J Patrick + Associates Blog

Navigating the Reputation Economy: Lies Do Count

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Wed, May 20, 2015 @ 01:00 PM


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Whether achievements are listed on your resume or you are communicating accomplishments for a performance review on the job, truth-in-advertising is paramount.

A Walmart executive claimed to have an arts degree, but he did not. A dean at MIT with multiple university degrees turned out to have none. More recently, a story told about a wild helicopter ride taken by a Nightly News anchor in 2003 was grounded. These stories have two things in common—deception and discovery.



Your online reputation is a commodity

The reputation economy refers to an aggregation of networked data collected from sources all over the world. While you already know your mortgage, insurance rates, and business value rely on positive appraisal, your professional reputation does, too.

The day has arrived when your reputation affects whether you can share a car ride or connect on LinkedIn. ExecuNet reports that 90 percent of executive recruiters polled use online search engines during the vetting process. Employers do the same.

At the outset of your job search, take stock of your digital footprint including:

• Maintain an up-to-date, professionally written LinkedIn profile.
• Conduct your own social media search for personal references. Manage or remove negative remarks. Address unflattering comments or photographs posted by others.
• Boost your brand with social media posts about good works, community, and volunteer service

Unless your business demands otherwise, now and five years from now—keep your online presence, clean, honest and progressive.


Fact, fiction or omission?

Deception is relative. Only you know whether your resume is fact or fiction. Facts are fine, and omissions can be necessary, but there is no room for fiction.

There is plenty of disagreement about what constitutes a “lie.” During an executive employment search, most agree that intent to mislead constitutes lying.

Across industries, common mistakes made by job-hunters include:

• Embellished experience: Dates of employment, position attained, salary and job responsibilities are commonly altered by job seekers. Speak well of your skills and experience, but do not misrepresent your capabilities.
• Enhanced education: A background check quickly reveals whether you have the education you claim. The future is not built on a phony degree. Do not claim what you do not have.
• Fake the financials: Legal liability may follow mistakes made by CFO hires who fake financial expertise.

As a former executive recruiter, I have experienced job candidates who are not troubled by claiming an unearned degree or training certificate. While faking education and work experience is tempting, executive falsehoods do not end well. When discovered, a job is lost or not offered, and a reputation is ruined. Just ask David Tovar.

Online or on your resume, authenticity, honesty and professional self-marketing are the keys to navigating the fast-growing reputation economy.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Social Media, Networking, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Why Ageism Isn’t Your Real Problem

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

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Ageism as a challenge gets thrown around a lot in the executive recruiting world. There is this false assumption that because you’re a certain age that you won’t get the job. The reality is there are plenty of companies who will hire you for your expertise regardless of your age if you can properly convey your value.

Yet many executives looking for work still cite ageism as their main challenge in landing the job. Pardon the bluntness, but perhaps “ageism” isn’t the real problem here. In fact, it’s very likely that perhaps you’re making some mistakes that portray you as dated, inflexible and victimized – characteristics that are unattractive at any age.

Use our tips to make sure you aren’t coming off this way in your job hunt.


Your resume is outdated.

Resume trends change all the time. What worked 15-20 years ago will not work today. Furthermore, if you’re still working with the resume your college’s career center taught you to write, and have just been adding your jobs as they happen, then you’re in for a very rude awakening. You wouldn’t wear a suit from 1995, so why would you use a resume format from the same era? The days of sending in paper resumes are gone. Objectives have also been thrown out with yesterday’s trash. Additionally, everything has gone digital so if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or a way to participate in mobile recruiting then you’re going to struggle finding job.


The people you are contacting prefer corresponding via email—and you’re calling.

In the age of smart phones it’s a miracle if anyone uses a phone to actually talk on it anymore. The truth is several people loathe using the phone and prefer using email. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t really interrupt their day and doesn’t take nearly as much time. You may think it’s impersonal, but the reality is you can easily have the same conversation via email as you would on the phone. If you insist on calling (or worse, faxing) when your contacts clearly prefer email then you’re annoying them. It also shows you haven’t gotten with the times. That’s far worse than running the risk of being impersonal, which no one thinks of email anyway.


You don’t understand effective email communication.

The point of email and instant messaging is that it’s quick and to the point. If this is how a prospective employer operates for intercompany communications then you need to make sure you’re with the program. That means you must avoid sending confusing subject lines and emails that are the length of the Old Testament. MindTools has a great guide on how to properly write effective emails for business. Learning how to write catchy email taglines and first email lines is key to increasing the chances of your email getting read.


You make it hard for people to reach you.

Make sure your resume has a mobile number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL listing in the top section easily seen. Put some variation of your contact information in the summary section of your LinkedIn Profile, twitter bio and/or about.me pages. Google your name and see what options come up and see if it is easy to contact you when clicking on those links. Also, evaluate your email provider. Sometimes Verizon.net and aol.com email addresses can over filter emails and bounce emails being sent to you—even if you initially emailed the person. So ask friends to email you and see if messages bounce—and consider moving email to a more universal provider, such as Gmail.com.


You’re focused too much on the past during job interviews.

While it’s good to touch upon past accomplishments during job interviews you must remember to balance it out with some forward thinking conversation. For instance, don’t forget to mention how your skills can help the company with their current issues. You also need to talk about how you can contribute to company goals both now and in the future.


You’re too expensive.

This isn’t to say that companies are trying to get experience for cheap. It just means they have a budget to work with and not every position needs the expense associated with bringing on an experienced person. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy a BMW, if a Toyota suffices for what you need. Sometimes the executive role a company needs to fill doesn’t require so much accumulated experience and therefore isn’t worth the cost. This isn’t ageism, it’s just finances. With all of this outlined, know that I do believe ageism exists in hiring and can be a valid issue in preventing an appropriately qualified, within-the-budget executive getting hired. However, often, I see ageism is not the reason and one of the above reasons is the root of the issue. When someone cites the ageism cause without looking at what they can change or other valid business concerns, all they are doing is destroying their own mindset to get positive results from the search.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

3 Ways to Master the “Why Should We Hire You?” Interview Question

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 01:50 AM


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Interviewing can be stressful – especially if it’s been awhile since you last did it. You prepare ahead of time by researching the company, the position, the contacts with whom you will interview and the challenges the company may be experiencing. You rehearse answers to expected interview questions outlining your accomplishments and the stories behind them. You are ready to knock them dead for your upcoming executive interview!

Even with research, preparation and rehearsal,some questions can take you off guard. My favorite recent example being, “If you were a part of a cheeseburger, which part would you be?” Best answer, in my opinion, “Umm,yeah – the cheese, of course!”

Silly questions aside, the question “Why should we hire you?” or “Why do you want this job?” will surface often and can put even the most prepared job seeker on edge. Expect it to come and prepare for it. It’s best not to have a generic answer.

But what makes a good answer? Here are three tips to keep in mind as you formulate your own response.


1. The answer is more about the “We” than the “Me”

Instead of focusing on what’s great about you, instead focus on what you see that is awesome between what you bring and what they offer together. Do you have a particular skill that would shine in their culture and bring about growth at the same time? Does the prospective employer have a situation before them to which you can uniquely contribute that makes benefits you both?

Is the company experiencing financial issues and you have a specific track record turning around distressed companies in their industry? Outline how fixing these types of scenarios is rewarding for you as a progressive Chief Financial Officer.

Answering in a way that promotes a winning scenario all around is the best strategy. If there’s a specific example of how you can advance the company, while advancing your own career, then absolutely share it!


2. It’s about your ability to solve problems they have

A smart answer focuses on solving existing problems the company is experiencing. Is the company experiencing high staff turnover? Demonstrate as a Director of HR the retention programs you have put in place that have reduced turnover. See that the organization’s main product line has plateaued in sales with its target market? Showcase how you reinvented the brand to invigorate sales and by how much for each instance you had success during your tenure as a EVP of Sales & Marketing.

Interviewers love to hear about a mutually beneficial solution or arrangement. Turnover is a real problem for some industries or companies and the better the likelihood that you both get something out of it (beyond trading work for pay), the better chances that you’ll stick around and they’ll want you to.


3. Your Passion Shines Through

If this is a position or field that you're passionate about, little rehearsing may be necessary for this questions, if you are speaking from your heart. There's little that trumps what intrinsically motivates you when it comes to an effective answer.

Demonstrating what motivates you deep down is of great interest to a company. A great company knows they can’t motivate people—top-notch employees come with motivation and great companies know how to supercharge and channel that already-there mojo. Sharing what made you interested in finance or what inspired you to get involved in the pharmaceutical industry can show a company how you come to them already fired up about the cause/product/service and all you need is the proverbial gas to fuel that passion. This information, combined with your earlier research about the company, will emphasize that your personalities and interests mesh well making you a great hire for them –so don’t be afraid to share why.

When answering the question, “Why should we hire you?” it’s best to focus on the company’s needs and how you can serve those need and provide an answer that is a win/win for you both. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm and let your passion for the position or industry emanate.

Above all else, take this question seriously and be prepared. This the time to showcase why you care about this position, what you have to offer the company and demonstrate that you want it.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, Resume Optimization

3 Psychological Hacks to Give You an Upper Hand When Asking for a Raise

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

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Chances are that you already know that psychology goes a long way in sales. You may have also heard how psychology helps when you’re networking. But did you know that you can also use psychology to better your chances of getting a raise?

A quick note here, knowing about psychology is not about manipulating the other person into get what you want. It’s about knowing how the mind works so that you can ease situations that can cause a lot of anxiety while getting others to collaborate with you.

Use our tips below to give yourself an upper hand when asking for a raise.


Using their own words to describe their problem.

In sales and marketing you’re taught to use a prospective client’s own words to remind them of why the need your product or service. You can use the same concept when asking for a raise.

For example, perhaps you know the company is looking to open up a new office overseas and have run into some issues like struggling to find employees. Perhaps your boss has even mentioned it during meetings.

When asking for a raise you can bring up the issue and then explain how you can fix the problem. The key here is to use their own words. So if your boss has mentioned, “Wow we’re really having a hard time finding qualified people to open up our new office in China” then you would use the exact wording when you bring it up.

The reason it’s so effective to use their own words is because it will create familiarity between the two people. The detail also triggers much more emotion than saying something general like “The company is having recruitment issues.”

Then you can provide examples of how you’ve already handled issues like this and can continue to do so, therefore making you a valuable asset to the company and worthy of a raise.


Mirror their body language.

In addition to using your boss’ own words, you can also mirror their body language.

The concept of mirroring is pretty simple: when asking for a raise use body language that is similar to the other person’s.

This creates a sense of familiarity, trust, and comfort because when someone behaves like us we tend to automatically assume that they are actually like us.

In other words, if you’re asking your boss for a raise while mirroring their body language, they will see themselves in you therefore making them more accepting of your request.

It creates empathy and takes your boss’ mind off of numbers, budgets and more logistical excuses they may have otherwise thrown your way.


Limit their options.

Limiting people’s choices is a well-known persuasion technique. Simply put, when making a proposition it’s very easy for someone’s mind to start creating a myriad of alternatives to said proposition.

Rather than letting their mind wander give them only two options: your proposition or something less desirable.

For example, either you get a raise or you take another offer you have on the table. Or, either you get a raise or they continue having major issues (such as the recruitment example).

This technique is obvious, but it works if you don’t overdo it and actually bring something valuable to the table.


Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

How to Look For a Job If It’s Been 10+ Years Since You’ve Had To

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:00 AM


If you’re a very experienced professional it may have been a while since the last time you looked for a job.

If you were lucky you got swooped up out of college and have been with the same company ever since. Now you’re starting to notice that being employed by the same company for life is a thing of the past. You may have noticed that even executives are changing jobs.

You’ve realized that it’s time to move on to bigger and better things, but you feel overwhelmed by all the changes that have happened since you last had to look. Use this handy guide to help you get back in the game.


Stay on top of your technology game.

Technology is always changing and more companies are jumping on board with things like new software and cloud systems. Stay up to date on all the technology in your industry to better your chances of getting hired.

If you’re not sure where to start you can use LinkedIn’s Pulse feature to stay on top of industry news.


Use phone apps on your job hunt.

Everyone these days has a smartphone, but did you know that developers have come up with several apps to help you on the job hunt? You can download them onto your phone to access nearby executive level positions, collect business cards and much more.


Be open to video interviews.

recent Forbes article noted a new trend among recruiters who are using video chat to conduct interviews. More than two thirds of the recruiters and hiring managers surveyed expect video interviews to increase in the next three years.

What does that mean for you? Don’t be surprised if a potential employer asks to chat on Skype.


Learn how to leverage social media.

Social media has changed the job hunting game. Forget the classifieds in the newspaper and good luck finding executive level positions on massive online job boards.

In fact, a huge percentage of employers are now using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find candidates. In fact,

You can use our 99 Job Search Tips from an Executive Recruiter eBook to learn about using social media effectively on your executive job search.


Update your resume.

You can’t use your resume from 20 years ago on your job hunt. It’s not as simple as adding your new work history to an old resume.

Quite frankly, even resume styles have changed since you last had to look for job. For example, having an objective at the top of your resume is now seen as a thing of the past.

Craft a new resume that shows your leadership skills. You can look through some of ourexecutive resume samples to get a feel for what is now expected.

The job hunt has changed significantly thanks to technological advances and the rise of social media. Use our tips on how to look for a job if it’s been a long time since you’ve had to and avoid being caught off guard when someone asks you about software, social media or a video interview.


Originally posted at How to Look For a Job If It’s Been 10+ Years Since You’ve Had To
- Lisa Rangel

Tags: Social Media, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Do You Have Job Search Burnout?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 10:00 AM


Job Search Burnout - Lisa Rangle

Despite it being a new year, many job seekers have been looking for a job already…in some cases, conducting that job search for a while and are burned out.

While some job seekers have new inspiration to start a search, I know some of you may be tired and burned out on your search and need a renewed source of perspective. Well, you have come to the right place.

When you are burnt out on your job search, you may need a mental break. Rest to rejuvenate is crucial, but what I think can be equally as effective is to give a good, hard look at the job search activities that you have been doing. Are you setting yourself up for disappointment and job search burnout? Ask yourself these questions:


(1) Have you submitted to more than 10 – 20 online job postings per week?

If yes, then you may be spending too much time on job boards and not enough time engaging actual people. You should not be spending more than 10% of your job search time on job boards. Set up Google Alerts and job alerts within notable job boards to have applicable jobs emailed to you and stop wasting time mining for jobs on the boards. Learn 5 Ways To Use Job Boards More Effectively that you should be doing now.


(2) Of the job applications you applied to online, for how many did you find someone at the company and reach out directly to connect about your application?

If the answer is less than 50%, you are depending on the computer/database gods to get you an interview, when you need to be talking to people. You need human discussion (phone and email) and contact (in person meetings) throughout this process to stay energized and get hired. “A computer hired me,” said no one ever.


(3) How many people, actual people, are you talking to (via email, phone and in person) regarding your job search in a positive, specific way?

I suggest keeping a log of how many conversations you are having with people. If it is less than 10-15 people per week, you need to step it up. Again, people hire people–so talk to people. Computers do not hire people, so do not spend time submitting to electronic job applications for most of your time. To optimize your job search networking, read: Job Search Networking Return to Neverland


(4) Do you ask your friends/family/professional contacts to “keep an eye out for job opportunities for you”? Do you say the job-killing-phrase, “I’m open to anything?”

If this is exactly how you ask them, I ask you: Do they know what you do, really? Do they know specifically what you want? It is much better to say, “I am looking for an accounting manager position with a mid-sized company in manufacturing” or “I am seeking a customer service position with a technology firm” than say “Hey, let me know if you hear of any job openings” — Specific is so much better than general each and every time! Specific also breeds confidence. For more on this, check out this article: “3 Ways to Help People Help You”


(5) Are you speaking to the right people in your industry to get to the right job leads?

How many new contacts are you adding to your contacts list each week–or are you circling back to the same 50 – 200 people each month? Add new people by attending industry and profession-related networking events, alumni get-togethers, former co-worker get-togethers and events in your community. Be sure your business card markets you in a memorable way and check out, Great Networking Business Card Examples.

Generally speaking, if you are not speaking to people about your job search, not speaking in specifics to people about your job search and/or not speaking to the right people, you could be spinning your wheels a bit, which will contribute to your burn out. It is important to rest and have fun to recharge…but it is also important to do the right activities suggested above to help support your success and preserve your mindset. Good luck!!


Originally posted at: Chameleon Resumes on Job Search Burn Out - Lisa Rangle

Tags: Job Search, SaaS, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

5 Common Networking Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Oct 01, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

5 Common Networking Mistakes To Avoid

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Andy Lopata.  I hadn’t actually heard of him before but apparently he’s known as Mr Networker by the Sun.  I liked what he went on about as it seemed very aligned with our thinking here and what I have learned through working with Simon and also what I have observed and learned through my own experiences.   The points outlined below aren’t just a regurgitation of what I heard from this talk.  The talk spurred me on to think about this topic and in this article is what is occurring to me now.

Networking has been quite a ‘hot’ topic recently and seems to be the ‘thing to do’.  Everyone is doing it!  I thought that it might be useful to jot down a few learnings and observations of what feel like pretty common networking mistakes made when building connections:


Attending a networking event and ‘selling’

Ok, so when we ‘network’ –many of us have the underlying agenda where we are after something.  Usually we want the people we meet to help us in some way.  We are after a promotion, a new job, some insight and inspiration on what to do next and so on.  We would like the people we meet to help us in our career and lives.  This is fair enough - however, going to a networking event and spending all of your time trying to ‘sell’ yourself or whatever your company offers isn’t particularly useful.  How many people are there to ‘buy’?  None right? So don’t sell!  Go there to get to know the people around you.  Don’t shove your life story or current major problem or need in their faces.  They don’t know you yet so they aren’t going to help you if you just ‘sell sell sell’. No-one likes a salesperson – so don’t be one.


Collecting numbers

Networking is not about the number of contacts you have.  Do you have 5000 facebook contacts? 6000 linkedIn connections? Maybe a couple million business cards and a few zillion email contacts?  Is that good networking? Nope! Networking is not about collecting up the largest number of names you can get.  That’s not going to help you.  Maybe you have the biggest database of names and contacts in the world.  However – that isn’t of any use to you unless these people are going to help you when you drop them a line.  When push comes to shove and you ask them for help – what will happen?  Will they remember you? Will they care? Or are you just another number in their database?  Networking well and building up useful connections is all about really knowing the people in your network and them knowing you.  People only want to help you if they know you, trust you, respect you.  If you are just a number – you mean nothing.  If they are just a number – what’s the point?


Not Being Genuine

Too many times have I seen people try to talk to me or get in contact with me simply to ‘network’.  I get several invitations on LinkedIn each day from people wanting to ‘widen their network’.  If I join their network – then what?  Will we become good mates and help each other out?  Do they know me? In some cases maybe there is something genuine there – but in most cases I’m thinking not.    Now - what about meeting and greeting people.  Well if you’re being genuinely interested in getting to know the people around you – then you are more likely to build a useful connection and grow your network effectively.  If you are simply building a network superficially so that you can call on them when you want something and you don’t really care about them as individual, unique, talented people – they’ll suss that out and not really like you for it.  There was a guy I knew at Uni.  He graduated, became a big banker, joined some hedge fund and went off and became a big ‘networker’.  He rings you and contacts you if you are deemed ‘useful’ to him.  That is seriously self-centered, superficial and – not genuine.  Thus – can he contact me for help if he wanted it? Nope.  He is not a part of my ‘network’ – because I don’t believe in that approach.  So if you want to meet people and network – that’s absolutely fine – but do it authentically and genuinely. 


Dismissing the network you already have

We all have a network ready and waiting for us before we even start going out to ‘network’ and grow it.  It’s a common occurrence to forget about the people who we already know.  At school, university, through friends, family, extended family, friends of friends, work – through each of your jobs – you have met many very interesting and talented people – all of whom will have a different take on life and their careers.  Their experiences and interests will be varied and vast.  It can be very easy not to realize just how many people we really know or just how valuable our network actually is.  Maybe you know or have come across many people but you do not really ‘know’ them.  Why not spend some time getting to know them. Dig deeper. Find out what makes them tick – what experiences they have had, what they have done in their careers, who they hang out with, who their mates, family, friends are.  You are closer to getting what you want and meeting whoever you need – than you think.  Your mates brother, dad, second cousin, next door neighbor - could be just the person who could help you.  So – do not dismiss or forget about the people you already know. Get closer to the network you already have.  Form deeper relationships with them and you never know who you may come across.


Give to get and remember it’s not all about you

People want to help those who help others.  Or – people want to help those who help them!  So if you just take, take, take – you won’t continue getting for long! Don’t make the mistake of just calling people up when you need something.  Also don’t make the mistake of expecting those you ‘network’ with you give you whatever you want, when you want. It’s not all about you!  If you spend all of your time with others – talking about what’s on your mind – what you need, what you’re after, how they can help you, what you care about – it’s a one sided, pretty boring story!  It should be a 2-way thing.  Offer to help wherever you can.  Be genuine about it – and you never know what will evolve from that.  Try it and see!  If you offer up a useful contact and help someone out – they will be grateful, remember you for it and respect you.  They will remember that you are a great person to know and that you can help each other out.

Tags: Social Media, Networking, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization

Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:23 AM

Best Practices for Résumé Writing


            It’s an age-old question: “What should I put in my résumé?”  There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a résumé should say and how it should look.  But, when looking for employment, be sure not to put the cat before the horse. Realize this one thing: you are not writing a résumé to get a job; you are writing a résumé to get an interview.  That said, let me offer you some good tips to keep in mind while writing your résumé.


Don’t Just List Your Strengths

-       When writing your résumé, don’t just list your strengths.  Say, for example, you’re a good public speaker. Connect it with some real life success and tell a potential employer why they should care.  If an employer can look at your résumé and see a relevant personal experience in which you displayed your strength it will put you at an advantage.


Use The Right Keywords

-        Working in a recruiting office I witness first-hand everyday how true this statement is.  The bottom line is that recruiters in my office sort and search through piles of résumés using keyword searches.   If your résumé doesn’t contain the right keywords for the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land that interview.


Customize Your Résumé For Each Potential Employer

-        As easy as it would be to just make one résumé and just dish it out across the board, do not make a generic résumé.  Is every job the same?  Of course not, so don’t make every résumé the same.  Tweak and fix your résumé to make it a custom fit for each particular job description.


Don’t List All Your Job Experiences

-        When people are writing their résumés they innately want to cram as many job experiences as possible on one or two pages. You know, to “impress” the potential employer, right?  Actually, this is the opposite of what you should do. Your résumé should not be packed like sardines on the page, but rather clear, legible, and eye catching.  Obviously, you need list the most current and your most relevant jobs on your résumé, but try to keep it all within the last 15-20 years.


Begin Narratives With Action Verbs

-        Follow this very powerful and useful practice when writing your résumé.  It’s an attention grabber. And describing your accomplishments with action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, etc., actively describes what your duties were at that job.

When you sit down to write your résumé, really think about what you have to offer an employer. You’re not simply a beautiful snowflake, just like everyone else. Your résumé is the first step in differentiating your personal brand from the rest of the pack. It’s a tool to position you as an employable commodity.  Along these lines, don’t just write what you think they want to hear.  It’s imperative to always proofread as well-- nothing says unqualified better than a résumé with grammatical and spelling errors.  If all else fails, don’t be afraid to get professional help. After all, it’s your future we’re talking about. So, why wouldn’t you want the perfect résumé?


 By Jake Pinto

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Latest Executive Resume Writing Trends You Need to Know To Get Hired

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

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Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

Executives that stay current on executive resume trends and present themselves in the most contemporary and effective manner, stay ahead of their competition and optimize their compensation. When you look like a desirable candidate, companies want to hire you. Staying abreast of those executive resume writing trends can be a daunting task.

 However, we have used the proverbial crystal ball to research, identify and outline various trending items that today’s top executives need to know to stay ahead of their competition and optimize their compensation in today’s competitive landscape. Consider at the following executive resume trends when writing your resume:

(1) Write your resume to be found by recruiters using Boolean search terms. Corporate and search firm recruiters use Boolean search terms in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), social media sites (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Search, etc…) and other association niche sites to find talented executives. Bottom line is if your executive resume does not include these phrases used naturally in your resume, your resume may not surface in the search results.  Be sure to keyword optimize your document.

 (2) Ensure your resume is ATS friendly. Complicated graphs, ornate graphics, tables, charts and other electronic document ‘flair’ may not really ‘fly’ when it comes to your resume getting processed properly by an applicant tracking system (ATS). They can be good for marketing vanity resume pieces, but for technical applications and email compatibility, refrain and keep it clean and simple. Use font type, font treatment (bold, italics), borders and shading elements to give your resume a distinct look, without inhibiting its digestibility into ATS systems.  <Check out Executive Resume Samples Here.>

(3) Have visual version of your traditional, content resume. What do I mean by this? Consider an infographic of your experience timeline to post on Pinterest, a video resume on Vine or YouTube or a PowerPoint displaying your successes on SlideShare. Not only do these forms demonstrate your presentation savvy, it can also speak to various audience types that flock to these different sites. It can also help you be found more readily by recruiters, as your information is catalogued by Google Search and other search engines in a multitude of ways.

(4) Give your resume a marketing collateral feel by using branding elements in your word and visual choices. Utilize every aspect of your resume (words, colors, borders, font type, font size, shading elements, etc) to brand yourself and make you and your resume memorable in the mind of the hiring manager. Be sure your unique value proposition is communicated clearly to the reader immediately!

 (5) Realize the top ¼ of your first resume page is prime real estate. Use it to capture your reader’s attention, keep them engaged, keyword optimize your document and visually set yourself a part from the competition. That is a lot of work to be done by a small section of your resume. Don’t waste it.

(6) Use achievement based bullets and not job description bullets when describing your work experience.  Employers want to see how you succeeded at a certain function—not simply that you were responsible for the function.  How you made money, saved on costs, streamlined processes and contributed to the corporate culture in measurable manners is what you need to outline on your executive resume.

 (7) Move past just having a LinkedIn Account and consider other social media venues to promote your brand and cultivate new professional contacts. See where other professionals in your industry congregate online and open up accounts on those sites to see what traction you can gain and real time information you can find to make your communications more precise.

(8)  Please just stop using objective Statements—this is not really even a new trend, but some executives really feel the need to put one on the resume. And it just needs to stop! Summaries are the new (ok, not so new) and the now where you describe how you will add value to the new employer’s requirements.

 (9) Use whatever resume length is best for you—but not a word longer than it needs to be. Concise writing is still king!! The one-page,  two-page or multi-page rule has become less hard and fast and really is dependent on the person’s background and industry. But realize, just because you write it does not mean it will be read.  Keep your reader engaged in 5-10 second increments no matter how long your resume is.


(10) Customize your resume for each exploratory and defined job application you make. The more you know about the job, make the customization specific. The less you know about the job, make the customized elements of your document more broad to appeal to a wider range within your discipline and/or industry.

Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Why Being Qualified Is Not Enough…

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

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Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

Executive job seekers need to know that corporate and search firm recruiters are overwhelmed with resumes and communications from candidates who are earnestly seeking their next position.

Knowing this fact, I tell my clients that being qualified is not enough!! Those that are qualified will rise to the top of the pile and have her resume read ONLY if their resume is idiot-proof. Yes, I said it—Idiot-proof. I mean no offense to my recruiting brethren with this term. But a job applicant’s resume has to be very crystal clear on the job for which they are applying. This will almost ensure that the reader will know without a doubt what position the applicant is applying for by reading her resume on its own using a branded title. Here are some points to help you do this well:

• You have to assume the resume will be separated from the cover letter. Will your resume stand on its own? The gut check question you can ask yourself is: “Will a hiring manager know exactly what you want by reading your resume only?”  If the answer is ‘yes’, then your resume is in good shape. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’, here are some steps you can take to position the resume to make it easy for hiring managers to realize which position you want to be considered.

• Eliminate the word “summary” as the heading to your resume. Give it a title that mimics the title of the position you are seeking and for which you are qualified. For example, if you are formerly a Director of Information Technology and are applying to a Chief Information Officer position that is an appropriate next step, make the branded resume heading the latter and keep your title on the employment section accurate with the former.

• Ensure you have a summary paragraph under the branded title heading that supports the title outlining briefly what you bring to the table and the results you have accomplished.

• Use keyword bullets under the summary to punctuate your qualifications and experiences. Note: Be sure the keyword phrases you use describe your background further specifically and are not so generic that they tell the reader nothing. GUT CHECK: if the phrase used can be used on an HR resume, an engineering resume, and a finance resume, then that phrase is wasting space and not telling the reader anything about your specifically. For example, “Energetic manager that brings results to the organization” does not differentiate you in anyway, even if it is true. Use specifics.

The goal is to have the hiring manager look at your resume and within an instant know exactly which position is the right one for you. If the hiring manager has to work at figuring out which position a job seeker is good for, chances are the resume gets tossed in the ‘no’ pile, or the ‘maybe’ pile or in the wrong pile. By making it easy for the hiring manager, you increase your chances of getting in the ‘yes’ pile and getting the call. All things being equal and all considered applicants being qualified, the bottom line is the job seeker that makes the hiring manager’s job easiest wins.


Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies