Resumes That Work For You

Mary Rosenbaum | October 28th, 2009

Do you believe a resume will get you a job or an interview? If you think it gets you the job then it’s time to rework your resume. In today’s world you have to think of yourself as the Product. And if that’s the case then your resume along with your collateral materials, as well as the way you interview have to reflect your product’s personal brand. Gone are the days when your resume used words such as:

  • responsible for
  • managed
  • handled
  • led

Instead, your resume should be much more focused on your major accomplishments and the value you added for your employer. It should be skills focused and success oriented with quantitative results used whenever possible that demonstrate your impact on revenue generation, cost reduction, team building, problem solving, and relationship building.

Hard skills (years of experience, education) are what get you in the game. It’s the soft skills (accomplishments, how you work) that provide the differentiating factors when decisions are made between who to bring in for an interview and which resumes to delete. Flexibility and creativity are two important characteristics that employers look for when making new hires. Your listed accomplishments should highlight these characteristics in a show, don’t tell, manner.

Your resume should speak to an employer’s needs and demonstrate how you can help them. When putting together your branded resume try to answer the following questions:

  • What are my assets?
  • How am I different/better than my competitors?
  • What do I bring to the job/company that is unique?
  • What are the prospective employer’s greatest needs and how does what I offer help them?
  • What weaknesses or shortcomings do I have that might prevent me from getting the interview/job? How can I ameliorate them?

Your resume should be geared to the particular job for which you are applying. The more tailored your resume, the more time you spend customizing it, the better your chances at getting the call to come in.

Take Control of Your Career

Mary Rosenbaum | October 15th, 2009

Although 2009 experienced the highest unemployment numbers in decades, the latest figures indicate that layoffs are still continuing. You may be thinking that since you made it through the last year and a half you are safe. But the reality is that now is the time to make sure that you have a hand in controlling your own destiny.

What do I mean by that? First, it’s important to make sure that those people that make decisions related to salary, promotion, hiring or firing know of your unique value added. Second, this is an ideal time to identify ways for you to grow and progress professionally. In other words, it’s time to manage your career.

These are some things you can do to ensure that you not only stay employed but that you continue to grow as well as put the best “you” forward.

1. In addition to staying current in your field, you should try to stay a step ahead by anticipating what new tools and knowledge can improve your performance, and enhance your resume. Check out courses you can take or certifications that might enhance your resume as well as your performance on the job.

2. Don’t wait for new projects to find you. Create new ways for you to contribute to your company’s success/bottom line. By showing your creativity you will be building your own net worth and social capital (you make your boss look good if you look good).

3. Try to identify what differentiates you from the person sitting directly behind you. What is your unique value to the firm, your added value that affects the bottom line of your company? This is your brand differentiation and why you will retain your position while those around may not. This is when you take stock of what you do well, what motivates you, and how you can capitalize on your strengths while building your own personal brand.

4. Make sure those who have the power know your unique value. It’s hard to cc the big boss on all your emails, but it might be possible for you to volunteer for a project that puts you in closer proximity where she/he can see you in action as well as hear of your successes. Attend meetings or speaking engagements where the power people congregate and network with them before and after these events. The idea is for them to know your name, what you do, and ultimately what your unique value is to the firm.

5. Maintain a positive can do attitude at work. When times are uncertain and there are empty desks around you, it’s only natural to feel somewhat unhappy or depressed. Don’t let that sadness creep into your everyday work life. A positive attitude makes work easier, more fun, is infectious, and makes those observing you think well of you.

These recommendations will serve you well. I have had clients tell me that work seems more interesting as they try to grow their own areas of expertise. Additionally, focusing on their own strengths and motivations they realize what their unique value is and develop greater confidence at work. Make this time productive and stay in control of your career.

More About Elevator Pitches

Mary Rosenbaum | October 14th, 2009

I attended an interesting conference for coaches yesterday and came away with far more than I had anticipated. Although the content was great, it was during the networking time that I learned the most. First I learned that there are so many different coaching disciplines and specialties. Everything from improv coaching to executive leadership coaching. What I found most enlightening was that many coaches find it difficult articulating who they serve and what they actually provide, including their value added. Instead, they rely on catch phrases that sound good but convey very little; and unless the listener is really interested in finding out more, it becomes a conversation stopper. If this behavior sounds familiar to you, then read on.

Is your elevator pitch really cute? Do you call yourself the go-to person or the fix-it guy or something else that only you understand why people come to you? Here is a quick way for you to hone in on what the “unique” you really offers clients or employers.

First, who do you work for or provide services to? What industry, what demographic within the industry, what specific part of the population? Is your work in trading equities in the financial services industry, do you work with the baby boomer population or women between the ages of 30-50, is your expertise in outsourcing in Asia for the insurance industry? The more specific you are the better a picture you can paint.

Next, what is the service or work you actually provide? If you call yourself the fix-it guy – what do you fix and how do you fix it? For example, do you help companies that need to streamline operations to reduce costs, are you a visionary who can anticipate economic events and their impact in specific industries, is your specialty building and growing sales teams for the insurance industry, you get the idea. Again, the more specific the information you provide, the better.

Lastly, why are you the expert? Is it because of your years of experience, your credentials and education? This is the validation part of your pitch. This must answer the question, why should I go to you, or why should I hire you?

Now see if you can come up with a couple of sentences that describe who you serve, what you do and why you are the expert. Try it out on a few people and ask them if it sounds compelling, does it tell the story, and does it prompt them to ask for more.