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by Julia Salem
Aug 30 2016
BlueSteps chats with Lene Berge, BlueSteps Career Advisor, who recently published Uncover. Position. Thrive: Your Guide to Job Search and Career Growth.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with BlueSteps about career management and your new book. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I am a Norway-based executive coach, resume writer, trainer/speaker, and careers author who loves what I do! I have lived and worked in five continents, and gained tremendous experience in recruiting, HR, and career management. In 2013, I established Be You, offering both individuals and companies an entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box and global mindset to career management. My focus is to zero in on the talents and strengths of each of my clients, and leverage that to benefit their careers. The idea to write the book stems from my experiences with coaching and advising my own clients.
A large part of the beginning of your book requires taking the time to list out one’s strengths, traits, etc. Why is doing such a thing important to the beginning of an executive’s job search or career management strategy?
We need to know ourselves to know where we will fit! Investing in thoughtful reflection is essential when preparing for a career move and focusing where we want to go in the long haul. It helps to identify careers and opportunities that we are most compatible with, and better align who we are to our target prospects in our career literature and during interviews. Just being qualified for a role is not enough these days. It is the characteristics that define us, that will make a potential employer take notice.
Your book provides a wide-range of insights and examples for executive resumes. What are some common mistakes you notice executives make on their resumes?
I’ve seen many great executive resumes, but the most common mistakes I see are resumes that lack a clear strategy and focus – they are too generalized, too long, plain and not very engaging. My clients are usually incredibly smart and accomplished individuals, yet they struggle to identify what information to include, exclude, and how to craft that information into a compelling, distinctive and authentic presentation.
Uncover. Position. Thrive. provides a few examples of how to create a LinkedIn profile. How can executives further use LinkedIn to their advantage after their profile is perfected?
LinkedIn is a platform that links us to new and old connections, and serves as a foundation to build our professional brands. It is critical for both our job search and career growth strategies. It is a good idea to connect with new people on a regular basis to uncover career, market and business intelligence; and to get referrals to people who can influence the decision making for a job opening. Having a large network will also give more visibility.
Writing articles, blogging, and engaging in discussions is also a great way to engage with industry peers and attract recruiters and hiring executives to our candidacy.
In your book, you provide a few examples of cover letters and e-notes. In today’s digital world, why are these still valuable to include?
Cover letters or e-notes are still important and should not be underestimated. A well-written cover letter connects the qualifications in our resume with our personal interests in the role at hand. Ideally in a way that’s short, punchy and captivating enough to make the reader eagerly flip ahead to our resume. It is really our chance to tell why we think the company should hire us.
One of the most difficult things for some executive candidates is bringing their personal brand to life from their resume to the live interview. Any advice on the best ways to represent oneself consistently?
We need to have a strong clarity on who we are and what we want to be known for, both when crafting our career literature and going into an interview. In both cases, we should display our personal brand accurately, showing authenticity, passion, and the essence of our professional identity. In an interview, we need to integrate our brand with the way we will help the company specifically in meeting their current needs and challenges. In addition, when speaking about the things we are passionate about at work – our strengths, drivers and personal attributes – it is easier for people to bond with us. We should always try to leave an interview feeling like we really managed to show who we are and how we can be an asset to the organization.
Any final words of advice for our executive readers?
Absolutely, there are two pieces of career management advice that I would like to share from the book:
- Your mindset is everything; it is the most important factor in your level of success. People with a positive, win-win mindset also know that they will not get there alone. They connect with the right people and resources, and help others succeed in order to achieve great things themselves.
- If you behave in ways that come most naturally to you, and make decisions before circumstances force you – you are allowing your personal brand to organically evolve and flourish. In other words, you want to proactively manage your brand, rather than allowing people around you to define who you are and what you stand for.
Lene Øveland Berge extends an exclusive offer of free shipping to all BlueSteps members who purchase a copy of Uncover. Position. Thrive: Your Guide to Job Search and Career Growth by November 15, 2016. To claim your discount simply write “BlueSteps Member” in the Order Notes and choose the Local Pickup option for delivery (but remember to provide your address!) You can purchase the book at be-you.no.