After a career spanning 20 years it can be difficult to summarize all your experience on one sheet of paper and, actually, we don’t recommend you do this. This can be especially challenging for top level executives with a diverse skill set and multiple responsibilities. However, breathe a sigh of relief because you do not have to put every single thing you have done on your resume nor is there a rule that it must be on a single page. Saying that, we don’t recommend you go over 3 pages. The most important thing to remember when crafting your application materials is that quality beats quantity. Take a hard look at your current resume and identify what is missing and what can be removed. It may even be useful to completely start your resume from scratch to allow you to rethink your brand and expertise.
When choosing what to include, make sure you first understand where you have been in your career, where you are, and where you want to go.
1) Identify the experiences relevant to where you want to go
The majority of Americans in the work force will begin their career in one area of business, and find themselves working in a completely separate area ten years later. One of our executives, Anita, for example began her career in advertising at a mid-sized agency and now is the Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion at a large company. Even though she was a successful advertiser, not all her experience was relevant when she began to focus on recruiting multicultural talent. The first thing Anita did was create a “You Need, I Have” form. In this form she researched all the skills her prospective employer was looking for in a Diverse Talent Manager and identified the skills she currently had that met those needs. She then used this insight to highlight those relevant skills on her resume, while removing skills that were not as valued in her new role.
2) Include your most recent positions
This may go without saying. However, many executives forget to include the positions they held before their promotion to the C-Suite when the promotion came from within the company. Before Anita became the Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion at her company, she was a director and manager. Employers want to know about that experience too, and trace your journey to the top. Your resume should tell recruiters the story of how you came to where you are today. Our suggestion is to include your most recent THREE positions, and an earlier position only if it is different from the other positions and relevant to where you want to go. Don’t include too much information on the positions that have nothing to do with the job you are interviewing for. Do include more detail, especially measurable results, on jobs that are in line with the position you are interviewing for.
3) Assign consultant positions under one Job Heading
When you have worked more than 20 years, there are times that you probably consulted between jobs or opted to have that flexibility for personal reasons. It’s best to include them all under one job heading so they appear as one job versus 2-5 different jobs. Include them all within the one time period starting with the starting month/year of the first freelance position to the ending month/year of the last one. You can include month/year (in light gray) per freelance period within the section for each consulting job but don’t include too much detail on those jobs as it will make the resume too lengthy. Just include main points that would be suitable for the position you are now looking for.
4) Highlight special skills and projects
Although most people summarize their resume to include 4-8 bullet points per job, we know that you do so much more than that. You have worked on countless projects and tasks that may fall out of what you do on the day to day. If any of these projects or experiences are extremely noteworthy to the position you are applying for, put it on your resume. As recruiters we like to see that you did more than what you were responsible for on the day-to-day. We are going to use Anita as our example again. While she was at the advertising agency, a client tasked her to create a campaign to attract Hispanic and African American markets. The campaign was so successful that it launched her passion for diversity and inclusion and caught the eyes of her new employer when they read it on her resume.
5) Make yourself more than an employee
Most executives will often find themselves doing more than just one job. They will sit on the boards of non-profits, engage in philanthropy, or hold advising positions at other companies. As recruiters we want to know about these positions too. Your resume is your story, and we know you are a lot more than just your job. Not only does it help you exhibit your qualifications for the position but it also builds your brand. Expressing these interests and positions on your resume personalizes your application, and makes you stand out above others who only put their job on their resume.
When choosing what experience to include on your resume, remember that your resume is your story. Include only what will be relevant to where you want to go and where you have been. However, do not let your resume reduce your story to simply your job. More than anything else, your resume is the biggest tool you have to build your brand. Your resume is one of the best tools you have to help you stand out. Not sure if your resume experience matches where you want to go? Contact Us, and we will be happy to help you advance your career in new ways.
Congratulations! You have accepted a job offer at another company and are ready to make the transition. You’ve turned in your two weeks and started packing up your desk. All of a sudden, your current boss calls you into his office and out of his files pulls out a counter offer for you to stay. What do you do? Do you take it or do you politely decline and finish your packing? This is the decision the majority of employees face when choosing to leave to another company. Counter offers are all too common, and over 60% of employees will receive a company offer before switching companies. Even though the counter may seem persuasive, it’s still probably not the best option for you or your career for a number of reasons.
1)The company may not be keeping you for the right reasons
It may be flattering that the company wants to keep you, but the question you should be asking is “why they want to keep you.” The hard truth is that the reason they want to keep you so bad is because training someone new takes a lot of time and money. Although they may have given you a nice raise, or even a promotion, the amount they would have spent training someone else would have cost a lot more. It may still be true that they want to keep you for your irreplaceable work ethic, but hiring costs were also a factor.
2)Your salary increase has to be coming from somewhere
For most companies, budgets are approved at the beginning of the fiscal quarter or year. What that means for you is that pay raises and bonuses do not come out of thin air. The monetary increase included in your counter offer had to come from another pot, and in most cases that pot was yours. The bonus or raise you may have gotten later that year is gone the second you accept the counter offer. Therefore, you actually are not getting anything extra that you wouldn’t have already gotten before.
3)There was a reason you wanted to leave
Think back to when you were still weighing the pros and cons of the new company and your current company. There was a reason you chose to leave your current company to pursue the new opportunity. These may have involved company culture, people, career growth, benefits, or pay. If you go with the counter offer, nothing will change. The company culture will remain the same, you will be working with the same people, and even if you did get a raise, more benefits, or a promotion these will just postpone the next time you move up in your career. The new company is offering to reboot your career, their recruiters find value in you and the move may even surprise you.
4)Trust between you and your employer is not what it was before.
Once you turned in your letter of resignation to your boss, you told them your intentions to leave for greener pastures. They know that there are certain benefits that another company is offering you that persuaded you to want to leave, and if you could be persuaded once what keeps you from getting persuaded again? Even if you accept the counter offer, your relationship with the company won’t return back to normal for months or even years. This distrust may harm your career the next time it’s time for a promotion, or even keep you from accessing certain parts of the business.
5)You burnt the bridge with the other company
The other company is putting their trust in you. You have already accepted the offer, and you have given them your word that you would work with them. By going against your word you are tarnishing your brand and your image with the company. If you don’t like it, then there is a much higher chance that your current company will hire you back than the other company taking a chance on you again. Your chances of being given another offer with the same company later in your career have dramatically decreased.
We understand that counter offers can be tempting and sometimes even over-whelming. However, by making the switch you will advance your career and gain a new set of skills in a new environment that will help you grow. If you are thinking about leaving your current company but don’t know where to start, contact us and we will get the ball rolling toward new opportunities.
The most common interview question interviewers ask is, “Tell us about yourself?” If you aren’t ready to answer this question then you’re already in a lot of trouble. Your response to this question should be a 2-3 minute introduction highlighting your career, skills and passions. The best way to prepare for this question is to simply ask yourself, “What is my brand?” You have to convey your brand to the interviewers and leave them with something to remember you by. Your reputation is your personal brand, and your brand is what sets you apart from the others.
How do you make your brand stick with recruiters and hiring managers? Here are FIVE tips to ensuring that your brand lingers in their minds weeks after your interview.
1) Your brand doesn’t have to be only “professional”.
You are human and your brand should be too.
Don’t let your corporate skillset distract you from who you are. Companies want to get to know you as much as they want to know if you are capable for the job. Let them know you do more in your free time than developing marketing campaigns. Figure out what your passions are and convey that in your interview when appropriate. This is the area to fill in the blank to “the girl or guy who…” The more unique to you it is, the better.
2. Be more than who your resume says you are.
Leave them with something to remember you by.
Unless you left them with something to remember you by, most interviewers will not remember your name when making their decision on who to hire. However, they will remember what you told them. It’s not enough to be John Smith from Dallas anymore. When you leave the interview room, be John Smith the award winning photographer. John Smith the cliff climber. John Smith the weekend karate teacher. You want them to remember you for something more than just John Smith the Creative Director.
3. Anyone can learn a skill, but strengths are unique to you.
Identify your strengths versus your skills.
Skills are defined as something that you do well, whereas strengths are a good quality or attribute about you. The difference between the two is skills can be learned, while strengths are slower to develop over time. Jennifer down the hall may be just as good at SPSS as you are, but is she as meticulously patient when discovering trends in the data? Both you and Jennifer are skilled in SPSS but your difference is that your strengths lie in your work ethic and attention to detail.
4. Getting the job is as much about how relatable you are than it is about your skillset.
Find commonalities with your interviewers.
If your bosses are going to spend eight hours a day working with you, they want to know if they can relate to you first. Find commonalities with them, and nurture those until you form a connection. This is all part of instilling your brand with the interviewer so they remember you after the interview.
5. Invest in Professional Career Coaching
Utilize a career coach to help shape your brand.
Sometimes it can be hard to look at ourselves objectively. Asking friends and family what your strengths and weaknesses are can be hard because they are biased toward you. At DCAProSearch we offer some of the highest caliber career coaches in the industry. We work with you to develop your brand, and help you build the brand that will land you that dream job. Visit our website, or give us a call to learn how to use a career coach to build your brand.
Want to learn more about how to build your brand? Contact us and let us get to know your personal brand.