Questions and Answers with Career Expert Meg Guiseppi
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Meg Guiseppi is president of Executive Resume Branding.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||On your Website, you strongly tout the concept of personal branding for executive candidates. Can you talk about why this branding is so important?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| A great resume, one that will help the candidate land his or her next great career opportunity faster and with top compensation, is all about differentiating the, candidate’s value proposition from competing candidates. As a career practitioner, my mission is to make it clear to hiring decision-makers that hiring my client is a good investment. Personal branding is the best way to differentiate my clients while generating chemistry, which can prequalify them as a good fit for companies that interest them.
Branding is basically your unique combination of talents, strengths, value, and drivers compelling you to make things happen. Because it’s still a relatively new concept that most job-seekers haven’t embraced, branding in resumes is a differentiating factor.
The branding development process offers other inherent benefits. My clients tell me the process energizes them, renews their sometimes diminished confidence in the value they offer their next employer, and helps prepare them for interviewing.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||While doing research on executive resumes, we were surprised to learn that recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to see “soft skills” listed on executive resumes because they believe soft skills can be substantiated only through interviews and comments from references — and not on paper. What’s your take on portraying soft skills on an executive resume?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| An executive resume needs to be packed with evidence of that candidate’s promise of value. This includes soft skills, to some degree. Strong interpersonal skills such as team leadership and improving communications across organizations are just two of the attributes top-performing executives may rely on to accomplish critical initiatives. This is where personal branding comes into play.
It’s a matter of striking a balance between soft and “hard” skills. The key is to link an executive’s softer skills to his or her value proposition and ROI by providing monetized proof of how he or she taps into their softer skills to deliver results that impact bottom line.
These challenge – action – result “success stories” should be loaded with the relevant key words hiring managers are looking for. Concise stories that touch on softer skills help hiring managers imagine the candidate in the job they’re trying to fill, tackling challenges facing the organization and fixing problems.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| In my executive resume-writing practice, I see too many job-seekers post their resumes to a few job boards, then sit back and wait for the minimal response they will probably get. They’re investing 100 percent of their time on efforts that have, at best, a 3 percent success rate.
They need to take charge and be proactive in their search. Most of their time should be invested in networking, which is by far the best way to land their next job. If they’ve neglected their networks, they’ll need to revive old connections and start making new ones.
Efforts should be spread across other avenues that get the best results. Job-seekers need to devote serious time to developing a job-search campaign targeting companies and industries of interest, then identifying decision-makers to approach. Uncovering the hidden job market in this way can lead candidates to opportunities they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Job-seekers should keep a hand in the job boards, but instead of just the big boards (Monster and CareerBuilder), concentrate on niche boards. Another good practice is searching for and partnering with recruiters who specialize in their area of expertise.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the one job-hunting secret you share with clients/students but that may not be widely known?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| I don’t think it’s a secret, but very few job-seekers think of and make the effort to send thank-you notes. Since it’s so rarely done, a thoughtful, hand-written thank-you to each person encountered in interview rounds can have a powerful impact. A really effective thank-you note mentions bits of the interview conversation and reiterates the candidate’s interest in the position.
Clients have told me that thank-you notes were the deciding factor in landing their new job. The decision was down to the wire. My clients sent thank-yous; the others didn’t.
It’s also important to send thank-you notes to people in your network who lead you to an introduction or do you a favor.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| One of the biggest mistakes is neglecting to monitor one’s online identity and build an accurate, branded online presence. Job search 2.0 has settled in. Most recruiters and hiring decision-makers are Googling candidates and eliminating them based on what they find (or don’t find) about them, before deciding whether to even consider them.
Job-seekers should take advantage of the vast opportunities in social media to build online visibility and the kind of presence that will attract the right people. Here are just two suggestions to get them there:
1. Power up and brand your LinkedIn and/or other social/business networking profiles. Of course these sites are great for finding leads and building your network. But job-seekers may not realize that recruiters and hiring managers are trolling sites like LinkedIn for viable candidates.
Make it easy for hiring managers to quickly zero in on your unique promise of value. You can literally copy and paste chunks of your branded resume into your profile. Remember to include a link to your profile in job-search email communications so that your career profile is just one click away.
2. Guest-blog and/or comment on industry-relevant blogs. Launching and working your own blog is best, but you may not be able to dedicate the kind of time it requires. Contributing to other blogs is the next best thing. Search engines love blogs, so carving out your niche in the blogosphere will increase your search results when people Google your name, direct them to you, and position you as a niche expert. Blogging is also a great way to build community and your network.
With nearly two decades of professional experience, Meg Guiseppi specializes in crafting top interview-generating, brand-focused resumes and other career-marketing communications for executive leaders worldwide. She relies on razor-sharp writing and her innovative personal-branding system to differentiate her clients and position them above others competing for the same jobs. Meg is the Personal Branding Pro at job-hunt.org. She has earned the Master Resume Writer credential, the career industry’s highest designation, as well as the Certified Professional Resume Writer designation. She is an active member of several career-management organizations, including the Reach Branding Club. She has written countless articles for career blogs, online publications, and premier executive networking/job board sites. Meg stays at the forefront of the latest trends in strategic resume writing and job search 2.0. Do you want to propel your job search forward? Contact Meg at her Executive Resume Branding Blog or Executive Resume Branding Website.
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