Part 1 – Target Your Executive Resume for the Hidden Job Market
Want to get inside the head of an executive resume branding professional, as she strategizes and creates content for an executive job seeker’s resume?
That would help you write your own resume, or know with whom and how to work with a professional resume writer, right?
You’ll get the inside scoop here, in my 5-part series on executive resume branding.
I’ll outline the steps you need to take to create or collaborate on an executive resume that will position you to land a great-fit new gig™.
In this first post, 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 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, executive 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.
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 (more is better) – each of which you’ll research – you’re on your way to landing that good-fit job faster.
It’s all about having insider information about your target companies and industry, augmented by any informational interviews you can get with employees at those companies.
This will set you up for networking your way into the unadvertised or “hidden” jobs at those companies. That is:
The hidden executive job market are those jobs that are never advertised, never show up on job boards.
They’re known about internally at those companies, perhaps by only a few.
They may be quietly, but actively sourcing and assessing candidates.
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, for more than 20 years, they’ve been using data tracking systems to parse information in resumes.
When you send or post your resume in response to advertised jobs, 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.
Or, if your resume is not formatted in a way that ATS can access the information fully, it may not be called up.
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 recruiters) 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 your industry and each target company in hand, you’re ready to move on to the next steps:
- Understanding personal branding,
- Differentiating your unique value proposition, and then finally,
- Actually writing the content for your executive resume.