Why the World’s Best Executive Resume Is Not Enough

by Meg Guiseppi on July 15, 2013

Even the very best executive resume is not enough, if it isn’t used with the best executive job search practices . . .


And, if it isn’t backed up with social proof.

Occasionally, the resume a prospective c-suite client sends me is an excellent career marketing document.

It’s targeted, contains value-driven metrics and relevant keywords, and positions the job seeker as a good-fit candidate for the kinds of jobs he’s seeking.

It may not showcase his personal brand . . . It may need some tweaking.

But, in my opinion, it should generate SOME response when put into action properly.

Yet the job seeker complains to me that he’s gotten ZERO TO LITTLE RESPONSE to it.

When I ask him how he’s using his resume, he says he’s responded to hundreds of job postings on various job boards.

This is his only job search activity, or where he’s spending the vast majority of his time.

He spends dizzying hours every day perusing job listings.

He can’t figure out why very little is happening. He feels he’s working hard at his job search and, because he’s using the Internet, he feels he’s embraced the latest and best job search strategies for the digital age.

Once I do a quick Google search of “His Name”, I know what’s wrong.

He’s invisible online:

  • No LinkedIn profile
  • No meaningful, relevant web pages associated with his name
  • No social networking or social media presence of any kind
  • Nothing of value will appear to people assessing him as a candidate.

No wonder his job search is stuck in neutral.

He’s spending 100% of his time (or close to it) on a method that yields only an estimated 5% or so success rate in landing a job.

To get anywhere, he’ll need to create a job search strategy that relies minimally on using job boards. He needs to devote most of his efforts to methods that yield the best results.

Armed with a branded, targeted resume, here’s what savvy executive job seekers know and do:

1.  Networking gets the job!


Your mission is to network your way into the companies you’ve targeted your resume towards.

Networking is the only way to tap into the hidden job market. That is, jobs (especially at the top executive level) that are never advertised. You have to be someone at least somewhat known at the company to be considered.

Work on circumventing the gatekeepers (for as long as possible) and connecting directly with key hiring decision makers where they hang out online and offline.

In fact, connect with employees at almost any professional level at those companies, to become a known entity there.

Turn back to the company and industry research you did to determine how to align your value-add with your target companies’ needs in your resume.

Clearly show in your resume that you have what they need, to help them solve current challenges.

Some ways to network well.

  • Identify key decision makers and employees at your target companies (LinkedIn Company profiles and each company’s website will help).
  • Look at all your contacts to see if anyone has a connection to your target companies.
  • Ask for introductions to those key decision makers.
  • Leverage LinkedIn to network towards making first degree connections with those key hiring decision makers.
  • Get involved with LinkedIn Groups, especially those Groups the hiring decision makers belong to.
  • Embrace the social media platforms heavily used by recruiters and hiring professionals – Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Cultivate relationships with several recruiters specializing in your niche.
  • Set up Google Alerts to be notified when relevant industry and company news is posted online.

2.  Build a diverse, vibrant online presence.


The various people who will be assessing you as a candidate want to find diverse information about you online. They will favor candidates with a strong online footprint over those without one.

Support your personal brand and good-fit candidacy, and make yourself easy to find online. Provide social proof that corroborates the claims you’ve made in your resume and other personal marketing materials.

  • If you’re not on LinkedIn, get to work creating a strong profile with plenty of content.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile reinforces your brand and contains the right keywords, in the right places, to help you get found.
  • Use LinkedIn’s Pulse publishing platform to write articles supporting your subject matter expertise.
  • Post regularly to your social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Create an Amazon profile and write book reviews.
  • Self-Google regularly to monitor the results people assessing you will find when they Google your name. If digital dirt creeps in, do what you can immediately to eliminate it.

More in my post, Executive Brand Online Reputation Management: How to Build Your Brand Online.

3.  Prepare to excel in interviews.


After all the work you’ve put into landing those interviews, don’t blow it by not being prepared to answer the tough questions, and ASK the best questions.

More in my post, How to Land, Brand and Ace Executive Job Interviews.

More About Executive Resumes and Job Search

Are You Tweaking Your Out-Dated Executive Resume To Death?

4 Reasons You Can’t Write Your Own Executive Resume

12 Ways To Build Personal Brand Evangelism

Essential Checklist to Optimize LinkedIn For Executive Job Search

Do Cover Letters Really Matter in Executive Job Search?

Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Help

Land a GREAT-FIT New Executive GigNeed help with personal branding, your LinkedIn profile, resume and biography, and getting your executive job search on track . . . to land a great-fit new gig?

Take a look at the services I offer, how my process works and what differentiates my value-offer . . . then get in touch with me and we’ll get the ball rolling.

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