Think Like an Executive Resume Branding Pro – Targeting

by Meg Guiseppi on February 16, 2015

Part 1 – Target Your Executive Resume for the Hidden Job Market

Want to get inside the head of an executive resume professional, as she strategizes and creates content for an executive job seeker’s resume?

executive resume branding

Wouldn’t that help you know how to write your own resume, or work with a professional resume writer?

You’ll get the inside scoop here, in my 5-part series on personal branding and executive resume writing. I’ll outline the steps you need to take to create or collaborate on an executive resume that will position you to land a good-fit job.

We’ll start with the first steps in any successful executive job search – targeting and research.

Then, I’ll follow with:

Part 2 – What Personal Branding Is and Is NOT

Part 3 – Differentiate Your Unique Value Proposition and Build Personal Brand Content

Part 4 – Strategize the Content and Write Your Personally Branded Executive Resume

Part 5 – 10 Executive Resume Do’s and Don’ts

As you read this series of posts, keep in mind that every job seeker is unique. The strategies that will work best for you may vary from the ones I outline here, depending upon your own situation, job target, and other circumstances. Also note that the information-mining and content writing I describe throughout the series also apply to writing your LinkedIn profile, which is typically resume-driven.

Executive Job Search Targeting

Don’t even think about starting to write your resume, until you know who will be reading it and what they’ll want to read about you in it. You first have to prepare to put yourself in their shoes.

When you launch your job search with a list of at least 10 good-fit target companies or organizations – each of which you’ll research – you’re on your way to landing that good-fit job faster.

Having insider information about your target companies and industry, augmented by any informational interviews you can get with employees at those companies, will set you up for networking your way into the unadvertised or “hidden” jobs at those companies. That is:

  • Jobs created to accommodate specific candidates, once they connected with and had dialog with companies’ hiring decision makers.
  • Existing positions in which an incumbent is replaced when someone better comes along.
  • An open slot, waiting to be filled, that isn’t advertised outside the company. Only internal people know about it.
  • Jobs that, for whatever reason, are not advertised or visible, and can only be uncovered and accessed through networking.

You may not realize that most jobs – especially for c-suite and many senior-level executives – are found only through networking and positioning yourself for these hidden jobs.

The perfect job for you may never be posted on a job board or anywhere else! It may only exist in the hidden job market.

Avoiding the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Conundrum

Do you know about the existence of ATS?

Due to the high volume of resumes received by employers for jobs advertised on job boards and elsewhere, they’ve been using data tracking systems to parse information in resumes.

When you respond to advertised jobs and attach your resume, it will immediately be thrown into a database with an Applicant Tracking System that matches jobs to candidates based on specific keywords.

If your resume lacks enough of the right keywords, in the right places, it may never be called up for you to be considered for specific jobs.

So, to avoid the ATS vortex, the majority of your job search efforts should NOT be focused on responding to job postings.

Most of your time should be spent in networking your way into those hidden, unadvertised jobs I mentioned above.

In this way, you’ll circumvent your target companies’ gatekeepers (that is, human resources) and their ATS, and get your resume directly into the hands of hiring decision makers.

Your resume may ultimately land in ATS, but human eyeballs will already have seen it, and your viability will already have been assessed. Hopefully, you’ll be placed on the “must interview” list.

What To Look For When Researching Your Target Companies and Industry

Your mission is to identify the challenges facing each of these companies, that you are uniquely qualified to help them with. In other words, you want to determine what makes you a good fit for their current needs.

And your market intelligence work will help you with due diligence. You want to be sure these companies are healthy, that you’ll fit their company culture, and that they will bring you career fulfillment.

As you research each company, you’ll start to build content for your resume, including which areas of expertise you possess that will be important to them, and the critical keywords and keyword phrases to include in your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Read all about the Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers.

With your market intelligence on each target company in hand, you’re ready to move on to the next steps – understanding personal branding, differentiating your unique value proposition, and actually writing the content for your executive resume.

More About Personal Branding and Executive Resume Writing

The New 10-Step Executive Personal Branding Worksheet

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Resume in 10 Steps

Toxic Executive Job Search Belief: I don’t need to target my resume

2 of My Favorite Insider Tips for Executive Resume Writing

2 More Favorite Insider Tips for Executive Resume Writing

7 Deadly Sins of Executive Resume Writing

Can You Avoid the Executive Resume Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Vortex?

graphic on Pixabay



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