If You Can’t Sell Yourself, How Do You Expect A Recruiter To?

Do you know how many times a recruiter hears, “just get me in, and I can sell myself.”?

A lot.

Hey, I’m all for confidence – more power to you.

This is a BS statement when it is coupled with a resume that doesn’t demonstrate how their qualifications are a solution to that company’s problem. That’s right, I’m immediately throwing the BS flag in this article.

Hey wait a minute, I know what I am worth, I know I’m the solution or savior here, I know how to sell myself – why is that BS?

Because the theory behind this does not jive with the practical application you are employing.

Are you expecting to just have a conversation with the recruiter and they will then translate all your goodness to the prospective employer in order that you will get the interview?

Shame. Shame on you.

You want the recruiter to get you in there, for goodness sake, help them out!
Most recruiters I know are not going to redo your resume, and they shouldn’t. Their time is valuable and their talents aren’t in resumes. It is in matching solutions (you) to problems/needs (their clients – technically their client’s problems or needs).

If your resume doesn’t prove this, odds are you really can’t sell yourself. I’m not trying to be harsh, just help you out.

Your resume is setting the stage. It’s getting the prospective employer to get excited. It’s setting the tone of your brand. If you have a recruiter who can talk you up and get an employer interested, there is going to be a step back when the employer sees that lackluster resume.

Why?

Incongruence.

If you have the goods (and you do), it should come across in everything about you: your LinkedIn, your resume, your interview – every conversation, everything about you.

The reality is, writing your resume is hard and it sucks.

Holy cow, trying to capture what they want to hear, putting it in a way that doesn’t sound like your bragging, making sure it has the right verbiage – that’s a lot of work. It isn’t done in a day. And it’s not something to overlook or take for granted.

You’ve got to know what is important to that industry or company. What are their challenges? You also have to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise or experience in solving similar problems so they can clearly see that if you have done it before, you are more than likely able to do it again – for them.

Giving your recruiter a plane jane resume then asking them to talk you up is like having your buddy try to set you up with someone you are keen on but don’t give them any selling points. So they end up telling that person that you have a ‘great personality’.

Maybe you do have a great personality, but wouldn’t it be better to tell them that you haven’t missed a single opening day at Wriggly Field if that person is a Cubs fan?

Give your recruiter something to work with – it makes their job easier, which translates to getting you in the door faster. Have a quality resume.

I’m not saying that you have to hire me – I’m not saying not to either. What I am saying is to invest in yourself. If you don’t want to make the financial investment to hire a professional, then make the time investment in yourself.

It’s not just for the recruiter or the employer – it’s for you. It will help you clarify your value and develop those impact stories for the interview or networking. Here’s a little help to give you a head start. An article about the two most important elements that need to be demonstrated in your resume: How to Make Everyone – Including you – Stop Hating Your Resume.

That investment will pay off, in spades. Aren’t you worth it?

End Note: if you have tried to write your resume or realize that you can’t or don’t want to, I do welcome you to check out my business site: Career Polish to find out what it is I do, why I love career branding so much and how I can help you.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance. I get people unstuck in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you unstuck

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How to Make Everyone – Including You – Stop Hating Your Resume

 

Let’s have a shout out – who likes to read resumes?

Bueller?

Bueller?

<<<crickets>>>

That’s what I thought. Now imagine if you had to read resumes a lot of resumes – to find the right person for your organization. How much would you enjoy your day?

Why do resumes have such a bad rap? Let’s take a look at some resume language that is very common:

“Experienced XYZ looking to use my leadership and MNO skills to improve blah, blah, blah…

“Responsible for we have already lost interest in whatever this might be….”

Or how about bullet points that are a recap of the job description:

  • Organize and coordinate operations in ways that ensure maximum productivity
  • Supervise employees and provide feedback and counsel to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Maintain relationships with partners/vendors/suppliers
  • Gather, analyze and interpret external and internal data and write reports
  • Assess overall company performance against objectives

Ugh! It’s all a big snooze fest. Not only is it boring, it is painful to read. Why? Because, in essence, the person hasn’t told you anything and it doesn’t even sound like a person!

There are two critical elements that every resume needs to get – and hold – the attention of the reader. Your value and your voice.

Value

Please, please, please stop using your job description as your bullet points. That is telling the reader what you were hired to do, not what you did. Instead, use these as a starting point.

For example: organize and coordinate operations in ways that ensure maximum productivity.

There is no ROI in that statement. It is missing your value. Expand on that by answering who you worked with, how, what you did and how productivity was maximized. Give metrics if possible, if not, describe the before and after.

I want to meet the organization who’s operations are simple enough for one bullet point. Really? Operations covers quite a bit of ground so break it out – show your value across the whole stream. There will be more value and beneficiaries. These could be the company, clients, processes, team, or an individual.

That is a lot of ground to cover – start writing it out. The more the merrier. It gives you more to play with when you are ready to start ruthlessly editing.

Which leads right into the second critical component: your voice

Voice

Please, please, please stop trying to write in ‘resume language’. It sounds unnatural and fluffy full of filler words. Your resume should speak to the reader and it should sound like you. Most of us do not litter our conversations with hundred dollar words when a ten cent-er will do.

Start with the dime conversation. Write out what you do as though you were talking to a real person. Go into detail, be natural, and use words that feel right to you. Don’t even think about putting it in a resume yet, just talk/write like a real person.

Once you get a mound of information, now the fun begins! Time to slice and dice. Look for commonalities that you can group. Is there a shorter way of expressing those two sentences? Ask yourself, what is the real point of these sentences, what do I most want them to know? Start there, then fill in the how’s.

Don’t take anything you do for granted. You may think everyone does what you and the way you do. They don’t. How you approach, solve, or plow through processes or projects is what makes you different.

Differentials are golden. Polish that gold by using your voice. Enhance your voice by using a thesaurus. “Manage” and “responsible for” get old quick. The thesaurus is your friend!

Keep editing, trimming and making sure your words are in there. That is how your voice will come through.

Oh, let’s not forget the keywords. These are critical for a little thing called ATS. Applicant Tracking Software. That is the wonderful tool that most companies use to screen your resume. They are looking for those keywords to qualify or disqualify you for the position.

The best place to find keywords is the job description. Where do you think the ATS gets them?

Just to make it more fun, ATS is getting smarter. It used to be that it only counted the number of key words in the resume. Now some software has evolved to be able to understand concepts. For example, if it is a project manager job, one camp of ATS is looking – and counting – ‘project management’.  The second camp of ATS understands context. It knows that “Managed this project” means project management and it counts.

Incorporate the keywords – and your words – into value rich bullet points. The result will be a resume that the reader will understand and want to find out more.

 

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 I help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.

I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

How To Get Rid Of The Snooze In Your Resume

Snooze Resume

Manage. Responsible. Oversee. Blah, blah, blah.

These are words we often see in resumes but they are words that I call snooze words.  Really, how excited do you get when you read:

  • Manage a team of five.
  • Responsible for Midwest Territory.
  • Oversee client accounts.

I would venture to say not very excited. The words are boring and the sentences tell you nothing – nothing – about the individual or their value.

Snoozefest.

Not only do you want your resume read, you want it to mean something to the reader. The above bullets are void of meaning. They are job descriptions, i.e. what you were hired to do.

The problem with that is this: just because you were hired to do that, doesn’t mean you did it well.

The first part of waking up that resume is to dig a little deeper. What exactly does each one of those statements mean and what does it mean to the reader?

You are writing for the reader. Your main job is to answer their number one question: what can you do for me?

Let’s start with where we are – a boring, non-value statement. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do I work with when I do this task?
  • How do I work with them?
  • What do I do?
  • How does someone/thing benefit from my involvement?

Time to dig. What exactly does it mean to be “responsible” for a territory?

The Who: If you oversee a territory – who do you interact with? Do you have anyone that reports to you? Is there a budget? Or are you an individual sales – if so, who are your clients, partners or stakeholders?

The How: If you manage a team, how do you help them do their job better? If you are a solo sales, how do you build and maintain your client relationships? Do you have a hand in the budget?

The What: When you work with a team, what do you do to inspire them, eliminate problems for them, or improve their performance?  For solo sales, what makes you better at what you do – what do you do differently than anyone else? What strategies or tactics have you employed that have benefited your clients, you or the company? If you work with the budget, how do you keep it in line or how do you save the company money?

The Value: Does the company benefit from the above by having an increase in client accounts or revenue? Did you save the company money? Does your team benefit from your coaching by posting better numbers? Does the company clients benefit because they get better service?

Dig, dig, dig. Keep asking questions about what is involved. Remember, everything you do has value to it or you would not be paid to do it. Write all these things in a conversational tone – do not try to write ‘resume’ at this point.

Now you might come up with something like this (for solo sales):

“I work with clients to help them understand the tax change. In the territory, the state changed its taxing structure from a flat rate to a weight based. This was a huge problem for our clients. I figured out how to work within the system in terms of ordering and inventory so that the new change wouldn’t impact them and it ended up saving them millions of dollars in both taxes and inventory – win-win!”

That is quite a bit for a bullet point, but that is okay, it is a great start! Now let’s get down to the fun stuff – trimming it down and making it meaningful.

Take the most important elements of your first paragraph: work with clients on strategy, tax changes, saving millions in inventory and taxes.   This, my friends, is the basis of your bullet. We could say something like:

  • After tax changes, worked with clients on strategies that saved millions in inventory and taxes.

We could. But it is a bit boring, don’t you think? What is the most important part of this sentiment? That you saved clients millions in inventory and taxes. Then we should follow with the how. Grab your reader’s attention immediately with a benefit.

Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes  – that is our beginning.  Now the how: coming up with a strategy to counter the tax changes.

Ok, that might work, but I think we could punch it up a bit more…..

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes by creating and implementing a strategy that countered recent tax changes.

Still a little boring. Also, we have an assumption in there. If it saved them millions, it is assumed it was implemented.  How about….

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes with a strategy that countered recent tax changes.

Not bad. Not great, but not bad.  You know, we have some space here to talk about how that change was going to hurt them.

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes with a strategy that countered recent tax changes from flat-rate to weight based.

Hmmm.  It needs some punch and then I think we will have it.

  • Saved clients millions in inventory/taxes with strategy that thwarted crippling product tax change from flat-rate to weight-based.

Ahhh yes, that’s it.

The punch comes in the thwarting and crippling.

Here is the final step to get to the impact with punch – your friend and mine the thesaurus.  I have at least three thesaurus references that I use. I like to play them off each other so they don’t start slacking.

My favorite is: http://www.synonym.com/synonyms.  Simply type in a word and search.  It provides definitions, synonyms, and antonyms.  For any synonym in a blue box, just click on that word and it will repeat the process for it. Love it.

Synonym

 

 

Next is good ol’ Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus. It comes with a definition, synonyms and related words. Also, a fun little word of the day – bonus!

Merriam Webster

 

 

Lastly, there is a visual tool, Graph Words: http://graphwords.com/.  It spiders out similar words that you can click on to get a whole new visual.

 

Graph Words

 

These are a few great sites – if you know of or use something different – I would love to hear about it!

When you are finding new words, make sure to use words that resonate with you.  By all means, if you are a more behind the scenes person, do not use a strong word like ‘revolutionary’ if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Find the right fit in describing your value with your voice. That is the winning combination! That is how you delineate your personal brand – your differentials.

All of these sites are free to use and can help put a little punch in your words for a more powerful resume.  Or, as provided my friend the thesaurus, have a resume that is more potent, effectual, compelling, coercive, mighty…..

 

 

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I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.

I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

 

 

CIA Strategy Makes Your Resume Irresistible

CIA Resume Writing

Years ago TheLadders did a study and found that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume. Keep in mind that recruiters are this laser-focused because they do this regularly.

For other audiences, including HR and decision makers, they may give you a bit more time, let’s say maybe 10 seconds.

That is not a lot of time to grab attention and get your message across.

Why do they spend so little time on this initial glance? Because they know what they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time. From their first glance to a more in-depth review, there are two questions they are constantly asking:

What can you do for me?
Why do I want to talk to you versus anyone else?

Your audience is very stealth in reviewing/reading your resume and in order to get – and keep – their attention while answering their two burning questions, you have to be stealth, too.

Like the CIA.

Direct quote from http://www.cia.gov: “CIA’s primary mission is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist White House the President and senior US government policymakers in making decisions relating to national security.”

What is that person doing when reading your resume? They are collecting, analyzing, evaluating and disseminating intelligence – to do what – help the decision maker (or themselves) make a decision relating to hiring.

Once they analyze, evaluate, etc., they then provide reports or briefings. In our situation, they would make a recommendation. How do we provide a roadmap that makes it easy for them to recommend you as the best candidate?

Think CIA. No, not Central Intelligence Agency, our CIA stands for: Critical, Important and Assumed.

Once you have your baseline resume put together, now is the time to get strategic and use the CIA method.

Critical – what is most important to the company, position, and team etc.? These are keepers.
Important – what are your differentials and aspects that are important for the position? These are keepers.
Assumed – what are the elements, tasks, skills, duties, attributes that are going to be expected or are common? These are strike items.

We need to do this on every level within your resume. Let’s take a Bookkeeper for example. Their role, in general, is to create financial transactions and reports. Keyword phrases include issue invoices to customers and suppliers; cash receipts; tag and monitor fixed assets; monitor debt levels; reconcile accounts to ensure their accuracy, etc.

These are all expected and routine – i.e. assumed. We could waste valuable white space by listing them out as bullets (and sound like a job description) as such:

  • Tag and monitor fixed assets.
  • Pay supplier invoices in a timely manner.
  • Conduct periodic reconciliations of all accounts to ensure their accuracy.
  • Monitor debt levels and compliance with debt covenants.
  • Issue invoices to customers.
  • Issue invoices to suppliers.

Boring! Plus, that is a lot to read to just to cover the assumed. However, we do want to include these keywords for the ATS systems.

The solution: ruthless editing, as my mentor Deb Dib would say. Cut, cut, cut. So let’s redo this so it is human and ATS scan friendly:

Bookkeeper, Company Name, Time Period – Time Period
Brief description

Customer/Supplier Invoicing | Account Reconciliation | Fixed Assets | Debt Monitoring | Cash Receipts

• Now create bullets that demonstrate your value: what was the benefit to whom by doing what.

 
We can go even deeper within statements to clarify and condense.

If you had the following sentences:

Blah, blah, blah doing XYZ for A, B, C, and exceeding customer expectations. Delivers exceptional client experiences. Blah, blah, blah….

Let’s take a look at that. We can get rid of the “exceeding customer expectations” at the end of the first sentence because it is assumed that you exceed their expectations if you deliver an exceptional client experience.

See how this works?

It takes a lot more time and strategy to think CIA yet the results are well worth it. You will transform that blah, blah, blah resume into a branding piece with condense, impactful staements with plenty of white space, which makes it easier to scan, read and identify you as the prefered candidate.

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position, and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer, and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership, and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence, and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

In Exercise and Resumes, You Have to Work Harder To Get Results

how i look when i run

I’m just going to warn you now, there is a bit of TMI in this article. As a professional storyteller, I find a touch of personal or a unique story makes content – and the point I am trying to get across – more relatable.  I apologize if this is more than you wanted to know, but I promise there is a point and a purpose.

Twenty years ago it was perfectly acceptable in your resume to simply list job duties. It was certainly easier. Just copy a job description and plop it right there in the experience section. It was ‘good enough’ to give the reader an idea of the job.

Yeah, well, twenty years ago I didn’t have to work so damn hard to not look like a marshmallow with toothpicks sticking out.

Here’s the problem, I have a tiny frame that is out of proportion. I have the same length of legs as my sister, who was about three inches taller than me. Somehow the DNA scrunched up my middle section. Translation – any time I put any weight on it goes straight to my gut and I look like a marshmallow.

Twenty years ago I could easily get rid of the marshmallow by cutting out the carbs for about a week and adding a bit of running on the treadmill to my walks and I hate running.   All while still pretty much eating anything I wanted. So not healthy.

Not anymore. This isn’t an age thing, although I am closing in on 50. This is a pre-menopause thing. (and….there is the TMI). Interesting fact – during pre-menopause it is notoriously common for women to put on weight and it goes straight to their midsection. Seriously, Mother Nature, that is like a double whammy to me! Good night, haven’t I suffered enough with hot flashes? Apparently not.

Lucky for me, I live with a workout nut. Chief works out two hours a day, six days a week. I now go to the gym every morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am and spend about an hour on the treadmill. I am using HIT to incorporate running. The good news – my legs are amazingly strong and look as good as they did twenty years ago. The bad news, it wasn’t enough. I was less of a marshmallow but still a marshmallow. So with a redesign of my eating habits and cutting out added sugar, I am slowly whittling away the marshmallow and getting healthier.  But I really miss my full-on sweet tea!

It is taking too long and is a heck of a lot more work than it was twenty years ago, but I will get my results.

Now, how the heck does that relate to resumes? Your resume is out of shape. Those job descriptions plopped in there – they just don’t cut it anymore.

Here’s the problem, they tell the reader what you were hired to do, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care about what you did.

What value did or do you bring to an organization? Anyone can claim that they are great at a certain skill, but can you prove it? You have to prove it. People reading your resume are only going to believe about half of what you say, so you darn well better prove it.

Lucky for you, I’m going to give you a workout regime that can turn that marshmallow into a four pack (I don’t have enough midsection for a six-pack, so we are going for a four pack).

Step one – warm-up: Determine what is important to the reader. What are their challenges or goals?

 

Step two – hours on the resume treadmill: For each bullet, break it down to who you worked with, how you worked with them, what you did and how they benefited.  Now, you will have stories to tell.

 

Step threeweightlifting: Determine your differentials. What makes you good at what you do? Is it your education, approach, skill set – what makes you better than anyone else in doing what you do? What makes you valuable to an employer?

 

Step four – cool down: Intersect the answers from step one with the answers to step three and support with the answers in step two.  That is your sweet spot.

 

Step five – cut the carbs and sugars: Cut, cut, cut your answers. This is what my mentor calls ruthless editing. Anything that is expected, implied or unnecessary – get rid of it. For example “Successfully launched program that generated 25% increase in ….” Get rid of ‘successfully’. It is implied that it is successful by achieving the results.

 

Step six – add the healthy stuff to your diet: Analyze job postings and descriptions to find keywords. Incorporate those into your resume. Mix it up by using the exact words and using them in context with synonyms. ATS systems either read by content (words specifically) or context (meaning). This means that if a keyword is project management, you can use those specific words for content and use ‘oversaw project….” and the context will understand that it is the same as the keywords even if not exact because oversaw is a synonym of managed. (ATS systems are the computer software that companies use to screen resumes).

 

Step seven – power up the impact: Front load your bullets to put the most important piece of information first. If you saved 30% in costs by redesigning a process, which is most important for the reader or in demonstrating your differential? Is it the cost reduction or the process improvement? Whichever is most important put it first.

 

With the work of following these seven steps and your new resume will put your old one to shame and get the healthy results you are looking for in your job search.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

You Didn’t Come Off an Assembly Line, Your Resume Shouldn’t Look or Sound Like You Did

hamburger assembly

 

The two hardest parts of writing your resume (or any branding piece) is making it sound like you and describing what you do.

When wanting to convey what you do, the default in describing what you do is to rely on your job description.  After all, it describes your job, right? Eh. Maybe.  One problem with using a job description is that it only tells what you were hired to do, not what you did.

The other problem with using a job description is it does not reflect you.  There may be many, many other people that can use the same job description so there is no differential.

Think about McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is known as being a beast of systems.  There is a system in place for everything they do.  Visit a McDonald’s in Indiana and you will be greeted with the same environment and food as a McDonald’s in Tennessee.

In theory, yes.

But have you ever been to a good McDonald’s and a bad McDonald’s? There are two McDonald’s near me that exist within 10 miles of each other but could not be more worlds apart.

The closest McDonald’s is what I call Bad McDonald’s. It literally would take me less than two minutes to run up there and get a half cut sweet tea (a weakness of mine). Yet I will gladly drive 15 minutes further to go to the good McDonald’s.

Why?  The drink is the same from the same company – what makes good McDonald’s worth the extra drive?

The way they do the things they do.

Bad McDonald’s

Bad McDonald’s is dirty. I have seen in the last 12 months only one employee cleaning and that is the young man who is assigned to the outside of the restaurant.  He’s a worker. There is often trash on the floor throughout the inside and on the drink station.  The crew is on a continual rotation of new people whom I have yet to seen smile. I have never seen them trained, but often barked at for not moving fast enough. It is hard to move fast when you don’t know where you are supposed to go or how to operate the register.

It has a vibe of depression.  Orders are often returned for being wrong, young staff is yelled at, the inside is dirty and the management do not seem to care.  I once walked in and saw the manager eating a Pizza Hut pizza in the dining room. One of the newbies had a question so the manager walked behind the counter, looked at the register, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I donno” and went back out to the dining room – all while carrying a half-eaten slice of pizza in their hand!  I left.

Good McDonald’s

Good McDonald’s is spotless inside and out. There is always a worker floating in the dining area to great every person, pick up trash and check on patrons. When ordering you are greeted with an authentic friendly hello and how are you today. Orders are taken quickly. The entire crew works together, smoothly, never seeming to be unfazed no matter how busy it is. They are a well-oiled machine who seems to really enjoy working together and what they do.

Think about your job.  Other people may do the same job that you do, but which McDonald’s are you?

The differential is going to be how you describe what you do, using words that reflect who you are.

Think about the tasks at your position. How do you approach or complete them in a way that is different – dare I say better – than anyone else? What about how you work with other people? What makes life easier for others in working with you rather than someone else?

When you describe these things, use words that feel right to you.  If you are high energy and bring that to the workforce using your powers for good, use words like revamp, champion, launched – words that resonate with your energy level.

In a world of McDonald’s, find a way to differentiate yourself.  Demonstrating your value in your voice is going to be the determining factor for that employer to want to go the extra miles to make you a part of their winning crew.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

“For Your Career or to Find a Job You HAVE to …. “ Nope, No I Don’t

dont have to cant make me

Have you ever met a person that when they are told that they can’t do something, they dig in their heels to want to do it even more?

No?

Well, hello, my name is Lisa – nice to meet you.  Now you have.

You can thank my dad.  He taught me at a very, very young age there is nothing I cannot do and don’t let anyone tell me otherwise. That thought grew into a stubborn determination and, admittedly, times of “I’ll prove you wrong”.

It also morphed into a natural aversion to anything following the phrase “you HAVE to…”

The aversion turns to complete shut down when the have to is used as some sort of threat or fear tactic. I don’t do threats. I don’t work with people who try to scare me into hiring them.

Recently I was contacted by a marketing professional who was willing to help me with my marketing. (I chose the words in that previous sentence carefully with the right amount of sarcasm – willing, help, professional)

He did a preliminary scan of my online presence and during our conversation mentioned that he could not find me on Facebook.  This was followed, in a commanding, condescending tone, with “you have to be on Facebook or you just aren’t relevant.”

Nope.

No.

You see, here is the thing – I am on Facebook (and I am relevant, thank you very much). My company is also on Facebook. Those are two distinct profiles. My personal Facebook is just that – personal. It is not open for the world to view and I only connect with people I know and like. It is my Facebook page, I get to do that.

I have nothing against business owners who open their Facebook to the world or connect with all their clients, prospects and anyone else. More power to them.  If that works for them – awesome, because my online presence separation works for me.  I connect with my professional sphere through LinkedIn.

I do not make blanket recommendations for every client. Not every single client of mine needs to get off Facebook and conversely, not every single client of mine needs to be on LinkedIn.

I love LinkedIn yet I am realistic – it is not a platform that is best for everyone. An example would be some in the financial industry. Their company may have very restrictive parameters for their LinkedIn profile, if they are allowed to have one. It defeats the whole purpose of conveying yourself in an authentic manner when you have compliance dictating what you can say or giving you a script.

While you are in your job search or expansion, personally, I would be wary of anyone telling you that you have to do something or you just won’t succeed.

Let me take it a step further: if you are looking to move forward in your career or looking for the next right job, please allow me to offer a piece of advice.  Research, read and talk to as many people as you desire or can stand about the process; then dismiss everything that doesn’t work for you.

If you research resume writing you will find more articles and information than one person can possibly digest.  It can be overwhelming. It can also be confusing because often, the advice you find contradicts itself.  There are no hard fast rules to resume writing, so see if you can determine common themes of the advice given.  Then apply those for your situation.

If you come across anyone telling you that you have to do something that does not feel right to you, don’t do it. Do not let them threaten you and make you think or feel that you won’t get a job without their advice or help. Also, do not let them scare you into something that makes you uncomfortable. It is wrong, bad business practice and, personally, I think bullying.

My personal favorite way to handle that is when told I have to do something I reply with “No I don’t.”  If they insist on pushing it further and up the ante on the bullying, I respond with something to the effect of I’m a grown up, I don’t have to do anything and they aren’t my dad, they can’t make me.

Hey, if they are going to be childish in trying to threaten or bully me, then they deserve that. It normally does the trick on ending the conversation and any potential future conversations all in one shot.

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I think we all have a career search horror story about being bullied. Mine was when I was in my early 20s I went to a placement firm and was told by the ‘gentleman’ I met with that I would never find a job without his help and my young son would starve. (He literally said that! Not cool to say to a single mother!) The cost of his services: over $5,000 (this was over 20 years ago) and the positions I was looking for were non-executive administrative.  Needless to say, I did not sign up!  But phooey on him, I got a job a couple weeks later at a higher level, great pay at an amazing company.

What was the dumbest/bully-ish/fear factor experience you had in your job search?

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

They Don’t Like You and That is Okay

sticking tongue out

There are times that I talk to someone who is in the midst of job transition and they tell me, with a great deal of frustration, that they use their current resume to apply to everything and never hear back.

My initial response to that is “don’t do that.”

You see, when you apply to everything using one form, you match with nothing.  One size does not fit all.  It is important that you tweak your resume to match with what that employer wants.  Sometimes those tweaks are making sure you bring out more of one quality than another.

For example, if they want someone who has experience as a Zebra wrangler and a bit of Cobra coaching and your resume speaks equally to Zebra wrangling, Cobra coaching and Ant farming, well then a modification needs to take place.  Highlight more of the Zebra with second emphasis on Cobras.

But, they still might not call you.  Even if you match up on their ATS pretty well (the software that analyzes your resume against their opening), they still might not call you.

Why? They may not like you.

“Hey! That’s not fair, they don’t even know me, how can they not like me?!” you might say.

You are right, they do not know you because dollars to donuts you are not in your resume.  This is the voice part that is very important.

It is about fit.  It is about culture.  If you are doing any type of research on job transition you have surely run across articles that speak to the importance of company culture and finding individuals who fit in or can thrive within a company’s culture.

If you are a very outgoing person, full of energy, really bring the life to the relationships and help people and processes get better every day but your resume looks like it was shot down the side with a BB gun and would put you to sleep reading it  – then you are not in your resume.

If you are a behind the scenes kind of person who likes the analysis and roll up your sleeves kind of work to make a difference, putting a splashy resume full of high energy words is not you.  You are not in your resume.

When someone reads your resume – and yes, people do read them after the computer is done – they form an image of you based on the words you chose.  Much like forming a picture of a character of a book based on the words the author uses.  If that image matches with what they want, and what is in line with their company and culture, you will hear from them.

If not, then that phone just won’t ring.

What if you are in your resume, and you are matching the keywords and concepts for each job, and you are still not hearing back?  Well, sorry cupcake, they may not like you. And that is a good thing.

It is a fact that not everyone in the world is going to like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  You have heard the old phrase, ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’?  I was once told “sweetie, you are not a cup of tea, you are a shot of tequila”.  I am more than okay with that.

Not all clients are a great fit for me and I am not a great fit for all clients.  That is why I insist on a conversation before accepting any projects.  Rarely do I come across someone that it is not a good fit.  I put myself out there in my LinkedIn, website and articles who I am and I know that it resonates with the people I like to work with: amazing, fun, intelligent, compassionate professionals who blow me away with their talent, career and genuine personalities.

Back to you, in our prior two examples: the bubbly and the behind the scenes, if you are the bubbly and they want behind the scenes – or visa-versa – they probably won’t call.  That is a good thing.

Think about it, if you like doing your own thing – do you really want to work for a company who wants and expects you to be the bubbly?  No!  If you are bubbly are you really going to be happy relocated to a little cube somewhere in the back without any team interaction? No!

This is when it is time to look at what you are applying for and get a sense of them.  Just as they form an image or impression off of what you have presented, you need to do the same for the company and position.  Do your homework.  If it feels like a drag then do not apply.  Why set yourself up for rejection of something you really did not want in the first place?  Talk about adding salt to the wound!

Some job descriptions are horrendously written.  I mean, c’mon, could you be any more vague?  That is when you need to do some research on the company – if it is listed.  Dig deep, look at other similar openings (if the position is new to you) and get a sense of the job.

Here are three steps to help you hear from the right ones:

  1. Get a feel for the job and company. Really feel it out. Do not check off all the skills that meet what they list – read it.  Listen to it and listen to your gut.  Does it sound like a fit for you beyond the skill set?
  2. Now go back and highlight the keywords and phrases. Match those in your resume and cover letter.
  3. Read your resume again and make sure you are in there. Describe what you did by how you did it and start using words that really resonate with you.  Bubbly might use revitalized, revamped, revolutionized (quite the busy little bee, weren’t they?) and do your own thing might use words like structured, architected, executed.

 

Stop applying for things you do not want.  You are wasting your time and setting yourself up for rejection or worse, getting the job and hating it.  Be you. Do you. Bring it in your resume and allow that right company to see you and come get you!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

 

Don’t You Dare Dumb Down Your Resume!

do not dummy down your resume

Question: “I am overqualified for all the jobs I am applying for and not getting any response – do I need to dummy down my resume to get a response?”

Answer: No.

How is that for a short article? The question was answered, yet it probably does not eliminate the frustration of the original question, so let’s expand a bit.

First, do not ever dummy yourself. Period. For any reason, job or person. It is disrespectful to yourself and that is not a state of mind that is healthy or to operate.

For your resume, it is not a matter or overqualified, underqualified or just right qualified.

There are plenty of candidates that know they are a perfect fit for a job and still do not hear anything back.

There is a bigger issue at hand: focus. Focus on them. Focus on what is important to them. Focus your resume to make that connection.

Most resumes are compiled with two flawed premise: tell the reader what you were hired to do and speak to all your experience.

What you were hired to do are your duties, which are too often used as bullet points. No one cares what you were hired to do. They care what you did.

Speaking to all of your experience is a convoluted road map. This is not about you, this is about them and what they need. Your job is to provide a succulent road map that shows you are the solution to their problems.

Focus

Back to being overqualified and how to focus your resume to a specific position. Let’s use the example of having run your own business and now going after a sales leadership position.

Remember – we are focusing on them. Forget about your history for a minute and analyze the opportunity. Do your due diligence here and identify key factors including:

  • Company size
  • Product
  • Industry
  • Needs
  • Metrics
  • How you be measured and on what
  • Responsibilities

What does this job really entail? Now, how does that match up with what you have done?

If you were running a company, you were doing sales. There is overlap there, find it and mine it.

Running a company and sales have four goals in common: revenue, growth, profit and market penetration/expansion.

When you were running a company, how did you measure success? Do they echo what is typically used in a sales leadership role: ratio of new business versus repeat business, turnover rates, lead response time or rate of contact?

Some typical goals or responsibilities assigned to a VP of Sales or Sales leader include:

  • Strategic planning for developing business, hitting company goals, building go-to-market strategies and corporate sales plans
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, development, aligning behavior to culture
  • managing team of X number of people
  • Growing a channel
  • Managing key client relationships
  • Working in a specific industry, specific products/services to small/medium/large companies or to individuals
  • Closing key opportunities
  • Utilizing CRM to manage team tasks, pipelines and closing data
  • Analyzing, reporting on markets, trends, competition and metrics
  • Budgets, compensation, incentive programs, training, process management / improvement, forecasting

 

The new job’s responsibilities and metrics are your roadmap – take that back to where you have been to build a road right to the opportunity.

Use the 80/20 rule. In your resume, focus 80% of what you put on what aligns with the position and the remaining 20% on the remainder of what you did.

If you ran a company it is not going to be expected that you only focused on sales, there were other important responsibilities that you fulfilled. That is your 20%.

And you don’t have to tell them everything.

If you had some really major accomplishments that you think would scare the crap out of them, you don’t have to put those down. The point of your resume is to tell them your story the way you want them to understand it.

 

Speak to what you want, what you know as it aligns with where you want to go and soon they are going to want to be talking to you!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

To Advance in Your Career – Show the Dynamics of Change in Your Resume

Dog writing resume

Recently I lost one of my best buddies.

Luke on guard
Luke, my personal protector

Luke became a part of my family almost a decade ago and was my constant companion and the court jester of the office.  He was also my personal guard dog. Any time someone came into our home or approached me outside of its confines, he would stand in front of me blocking potential danger and letting the world know, he was my protector.

Our little family of furries is adjusting.  My remaining male dog, Bandit, has now taken on a new role – my personal bodyguard. Anywhere I go, he goes.  On walks he now does not venture more than 10 feet from me. In the evening he watches the boyfriend and inserts himself on occasion just to let him know in that dog way, “I’m watching you buddy, I’m her protector now and I got this.”

Bandit has also changed in that he responds quicker, is more attentive and puffs up in a grandiose style when walking with his mom.  He has assumed Luke’s job as my primary protector.

How does this relate to a resume? It is all about writing forward.

You want to write your resume to where you are going, not where you have been. If that next desired position is the next wrung up on the ladder, write toward that.

What if you do not have direct experience with those required tasks, you ask? Take those tasks and break them down to the skill set necessary to complete the task. What is needed in order to do the job that you want?  List those skills, for example, communication, problem solving, certain applications, presenting, leadership etc.

Now use those skills as the framework when writing where you have been – i.e. you current and past positions.

Bandit has assumed the role of my primary protector, but he is not the alpha in the pack. That place is still held by our 11 year old Great Pyrenees / Yellow Lab mix.  But if he were applying for the alpha position, he would take the qualities it takes and demonstrate how he has performed them in the past. He would use the change in his environment to demonstrate those skills.

When there is a change in your work environment, take a moment to reflect how this has impacted you. Have you been asked to step up and do more, take on additional assignments, lead certain components of projects?

If your boss asks you to take on additional responsibility, you can easily transition that into your resume by stating that you were depended upon or requested by executive leadership to assume those duties which align with parts of the next step position.

It is more than okay to give the parameters of what is going on relative to the changes in what you do. In other words, tell the story. It is important to paint the picture of having to take on more stuff, in addition to your own, to demonstrate your flexibility, dependability, adaptation and work ethic. It shows you are ready for more.

happy office puppy
Bandit assuming his new status as bodyguard

Bandit might write, “after departure of primary protector, immediately assumed all duties and responsibilities for continual safety and security without downtime.”  He could say “maintained 100% customer satisfaction in vermin extraction while assuming the duties of full protection detail eliminating the need for a new full time bodyguard.” (You could say until a full time bodyguard replacement could be found, but no way will that happen in our house.)

Change is not always easy or fun, yet it can provide key experiences that will help you advance to where you want to go next – as long as you show the dynamics of the change and how it prepared you to take that position now.

 

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right