by Roger Ford
Feb 26 2014
As an executive, you use every available tool to ensure success for the companies and teams you lead and direct. Certainly your own career advancement should embrace every possible resource and strategy to guarantee an efficient and effective executive job search campaign.
Here are five “Must-Have” documents for your career development arsenal:
1. Executive Resume. No surprise here, but beware! Resumes have changed radically in the past few years. Make sure your resume meets today’s modern standards.
- Keep it brief: Two pages is ideal. Focus on your top achievements, strongest selling points, and greatest strengths.
- Make it scannable: Use a design that quickly draws the readers’ eyes to the entries that best communicate your unique brand.
- Be concise and specific: Skip the long-winded summaries for short phrases with quantified results to communicate the value you offer.
- Include keywords: Indicate your specialties with a short list at the top, and be sure and weave keywords strategically throughout your text.
- Attach an ATS-friendly version: Always offer a second version of your executive resume that has been specifically optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems.
2. LinkedIn Profile. You might not think of your LinkedIn Profile as a “document,” but it is a written representation of who you are and what you offer prospective employers. And make no mistake, once recruiters review your resume, their next step is to find you on LinkedIn. Make sure your LinkedIn Profile communicates information beyond your resume. Do NOT simply cut and paste your resume into your LinkedIn Profile. Of course the two should reinforce one another, but allow your LinkedIn Profile to reveal your personality as well as your brand.
3. Executive Biography / Leadership Profile. An Executive Biography is a brief career narrative using storytelling techniques. It can include your defining career moments, the impact of your personal attributes on your calling, major adversities and challenges you faced and how they made you stronger, and more. It allows you to showcase soft skills, capitalize on “CAR” stories (Challenge, Action, Result), and elaborate on your leadership style.
4. Personal Marketing Brief. Think of this document as your “resume on steroids.” It is a powerful one-page snapshot of your career search targets, including your desired professions, companies, and industries. Additionally, this networking tool identifies your individual brand, specialized background, and major accomplishments. Your Personal Marketing Brief introduces you and your job search objectives to recruiters and hiring managers.
5. Business / Networking Card. Of course you have a professional business card. But is your current card ideal for connecting with new opportunities? You may wish to create a distinct version of your card just for networking. This card would include:
- Your name.
- Your target title and / or industry.
- Your branding statement or unique selling proposition (USP).
- Cell phone number (NOT your current work phone number!).
- Email address (again, not your work email).
- Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Keep your card’s look (font, logo, etc.) consistent with the rest of your career documents (resume, executive bio, personal marketing brief). Use large enough fonts to make the card easy to read, but strive to keep it uncluttered and elegant. And invest in a quality, heavy card stock. It’s unlikely you will carry your resume with you everywhere you go, but when it comes to your business / networking card: “Don’t leave home without it!”
Executive job search requirements have certainly changed over the past five years, and continue to change as we move into the future. But for the present, create a portfolio of the five documents described above, and you will be more prepared to achieve executive job search success.