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There’s nothing that will derail an otherwise stellar career trajectory than a new job that isn’t the right fit. Suddenly, the choice becomes whether to accept unhappiness and continue down what you know is a dead-end road, or deal with having a short stint to explain to your network, on your resume, and during interviews.

One way to avoid accepting a wrong-fit opportunity is to avoid being offered one to begin with.

That’s right.

It may sound great to have a slew of job offers to turn down, but this amounts to, at best, a waste of time (both yours and the prospective employers) and at worst, extreme temptation to make the wrong move.

As an executive career consultant of 25 years, I am often asked: “Is this a good resume?” However, it is impossible to answer this frequently asked question without understanding the individual’s career context. An executive resume can be considered “good” for a variety of reasons. What really matters is if it is an effective resume, which is much harder to achieve.

Whenever I do a resume consultation, I always start by asking, “What is your goal?” The answer to that question is what guides how the resume is written. Your resume needs to be aspirational as much as it is historical to achieve its purpose. 

Imagine the following scenario...

You come up with a breakthrough idea that will disrupt your market or sharpen your company’s competitive edge. You hire the most reputable researchers to meticulously analyze the potential market and its challengers. You recruit the best prototype engineers to labor over features and design. You partner with acclaimed product-testing labs to ensure that you get it right the first time. You invest heavily in high-price-tag Big-5 consultants to scrupulously plan every detail of the supply chain to optimize performance from Day 1. executive resume

As any executive who has tried to write one will know, creating an effective executive resume requires reflective thinking, strategic planning, considerable time and effort, and a lot of proof-reading. For executive career advisors, recruiters and potential employers who view resumes on a daily basis, there are many common pitfalls that executive candidates succumb to which could be easily avoided if they had been provided with the correct advice. Based on questions submitted by BlueSteps webinar registrants, BlueSteps has compiled a list of executive resume FAQs to help you on your way to optimizing your own document.

 

 

I see lots of resumes every week – some are sent in by my hiring team, some come to me from absolute strangers via LinkedIn & some come via referrals from friends & acquaintances.

Often, I have experienced a difference between the persona reflected in the resume, and the person you meet in reality. Based on my real-life experience, here’s my take on what C-level cover letters & resumes should look like: 

Most of the professionals I come into contact with as an executive resume writer are exceptionally talented individuals. They are master business strategists, breakthrough innovators, quality visionaries, and relentless change leaders—with the epic accomplishments to prove it. That’s why I am surprised when some of them fail to approach their executive job search with the same spirit of enterprise.  When asked about their plan, they say, “I’ll pay a recruiter to find me a job” and “All I need is a strong resume.”  

First of all, recruiters are paid by client companies, not the job seeker. 

It may come as a surprise that—as someone who earns a living writing resumes for executives—I do, on occasion, turn prospective clients away.

The reason? They aren’t ready for my services.

For a resume to be effective, it must unequivocally position a candidate for the function, industry, and challenge they are hoping to take on next. But I often speak to executive job seekers who don’t have a clear idea of where they are aiming. Trying to polish and prime your resume when you haven’t clarified your objective is akin to sharpening arrows and then hoping to shoot them blindfolded and still hit the target. 

Executives can more effectively position themselves for new opportunities, and dramatically decrease time spent in-transition by ensuring that their three vital career documents are fully optimized and up-to-date. Executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters form the cornerstone of any job search or career progression, so time should be invested in them to ensure your results are maximized.
 

executive_resume_optimization

Few would deny that self-awareness is critical in optimizing our performance—whether we’re trying to ride a bike or coach a large team to overturn a period of stagnation in business. Endless literature backs up the benefits of pausing, meditating, reflecting, prioritizing, and in general improving our self-awareness. In fact, it is at the heart of everything from executive coaching to mindfulness retreats to your run-of-the-mill self-help books.

Have you mastered the art of telling concise, meaningful, high-impact stories in all of your career marketing communications?
 
Just as it can be a challenge to be objective about yourself and your career, it is equally difficult to “self-edit” the information you share with others during critical career transitions. It can all seem important because you’re so close to it. And you don’t want to omit something that might possibly be relevant, so the tendency is to share everything and trust your readers/listeners to sort out the gold.