You need to do 3 important things first to prepare.
The other day I was speaking with a senior-level executive job seeker in the healthcare industry who said she was not getting much response to her resume.
We reviewed it together, and I asked her what kinds of jobs she was targeting, and in which industry.
Her answer was one I hear often. “Well, that’s the thing. I know I’m best suited to move into [kinds of jobs], but I’m very interested in several other industries and disciplines, too. My expertise is very broad-based.”
She said that, after having her resume written by a professional earlier in the year, she had been rewriting and tweaking it to broaden its appeal . . . or so she thought.
Her constant tweaking had, in fact, watered down the content so much that her true value in the marketplace didn’t shine through.
Now she was thoroughly confused about how to position herself in her resume and LinkedIn profile, and stuck in neutral in her job search.
Because of her crippling mindset, she didn’t know how to deal with writing her LinkedIn profile either. It was generic and anemic, lacking much content, and also getting little action.
She had fallen prey to one of the deadliest job search mistakes – trying to launch a search campaign with no clear target.
Her marketing efforts had become generic. She was trying to cover too many bases and not hitting home with any of them.
Recruiters and other hiring professionals sourcing and assessing candidates by what they found about her online or through digital/paper documents weren’t clearly seeing her as a good fit for the jobs they were trying to fill.
They didn’t have the time or inclination to sift through and ponder whether her unfocused mix of relevant and immaterial skills and contributions made her someone worth considering. Especially in a tight job market, they’re looking for (and getting) 100% perfect fits.
This job seeker had started her job search without being prepared. She wasn’t ready to write her resume, LinkedIn profile, and other personal marketing materials because she didn’t know what kind of content they should contain.
Here are the 3 steps I told her she needed to take first:
1. Get clear on what you want to do next.
Decide what kind of position(s) you’re seeking, in which industry. Beyond helping you focus your search, being able to clearly and succinctly communicate just what you want to do next helps you know how to tell others how they can help you reach your career goals.
Choosing a specific industry may or may not be an issue for you, but you really need to know what kind of work you want to do, as specifically as possible.
2. Compile a list of 15-20 companies or organizations that will meet your career needs.
Target your search so you’ll know who you’re writing your resume and LinkedIn profile for, and how to position yourself as the best hiring choice. Research each company on your list for your due diligence and to determine:
- Their pressing needs that you’re uniquely qualified to help them meet,
- Which qualifications, skills sets, and areas of expertise you possess that they need,
- What makes you a good fit for their corporate culture,
- If they’ll provide the kind of work/life balance you require, and
- Which relevant keywords you’ll need to use in your resume and LinkedIn profile. Keywords help you get found by hiring professionals.
3. Work on defining your personal brand to generate chemistry in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Personality and leadership style are important qualities to employers. They want an indication that you’ll fit in with their corporate culture and ramp up quickly in leading their teams.
By connecting your “softer” skills – personal attributes, values, vision, drivers and passions – to the hard qualifications they need, personal branding helps recruiters and hiring decision makers reviewing your resume and LinkedIn profile determine whether you’ll be a good personality fit for their company.
Strike a chord, make a vivid connection, and set your self above your job-hunting competitors with brand messaging that differentiates your unique set of qualifications and value promise to your target employers.
Next step — start writing!
Now you’re ready to write the content for all your personal marketing collaterals, plan your job search strategy, and begin networking your way into a great-fit job.
More About Executive Resume Writing and LinkedIn
photo by Drew Coffman