Tips For Creating a One-Page Resume

While most executives have a multi-page resume, the one-page resume is a valuable tool to include in your executive portfolio. You’ll most likely be using your resume in a multitude of ways.

While an executive search firm may not mind reading your two- or three-page resume, you most likely should have a one-page resume for the various types of networking activities and events in which you will be participating. For example, you may want to update your closely knit contacts about your current status. These are people you’ve known for many years and who may be assisting you in your search. They may already be familiar with your qualifications, and you want them to have an updated resume so they’re clear about what type of position you are currently pursuing. You may also want to share your one-page resume at networking events, tradeshows, conferences, or the like. Or you may want to share your one-page resume during an information gathering or business meeting.

While creating a one-page resume is often a daunting task, here are a few pointers:

Focus

  • Get clear on “exactly” what type of position you will be pursuing. Consider your brand, your passions, your unique and innate talents, and your value proposition. Then focus the entire resume on those qualities.

Executive Profile

  • Your executive profile should include your branded value proposition. Recruiters want to know what can you do for their client/company.
  • Eliminate soft skills. Go for one-line zingers that will grab their interest, such as: “Launched 7 business units, integrated 4 acquisitions, and led 3 turnarounds.” Or, “Drive 4 businesses to rank among the most profitable units in their industry.”
  • Include three or four of your strongest core competencies.

Education and credentials

  • In a one-page resume, this section is generally positioned immediately following your Executive Profile.

Professional Experience

  • Include one line that describes the company (public, private, global, VC funded), major product(s) or service(s), and industry.
  • Create one line that includes your title, the size of budget you manage, number of direct reports you manage, and other key information that will fit on that line.
  • Add one line that describes your challenge(s). Were you brought in to turn the business around, or where you brought in to launch a new division or product, or to penetrate new markets? In just a few words, describe why you were brought in to the company.
  • Accomplishments — In 25 words or less, describe what you have contributed to the company during your tenure. Articulate what value you created or delivered for each company. If you’ve worked for one company for many years, you may need to do this for several divisions or business units.
  • Only include the companies you have worked for in the last 10-15 years.

Leadership Roles

  • Leadership roles, such as Board positions, may be listed.

Associations / Affiliations

  • Only list associations or affiliations if they are extremely relevant.

On a one-page resume, it’s okay to abbreviate more than usual. You’ll also want to condense your contact information to one line following your name. It’s also okay to reduce the size of your margins.

Creating a one-page resume will take some time. You will struggle with eliminating all the great details of your accomplishments. But, remember, you have your traditional resume to give to appropriate decision makers.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

 

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Are You Overqualified?

Ever been told you’re overqualified? Overqualified can mean many things such as:

  • too many years of experience
  • too much education or too many credentials
  • too highly paid in your current or previous job
  • too dated, senior or old.

Or, it can simply be a way to eliminate you from the running because you’re not the right ‘fit’ for the position. Overqualified is often a category that encompasses a wide variety of factors or qualities related to fit.

Many hiring managers feel that overqualified is a complimentary and safe way to explain your elimination from consideration for the position.

So how do you respond if you’ve been told that you’re overqualified? First, you’ll want to switch the language from “overqualified” to “fully qualified.” Having all the qualifications simply means you’re fully qualified and can do the job extraordinarily well. Isn’t that what the company is looking for?

If you’re in an interview and you’ve just been told you’re overqualified, respond with a question to find out specifically how the interviewer feels you’re overqualified. Ask the interviewer, “What about my qualifications over qualifies me?” You need to find out specifically what their objection is so you can address it.

Some of the interviewer’s concerns may be:

  • you’ll cost too much to hire
  • you’ll get bored, frustrated, resentful
  • you’ll leave as soon as you find something better
  • you might take my job because you’re more qualified than me.

So, how do you respond to these objections?

You’ll want to address these concerns with stories of past experiences, demonstrable proof, and the return on investment the company can expect from hiring you.

If salary is the issue, you can explain that you are aware that the economy has caused significant changes in salaries and that you have adjusted your lifestyle so that you are able to accommodate these changes. Alternatively, if appropriate, you could explain that at this point in your career, you want to eliminate some of the stress and demands of your more recent senior positions.

If the position is similar to a position you held five or ten years ago and really loved, express your passion for that role and share a compelling story about how you delivered value to the company while in that role. Explain that you are looking to get back into a role that you loved and capitalized on your core skills.

If you have a history of longevity, loyalty and commitment to past employers, share that information so the interviewer feels secure that you won’t resign the moment you receive a better offer.

If you suspect that overqualified means too old, emphasize your reliability, commitment, work ethics, and ability to meet objectives in a smooth, efficient and timely fashion. Share stories that demonstrate the positive effect you bring to the workplace.

If you suspect that overqualified means you’re too senior or outdated, read,“How 55+ Year-Olds Can Compete in Today’s Job Market” to dispel this concern.

If it appears you would be working for a young, inexperienced manager, give an example of a like past experience and what you did to make the situation work. Also share stories that allude to your agility, flexibility and physical stamina.

Leverage your vast experience to demonstrate your ability to work well in groups and on teams, communicate across various functional groups in the organization, and avoid potential landmines and crises. Emphasize your ability to ramp up rapidly with little or no training and take on added responsibilities as they arise.

If the interviewer feels intimidated by your qualifications, reassure him that you are purely interested in supporting him, making him look good, and achieving the company’s objectives so that the company can thrive. If you are the type of executive who surrounds yourself with people who are smarter than you, share a story about some of the people you’ve hired that were smarter than you, how you leveraged that, and the outcomes.

You can also compliment the hiring manager on his outstanding qualities and strengths and share how you would enjoy blending your strengths with his to create a dynamic team. Perhaps some of your weaknesses are his strengths.

It’s best to address these concerns about being overqualified before they arise. To discover how to customize your resume so you won’t be considered overqualified before you have a chance to interview, read,“How To Improve Your Response Rate”.

If you’ve had the opportunity to interview and suspect that you are overqualified for the position, include additional stories and outcomes in your thank you letter. Demonstrate how you’ll be the perfect fit and deliver far more value than the cost of your compensation package.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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Incorporating Keywords In Your Resume

Regardless of how you plan to distribute your resume, keywords or buzzwords are a critical element in marketing yourself to the prospective employer. A resume rich in keywords is critical whether you are:

  • Selectively sending your resume to the hiring decision maker or an executive search consultant
  • Responding to a position posted online
  • Posting your resume on an executive search firm’s site, a membership organization’s site, or a function- or industry-specific site

In nearly all of the electronic options, your resume will be entered into a database where the recipient(s) can conduct a search of the most qualified candidate.

And how do you think these folks initially determine who’s the most qualified? Keywords. Their own set of keywords, based on the requirements of the position.

Due to the plethora of job seekers in the market, employers are only considering candidates who are a “perfect fit”. And today, recruiters are expanding their list of requirements to include very specific requirements.

For example, some job postings include the geographic location in which you must reside. Some require specific company experience, for example, you must have worked at Coca Cola for five years to be considered for the position. Some even state, “The unemployed need not apply.”

So, your first challenge is to figure out which keywords to include. In selecting keywords, it’s important to be crystal clear about your functional target. It also helps to be clear about your industry target. Positioning yourself as an expert in a function and an industry greatly enhances your chances of being selected.

Generally, keywords are nouns or noun phrases. The most common type of keyword that employers search for is a position title. Other keywords include degrees, prestigious college names, credentials, licenses and technical certifications, as well as hard skills (areas of expertise), techniques or tools (B2B business development, environmental engineering, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing), soft skills (team building, cross-cultural leadership), languages, affiliations, industry jargon and geographic locations (cities, states and even telephone area codes). If you are searching for a position in the Silicon Valley and your residence is in “Alum Rock” rather than “San Jose,” in parentheses add, “Silicon Valley area,” or “10 miles outside the Silicon Valley area.” Remember, a recruiter selecting candidates for a Silicon Valley company may be based in New York and may not be familiar with the outlying cities.

Next, research job postings and select four to five positions that sound like your dream position—postings for which you feel 110% qualified. You may also want to visit industry-specific association websites to identify keywords. Association sites generally educate members on the current trends and challenges facing the industry.

Read through each position or website and record all of the keywords. Look for keyword similarities and patterns across all positions and websites. Create a list that you can refer to and update on an ongoing basis. Then, rank order the keywords by the number of times they are mentioned in the various postings and sites.

To determine the keyword strength of your resume, run a search on your resume for each of the keywords on your new list. Highlight the ones you find. Now, you can determine which keywords you will need to add. While it is okay to include a keyword list in your executive summary, you will also want to weave the keywords throughout your resume because some systems are able to decipher lists from content and rank keywords found within the content higher on the search results.

When embedding keywords in the experience section, create a quantifiable value proposition story encompassing the keyword or phrase. For example:

“Developed and successfully executed strategy for divestiture of 3 facilities within 16 months to yield $8MM in cost reduction and $280MM in asset sales.”

“Restructured manufacturing-driven inventory management system into a global organization based on solid forecasting methodologies. Reduced back orders 50% while improving customer service levels; improved inventory turns 10%.”

In the examples above the keywords are in bold.

Caution, do not use so many keywords that the resume does not read well when viewed by the human eye. The number of keywords you use will depend on your function, industry, qualifications and years of experience. For example, if you have been in operations or technology for 20+ years, you will most likely have numerous keywords that you could include in your resume. However, only include keywords that relate to what you would like to do next.

If you intend to pursue different functions and industries, you will need to create multiple versions of your resume that include keywords appropriate for each function and industry. While this is a lot of work, it is critical in today’s job market. Just be sure to track which resume you sent for each position or which resume you posted on each site. Some functions and industries combine well on one resume and others do not. For more about this topic, read: How Many Versions of Your Resume Do You Need?

You should also include keywords in all of the documents in your executive job search portfolio (cover letters, bios, online profiles, positioning statements, leadership profiles, success stories, branding statements, introductions, reference dossiers, thank you letters, etc.).

While a targeted search is the most effective job search strategy, there may be times when you must use some of the online venues to pursue a position, at which point your keywords can make or break the opportunity.

The strategies outlined in this article can also be applied to your LinkedIn profile.

Feel free to send an email to beverly@harveycareers.com of you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

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LinkedIn – The 6 Figure Executive Networking Site

With over 90 million users representing over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows you to:

• Connect with your network of contacts

• Find and connect with people you have lost track of

• Search and follow companies in which you have an interest

• Find out who is currently working for a target company and what his or her title is

• Find people in your network who work at your target company

• Find contacts to help you learn more about a company or opportunity

• Search and apply for jobs

• Find out who posted a position and communicate with the recruiter (job poster) before applying

• Join groups and network — or start your own group

• Post questions and polls

• Answer questions and position yourself as a subject matter expert and/or thought leader

Out of the 90 million members worldwide, I conducted a search to see how many members are recruiters. Here are my findings:

Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search

Results: 539,789 members

Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency

Results: 921,609 members

Oddly enough a search on: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency OR staffing agency OR personnel agency — netted the same number of results, 921,609.

Using the same search terms, I searched the Groups category. The results indicated that there are more than 900 Recruiter Groups and 202 Executive Search Firm Groups. The largest single Group of recruiters has 198,151 members worldwide.

As you can see, a basic membership (no fee) in LinkedIn can put you in front of thousands of recruiters 24×7. The key to getting found by these recruiters is your profile and more specifically your summary and specialties section. When a recruiter conducts a search for candidates, he or she only spends 10-20 SECONDS reviewing your profile. Following is a partial list of what recruiters and executive search consultants look for in your LinkedIn profile:

• Industry — Most recruiters are looking for executives with industry-specific experience. Occasionally recruiters recruit candidates out of a specific industry knowing that they are a good fit for the client company’s industry.

• Function/Level — Recruiters look for someone with a specific function and level. If you are President of a division, you most likely won’t be considered for a VP position since it is assumed that you will leave as soon as you find a President role.

• Recent Experience — Recency and relevancy are key here. If you have the experience the recruiter is looking for, but it is 15 years ago, you will most likely be overlooked. In today’s market the recruiter can find someone with recent and relevant experience.

• Education — Most companies require some type of degree and some require a master’s or specific degree. Therefore the recruiter will look for candidates with the educational qualifications required by the company.

• Job Hopping — This is a red flag for recruiters. If you have changed jobs every year for the past several years, it sends up a red flag. If you have good reason, your job hopping may be overlooked, however it’s difficult to get their attention to be able to explain. And your LinkedIn profile section is not where you want to try to explain.

• Location — Since few if any companies are willing to relocate executives, location is a high priority.

Of course, they look for the obvious such as correct spelling, grammar, language and tone as well. Since many recruiters only read your summary section, make sure you have a well-written summary that includes your branded value proposition.

If your career transition involves changing industries or functions, or you’re a job hopper, or you do not have the desired education, then targeting recruiters probably won’t be your most effective job search strategy. However, you’re profile is still extremely important because you will need to depend more on networking and finding contacts to land your next position.

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Career Planning

Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, once said: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.”

Og Mandino, U.S. businessman and motivational author and lecturer said: “The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”

And Stephen Covey, internationally respected leadership authority and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, said: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

These three quotes from respected leaders may give you some inspiration regarding the importance of planning and goal setting. If you’re new to goal setting, you can read an article on my blog that I wrote last January: http://www.harveycareers.com/blog/how-to-ensure-you-achieve-your-new-years-resolutions-2010-goals/.

For career planning you may want to create one-, two-, five-, and ten-year goals. BlueSteps a service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (the association for retained executive search firms) suggests that you, “set goals for yourself at each organization you join and for each position you assume, with interim objectives to provide markers to measure your progress or signal the need for change.”

Ultimately, you may want to plan your career through till your retirement. Ask yourself, “What do I want to have achieved by the time I retire?” Then, back your way into your goals. Consider where you are now and what you have to do and/or learn to reach your ultimate career goal.

While the economic environment may be causing you to accept whatever job you can get, I would caution you to consider your career goals. While you may need to take a bridge position—one that will hold you over until you can get back on track, make sure you continue to search for the opportunity that aligns with your goals. You don’t want to get stuck in a dead-end position that detracts you from your long-term goal. If you must take a bridge job, consider taking one that will help you develop a skill set or knowledge base that will strengthen your candidacy for your next step in your career.

Given that interviewers frequently ask about your career goals, having a well-thought-out response will position you as a visionary executive capable of leading an organization.

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How Many Versions of Your Resume Do You Need?

In today’s economy where hiring decision makers are extremely risk adverse and will only consider executives who are a “perfect fit” for the organization, it is important to target your resume.

However, many executives reason that they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities and therefore create one resume that showcases all of their functional areas of expertise as well as all of their knowledge, skills and abilities. When hiring decision makers read this type of resume, the message they receive is that of confusion. Most likely they will not take time to figure out what the candidate can do for their company because it’s buried in irrelevant information (as far as they’re concerned). Hiring decision makers may get the impression that the candidate is a jack of all trades and master of none. They may get the sense that the candidate won’t be able to focus on the functional role they’re filling. Or in today’s economy, they may assume that the candidate is desperate and will settle for anything, at any salary they offer, no matter how low.

How To Determine If You Need Multiple Versions

Since every hiring decision maker is looking for the “perfect fit,” you may need to create multiple versions of your resume when you are considering:

Multiple Roles: A few functional roles can be blended on the same resume. To determine which roles can be blended, use the job boards as a research tool. Search your favorite job board for positions with the functional roles in which you have an interest. Notice how many, and what types of companies or industries, blend the roles in which you are interested. If there is no blending what so ever, then you must create separate versions of your resume.

For example, some companies blend the following roles:

COO/CFO; CIO/CTO; Sales/Marketing; Sales/Business Development; and CMO/CBO. The larger the company, the more apt these roles are to broken out separately, however, in the small- and mid-size companies, you may find these roles blended. Many companies integrate the COO role into the CEO or CFO role. Likewise many companies combine all of their technology roles under a CFO, COO, CEO or engineering officer.

Similarly, only the larger companies have a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) or CBO (Chief Brand Officer) role. Many small- and mid-size companies integrate these roles under their marketing executive. So you will need to have more than one version of your resume if you intend to consider companies of all sizes.

Multiple Levels: If you are seeking a senior management position or a middle management position you will need to create two resumes.

For example, if you will be pursuing a CFO role or a Director of Finance role, you will need two versions. The reason being, if you write a resume strong enough to land the CFO role, you will over qualify yourself for the director-level role. Conversely, if you write a resume for a director-level role, you will under qualify yourself for the CFO role.

Multiple Industries: Most hiring decision makers are looking for people with industry experience. If you are targeting a specific industry, create a resume that highlights your experience in the industry. If you do not have experience in the industry, create a version that does not mention industry. While candidates recognize that their role is transportable across multiple industries, the truth of the matter is that hiring decision makers almost always require industry experience.

Multiple Company Sizes: Most hiring decision makers are looking for executives who have led a company of similar size and standing. If you are considering companies of all sizes, create different versions of your resume. For example, if you have been leading a multi-billion dollar company, you may want to consider converting any accomplishments stated in dollars to percentages so that you don’t over qualify yourself. Additionally, if you are pursing a position in a company that is larger than any you have worked in, you may want to convert dollars to percentages to seemingly even the playing field.

Other Considerations: Organizational structure, geographical orientation, business or value drivers, growth style and rate, product/service types, and customer types. You may need to create multiple versions based on these considerations as well.

While creating multiple versions takes considerable more effort, it IS worth it. When posting your resume to job boards, you will need to pick one version. However, that shouldn’t’t be much of a concern since a miniscule number of executives land a position via job boards. If you decide to post your resume on a job board, post the version focused on the position for which you are the most qualified.

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Understanding the Hidden Job Market

Often referred to as the “hidden job market” this segment of unadvertised positions has been recently increasing. A few of the reasons why jobs may not be posted and thus, classified as “hidden” include:

  • Staff reductions have left many Human Resource departments operating with a bare minimum staff. The HR department simply does not have the resources to respond to the hundreds or thousands of resumes they receive for advertised positions. Therefore, they do not post the open positions.
  • In an effort to cut costs, many companies who regularly contracted with an executive search firm have decided to eliminate this expense. Some companies are conducting a referral-style recruitment process and some have created a small internal group to manage recruitment of senior level executives.
  • The board of directors or venture capital owners may want to replace a non-performing senior executive, however they do not want to upset the current executive and cause him to leave before they have identified a new candidate to replace the existing executive.
  • The current executive may have submitted his resignation but agreed to stay until a replacement is secured. The company may not advertise the position because it may gravely impact the subordinates performance and an important initiative the executive is leading.
  • While there are many frozen positions, there are many that are simply sitting vacant and the company is not in a rush to fill the positions unless the “perfect” candidate appears on their radar screen.
  • A company decision maker may be formulating a new position, but has not yet developed the job description, skill requirements or received budget clearance for the new position.

In reviewing the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the majority of all jobs are hidden or unadvertised. The actual percentage changes month to month but has been interpreted by some experts to be as high as 80 percent. This would indicate that only 20 percent of jobs are posted.

Given these percentages, pursuing the hidden job market makes sense. This unadvertised segment will require a targeted search, extensive networking, and a crystal clear value proposition. One of my clients who followed this plan of attack identified several target companies and began a focused networking process. The result: he landed a position in the function, geography and salary range of his choice.

Another client identified one target company, began an internal networking process, met with several senior executives, and was offered a newly created position at a favorable salary.

As such, pursuing the unadvertised market makes sense.

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20 Dress Faux Pas That Can Jeopardize Your Interview Success & Undermine Your Credibility

Job search is marketing…and marketing includes packaging and presentation. You want your appearance and presentation to exude a polished, confident professional.

When you’re interviewing, obviously, you want the interviewer to concentrate on your expertise, qualifications, and value you can bring to the organization. However if your appearance is flamboyant, outdated, or disheveled, the interview will find it distracting, and you may be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Following are 20 faux pas that WILL derail your ability to make a professional first impression and undermine your credibility.

Suit:

•   Faux Pas: Wearing a suit with bold colors, large prints, stripes, plaids or funky patterns
•   Appropriate: wear a suit in a dark, solid color such as navy or charcoal/gray
•   Faux Pas: Wearing a suit jacket with pants that don’t match
•   Appropriate: Wear a 2-piece matched suit
•   Faux Pas: Wearing a suit made of an exotic fabric such as suede, leather or velvet
•   Appropriate: Wear a suit made of wool, a wool blend, or a very high quality blend with natural fiber
•    Faux Pas: Wearing a suit that is too large, too small, or too long
•    Appropriate: Invest in a properly fitting suit. Suit jackets should fit so that they can be easily buttoned without any significant pull marks across the fabric. The sleeve should be long enough so that about a ¼ inch of your dress shirt can be seen beyond the cuffs when your arms are relaxed by your side
•    Faux Pas: Wearing rolled up sleeves
•    Appropriate: While rolled up sleeves may be in style, err on the side on conservatism and do not roll up your sleeves
•   Faux Pas: Wearing a suit with the tacking stitches still in place
•    Appropriate: Suits typically have tacking stitches to hold vents (on the jacket back and sleeves) in place before the garment is purchased. Cut them off if your retailer/tailor doesn’t.

Socks:

•    Faux Pas: Wearing no socks, short socks, or socks with large prints, patterns or bright colors.
•    Appropriate: Wear socks mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down. Wear dark colored socks that match your suit.

Footwear:

•    Faux Pas: Wearing loafers, dress boots, athletic shoes, boat shoes, crocs, or open-toed shoes such as sandals or flip flops
•    Appropriate: Wear black leather shoes with laces—shinier materials usually indicate a dressier shoe
•    Faux Pas: Wearing shoes or boots with a 2-inch or higher heel
Appropriate: Wear oxford leather shoes with a traditional heel height

Shirt:

•   Faux Pas: Wearing a short-sleeve shirt, collarless shirt, ill-fitting shirt, or wrinkled shirt
•   Appropriate: Wear a well-pressed, long-sleeve, button-down-the-front shirt with a crisp collar. Wear a shirt that fits your neck size perfectly (the top button must be buttoned with no straining — the neckline should not be so large that your tie drags your shirt down)
•    Faux Pas: Wearing bold, flashy colors or prints
•    Appropriate: Choose a solid colored shirt or one with conservative stripes

Tie:

•   Faux Pas: Wearing an outdated tie (too wide, too narrow), a flashy tie, a tie with religious, political or sports symbols, or cartoon characters
•    Appropriate: Wear a 100% silk tie with neat repeating patterns (foulards) or a traditionally striped tie. Err on the side of conservatism
•    Faux Pas: A tie knot that doesn’t fit the neck opening
•    Appropriate: Choose a four-in-hand knot or a Windsor knot (no bow ties)

Jewelry:

•    Faux Pas: Wearing excessive amounts of jewelry or body jewelry (ear, eyebrow, nose rings)
•    Appropriate: Wear a conservative watch and limit jewelry to one ring per hand
•   Faux Pas: Wearing flashy cufflinks
•    Appropriate: Wear a barrel cuff shirt (a shirt with one button at the bottom of the sleeve). Do not wear cuff links

Belts:

•    Faux Pas: Wearing a large belt with a buckle signifying which team, sport or race car driver you favor
•   Appropriate: Choose a leather suit belt that matches your shoe color

Suspenders / Braces:

•  Faux Pas: Wearing suspenders
•    Appropriate: You may wear braces, but not suspenders. (Braces button into your suit slacks, while suspenders clip onto the outside.)

Briefcase / Portfolio / Pen:

•    Faux Pas: Carrying an old worn briefcase or portfolio that you’ve carried for several years or ever since you graduated from college
Using the pen provided by the hotel or the last trade show you attended
•    Appropriate: Carry a leather briefcase and portfolio and a quality pen with no advertising printed on the housing

Cell phone:

•   Faux Pas: Talking or texting on your way into the interview area — or worse yet, taking a call during the interview
•   Appropriate: Turn off your cell phone as soon as you step out of your vehicle or transportation

Hats / Sunglasses:

•    Faux Pas: Wearing a hat or sunglasses
•    Appropriate: Do not wear a hat and remove sunglasses immediately upon entering the building. (Do not push your sunglasses up on top of your head—remove them completely)

For Women

While many of the faux pas and appropriate recommendations above apply to women as well, there are a couple of additional points for women:

•   Suit: Wear a pant suit or a knee-length, skirt suit
•   Hosiery: When wearing a skirt suit, wear neutral or flesh-tone stockings (despite the no-hosiery trend)
•   Shoes: Wear a low-heel shoe versus flats or 4+-inch high heels
•   Necklines: Wear a blouse with a collar that buttons up rather high. Too low a neckline can give the interviewer the wrong impression
•   Hemlines: Wear a suit that reaches the middle of the knee or 1-2 inches below the knee. Too short a hemline can give the interviewer the wrong impression

These recommendations are for the traditional, conservative industries. If you’re pursuing a position in the creative or artistic field, you may need to adjust these recommendations to the field. However, always err on the conservative side of the industry unless you feel you simply could not be happy working in a somewhat conservative environment.
Remember, you want to be remembered for your ability to perform — not for what you were wearing.

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5 Tips for Developing Your List of References

References can be among your most valuable assets. Your references can and cinch a pending job opportunity or unknowingly be your worst enemy and nix the opportunity.

Providing references and recommendations to a potential employer can offer insight into how others have perceived working with you and may actually help to ‘tip the scales’ in your favor.

Here are five simple tips to develop your references:

Tip #1 – Ask for Permission
Request permission from anyone you plan to use as a reference and let your references know they may be contacted. Ask your references what contact information they would like you to include and if they have any preferences about how they would like to be contacted.

Tip #2 – Coach Your References
Provide each reference with a copy of your resume. However, don’t assume that your references know what you want them to say about you. Coach each reference regarding the types of positions you’re pursuing and what it is you would like them to speak to. For example, a specific project that the two of you worked on together, or a task force that you led, or a business objective you achieved.

Tip #3 – Request Written Recommendations
Ask your references for a recommendation in writing. Their recommendation should be brief but succinct in touting your strengths, talents and professional attributes. In fact, you may want to create one document which contains both references and recommendations to submit whether unsolicited or by request; usually during a second or third interview.

Tip #4 – Keep it Professional
As an executive, potential employers are seeking references from people who have worked with you directly such as executive-level associates, fellow committee members, partners, board members, mentors, investors, bankers, consultants, etc. However, you should also include references from subordinates. A well-rounded portfolio of references helps the recruiter gain greater insight into how you interact with all the members on your team.

Tip #5 – Send a Thank You Note
Once you land a position, send a thank you note to each of your references to let them know their feedback was an essential part of your success. Be sure to offer to provide a recommendation for them as well.

Your Reference List is one more tool you have to market and sell yourself. You can create a separate page for each reference and make it very formal or you can format it similarly to your resume and list three to four references on a page. Be sure to leave room for the reference checker to take notes.

Remember; do not underestimate the value of your references and the power they hold.

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Tough Interview Questions

As a senior executive, securing the position you want in today’s job market is going to take some extra preparation. Be ready to shine by showcasing your expertise to your potential employer by thoroughly preparing for interview questions. The following interview questions are intended to find the top candidate, so it’s important to consider your answers carefully ahead of time and be ready to explain them when necessary.

Let’s start with three common but tricky interview questions…

Why have you been unemployed so long? Clearly, this is not the right time to share your disappointment with the current state of the economy; that’s not what employers are interested in hearing. The key here is to answer honestly, while staying upbeat and positive. You might say, “I took this opportunity to re-evaluate the direction of my career path … and I have decided that this is the exact type of position I’m interested in … and this is the company I’d really like to be a part of.”

If you’ve interviewed with other companies, don’t be concerned about letting the recruiter know you have declined other opportunities offered to you in the interim that didn’t quite fit your criteria. Also let them know if you utilized this gap in your career to take a class, earn a certification, or volunteer your time to a worthy charity. Whatever your answer is, let them know in no uncertain terms that you are ready, willing and able to re-enter the corporate world.

Would you be willing to take a salary cut? Obviously, no one wants to take a salary cut, but the reality is that you may have to be prepared to take home less than you did previously. However, before you agree to any cut in salary, request additional information about the responsibilities of the position. Don’t forget to take into account the benefits package. Consider opting out of the perks you can live without in lieu of the salary cut. Regardless, don’t waste the recruiter’s time or your own. If you are not willing to accept a cut, make sure the recruiter knows that your salary requirements are firm.

You appear to be over-qualified for this position. What caused you to submit your resume for it? With the tough job market this is a common occurrence. If you’re truly interested emphasize your desire to establish an association with the company. You might say something like, “I assume that if I perform well in this position, new opportunities will become available that I may step into.” You might also say, “I’m here because I’ve researched your company and it’s innovative, cutting edge technology is appealing and something I want to be a part of.” Mention that since you are so well qualified, the company will realize a rapid return on investment and very little training will be required.

While you have no way of knowing exactly which questions you will be asked during your interview, preparing your responses ahead of time is extremely important. Think your answers through and then practice saying each until you are comfortable with it. Your well-thought-out response may make all the difference when it comes to obtaining the position you want.

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