only if asked probing questions, and only in talking through their stories. (This is why I interview executive clients and take copious notes.)
If you possess this type of “blind spot,” then struggling to write your own executive resume can be a daunting task. In this case, you’ll find collaborating with a top-notch resume expert to be invaluable, as they’ll spend the time to draw out both your career stories and the relevance of each one to your ultimate goal.
However, there are executives who’ve stayed in close touch with their inner marketer, continually documenting success stories that effectively describe their career paths. If this applies to you, then writing your own executive resume isn’t that much of a stretch.
5 – Are you up to speed on trends in executive resume writing?
Many people are surprised at the new look of leadership resumes, particularly when they reviewexecutive resume samples to get an idea of what others are using in job search.
If you’ve stayed relatively current on resume trends, or had a resume professionally written within the past 2-3 years, you may be able to put together a striking presentation that will capture attention.
Conversely, if you’re unaware that an executive resume can take up more than a page, you don’t know how to adjust a resume for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) or mobile devices, or if you’ve never experimented with fonts beyond Arial or Times New Roman, then your job search can suffer significantly from a bland resume – and you’ll need expert help.
Most IT Directors are charged with managing projects at an enterprise scale, creating new infrastructures that set the business up for growth, or resolving support issues that threaten business operations.
Here’s where you’ll want to consider the scope and impact of these initiatives on the business for your IT Director resume. Answering these questionswill help you pull in the metrics of most value to employers: (more…)
Recently, I had a conversation with an executive who was concerned about the effectiveness of her resume.
While I can’t comment on how well it represented her (since I’m not familiar with her career), I couldn’t help but notice the diverse job goals listed across the top: “CIO – Operations Director – CEO.”
Wow! That’s a lot to ask of any executive resume – and it’s a lot to hang your professional hat on as well during a job search.
Here’s why: the hiring audience looking for each of those executive leaders will be focused on an entirely different part of your experience and competencies. (more…)
Cisco Systems announced its largest layoff ever in July 2011, and employees are certainly feeling the aftershocks.
With 6,500 staff being cut (up to a 14% drop in its workforce), Cisco has announced that it plans to restructure in order to maintain a competitive position.
If you’re one of those affected by this or other layoffs, what should you do? It’s no secret that professionals have bemoaned the state of the job market now for several years.
Will YOU fare better? Yes (and you can read more here about your chances of finding a job quickly), but you’ll need to map out a plan that is as sound as any project you’ve ever tackled.
Consider that most people going through the shock of a layoff tend to react quickly, aggressively responding to posted jobs without taking time to regroup or prepare a plan. This is at least one main reason behind a job search that drags on for too long.
Then, there’s your competition: even though like Google, Apple, Yahoo, Citrix, and NetApp will be waiting at Cisco’s door to lap up well-qualified talent, there’s no shortage of eager job hunters ready to outdo your search tactics.
Therefore, it pays to take these key steps in your search:
1 – Decide if you’re able to relocate.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll face in the job search is also one that can have the most impact. If you have the ability to put down roots somewhere else, you’ll become a better candidate for other technology companies outside of Cisco—and for recruiters.
2 – Map out your desired targets.
You’ll need to not only identify the best companies for your talent, but also research their needs.
What is going on inside your target companies or industries? What business challenges do they face? And most importantly, how will YOUR skills make a difference there?
When you sit down to write a cover letter directed toward these firms, you’ll be glad you went through this exercise. Spend some time online and within professional journals to extract data on what these companies need, then write directly to their pain points.
3 – Polish your resume – but not in a vacuum.
Yes, your resume needs to be as ready as possible to compete against others, but don’t forget that a large part of what gets someone hired is the reaction they get from employers.
Therefore, it makes sense to circulate your resume among former Cisco colleagues and networking contacts for feedback—ensuring that you haven’t missed anything critical about your skills or projects.
This is true even if you have it professionally written – you’ll want to verify that your resume writer understands technology.
4 – Identify networking venues (online or otherwise) and potential contacts.
Networking doesn’t always mean in-person contact, but the more personal, the better. If you already belong to a professional or trade association, start using these contacts. If you don’t, now’s the time to join one.
Getting involved at either a local or national level in these associations can help boost your visibility, as can joining Groups within LinkedIn. Here, you’ll want to join in professional discussions, but on the subject of technology or engineering topics, NOT to advertise your job search.
Within LinkedIn, you can also use the Advanced People Search function to gather names of potential contacts, either because they work at your target companies or they have some insight to offer. Don’t forget recruiters, either – online networking gives you a good chance to check them out.
5 – Maximize your LinkedIn Profile.
If you’ve ignored your LinkedIn Profile for a while, now’s the time to beef it up. Recruiters like to look carefully at your job titles, education, and critical achievements online before considering you for a potential slot.
You’ll also find (as many of my engineering and leadership clients do) that your interviewers will look you up on the site, and so you’ll want that Profile to be more than ready – with a professional or personal headshot, a powerful Summary, and solid listing of job titles and accomplishments.
Following these 5 tips will give you a strong head start on the competition you’ll encounter, both in the job market at large and from other Cisco employees.
Even with substantial job market challenges, strategic planning pays off with a faster job search – and a better position on the other end.
Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC
“As In-House Counsel for a Fortune 1000 Company, I retained Laura to revamp my resume. As a result of her attention to detail, Laura was able to grasp complex topics quickly… and highlight my broad skill set, with a product worthy of my past accomplishments.
I highly recommend Laura to all others who want to get on the fast track to success!”
“Laura’s work is exceptional… providing a highly valuable service that gets results! She is a master at professionally capturing career experience with both speed and precision into a product that makes a difference. PLUS, she knows exactly the techniques to fully leverage LinkedIn and keyword SEO.
I highly recommend Laura’s professional services.”