What’s the Deal with Executive Resume Branding?
Executive resume branding is a personal marketing strategy for job search that helps you distinguish your promise of value to specific target employers, and compel them to want to talk to you.
Branding helps you tell your unique story.
But wait. You do know who you’re targeting, don’t you?
If you’re not working from knowledge of the needs and challenges of specific target employers, you can’t possibly create personal marketing documents (executive resume, bio, cover letters, etc.) that will hit home with them, or anyone.
To gain the knowledge you’ll need, go back and do your target company research homework.
What is the purpose of an executive resume?
Remember that a resume is not meant to be a long document outlining every bit of your career history.
It’s a marketing document designed to align your qualities and qualifications with your target employers’ requirements and needs, while differentiating the value you offer over your competing job seekers. It needs to contain just the information needed to meet that purpose.
Keep in mind that your paper or digital resume may not be your first introduction to hiring decision makers. It’s much more likely to be your LinkedIn profile, if you have one (shame on you if you don’t!), and your online footprint in general.
Most recruiters and hiring authorities are busy sourcing top talent on LinkedIn, and assessing candidates by what they find when they Google their names.
Your executive resume and LinkedIn profile need to capture and hold the attention of people assessing you. If you don’t do that within about 10 seconds or so, you may be overlooked.
How does executive resume branding above-the-fold work?
The top third or half of the paper or digital page, or the top screen view of an online profile, has the greatest impact . . . and can be considered the most valuable real estate.
Think of it this way. Whatever lands in this so-called above-the-fold location should tell enough of your story to sell you on its own. Everything beyond that provides supporting evidence and further details.
7 Above-the-fold Executive Resume Branding Tips
1. Create a keyword-rich headline
For your headline, focus on the relevant keywords you uncovered in your research. And boost your headline with a brand-supporting tagline, spotlighting what you’re most known for. Here’s an example:
COO – Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain Turnaround Leader Maximizing process innovation to cut costs and eliminate waste faster than the rising costs of doing business.
2. Include relevant keywords, in general
Instead of just listing your relevant keywords (or areas of expertise) in a box, make those keywords and phrases more palatable to readers by weaving them into branded “stories”, using the C–A–Rs storytelling method.
But a long list of your relevant keywords and high keyword density throughout the resume content DO belong in your ATS-friendly resume version.
3. Understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines pick up keywords that land high on web pages more readily than those landing lower down on the page. All the more reason to pay special attention to getting your relevant keywords in your LinkedIn headline and Summary section.
4. Don’t forget about the “personal” part of resume branding
Generate chemistry by touching on your personality and brand attributes – who you are, how you operate, what you’re passionate about, your leadership and management style, what you’re like to work with.
5. Back up your contributions and achievements with figures
Numbers and metrics pack a powerful punch. Don’t hide them in the “Professional Experience” section. Insert 2 or 3 that will be most important to your target employers at the top.
6. Bring forward other pertinent information
Highly specialized (and relevant) training and professional development that would typically fall to the bottom of the last page, can be brought forward to above-the-fold.
7. Include earlier contributions and achievements, if relevant
Don’t bury a top achievement on the second page, just because chronologically that’s where it goes. If it will be relevant to your target employers, bring it forward to above-the-fold where it will have the most impact.