10 Interview Preparation Tips

Today’s interviewers expect you to know something about their company. It’s an indication to them that you’re interested in the position and the company. In fact, some interviewers will ask, “What do you know about our company?” If you haven’t done your research on the company, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot. On the other hand if you have, this is your invitation to showcase how your qualifications and expertise will allow you to drive and deliver on the company’s goals and objectives. So here’s a shortlist of tips:

1) Research the company’s size, industry position, market share, brand, growth rate and style, products/services, customer type(s), funding source (private equity, venture capital, or angle investors; family-owned/operated, etc.), and stability. Warning: Don’t depend on the recruiter’s information. I’ve heard too many cases where the company did not give the recruiter accurate information.

To find this information, review the company’s website, blog, press releases, podcasts, YouTube videos, white papers, and SEC reports. If you don’t find this information on the company website, you may be able to find it using these sites:
Press releases: http://www.highbeam.com/
White papers: http://whitepapers.bx.businessweek.com/
YouTube videos: http://www.youtube.com/
SEC reports: http://www.secinfo.com/

Additionally, “Follow” the company on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. More and more companies are embracing social media as part of their marketing strategy, so be sure to check all three sites.

2) Research members of the leadership team and the organizational structure of the company using your LinkedIn contacts, LinkedIn’s company search tool, or these sites: http://implu.com/; http://www.cogmap.com/.

3) Research the interviewer(s) using Google or LinkedIn. “Follow” the interviewer on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

4) Research your predecessor. Find out how long s/he was in the position, why s/he left the compny, and where s/he went.

5) Identify ways you will be able to contribute to the company. Be prepared to convey your value proposition as it applies to each specific position and company. Contact employees, vendors/suppliers, third-party consultants/advisors, and customers to gather information about problems you can solve for the company.

6) Create a customized interview portfolio that contains examples of your leadership style, contributions to previous employers (expand on bullets on your resume that align with each specific opportunity), value proposition, strategic initiatives you drove, impact you had on the company, and/or technical expertise. If you prefer an online portfolio, check out http://www.intrvue.com/html/home.php and include a link to your portfolio on your resume, cover letter, and other marketing materials.

7) Be prepared to give a presentation (Think: board presentation) on why you’re the perfect candidate, what accomplishments you can drive for the company, and what quantitative and qualitative impact you can have on the company. If you don’t have access to presentation software, you may want to check out www.wintheview.com. This is particularly effective when the interviewer doesn’t have an agenda for the interview.

8) Research the company’s culture. Speak with others who work at the company (no matter what level-shipping clerk to senior management). For example, companies owned by foreign companies may have a country-centric culture; technology companies often have a distinct culture; private equity- and venture capital-owned companies also have a unique culture. Some companies are fast-paced, innovative, ahead-of-the-curve and have a flat reporting structure while others are methodical, hierarchal, and risk adverse. Knowing this information will help you respond appropriately during your interview. You may find some help at http://www.glassdoor.com/.

9) Research salary information particularly if the company is located in a different state or region. Even if an executive search consultant has provided you with salary information, you need to research the salary range for that position in that geography so that you can negotiate the best salary for yourself. Payscale.com (http://www.payscale.com/) or Salary.com (http://www.salary.com/) can help you with this research.

10) Research the company’s benefits package. If you’re interviewing with a public company, you can find this information in their SEC filings. If it’s a private company or not-for-profit organization, you might find some information in the careers section of the company’s website. Often times the company lists their employee benefits in the position descriptions. Of course, as a senior-level executive, you can expect a more comprehensive benefits package, however this would provide you with a baseline.

While there’s no doubt, this IS a lot of work … knowledge is power … and it can set you apart from the other candidates who are being interviewed.

*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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Reflecting on the Past Year

Reflecting on the past year can be very enlightening. While we all live such busy lives, we seldom take time to celebrate our learnings and accomplishments. Yet, it’s important to set aside 30-40 minutes each month, or at least, quarterly to jot down some notes about our accomplishments. So many times when I’m interviewing clients for the development of their resume, they’ve forgotten quantifiable details, or they’ve completely forgotten many of their accomplishments.

Following are some suggestions on what to record:

Success Stories — Your challenges, actions, results, and strategic impact on the company. Be sure to quantify your results. It’s easier to look up the numbers and details now than it will be a year or two from now.

Education & Professional Development — From college degrees to workshops and seminars, record all of the details related to any type of education or learnings.

Recognition — From awards and honors to letters of commendation and praise. Gather copies of each and store in a safe place.

Leadership Roles & Outcomes — From developing and implementing strategy to leading people, projects, organizations, and corporations. Be sure to include both your assigned and assumed leadership roles.

Contributions to the Company — From financial contributions to efficiency and productivity improvements, to the attainment of business objectives. Record all of your contributions.

Recommendations / Suggestions Implemented — Record any business models, strategies, systems or processes that you have conceived and recommended. Be sure to note if they were implemented and the results or outcomes.

Special Projects — From a special committee, task force, or working group to a cross-functional or cross-enterprise initiative. Be sure to include projects outside the normal scope of responsibilities.

Speaking Engagements / Presentations — From external presentations to hundreds of people to internal presentations to a small group. Record the who, what (topic), where and when.

Volunteer Work / Community Contributions — From volunteer work in local organizations to large-scale industry associations. Record your role and contributions.

Compensation Package — From a cost of living raise or a change in benefits, to a promotion, or performance bonus. Before you can effectively negotiate your severance or compensation package, you must be aware of the dollar value of all of your benefits and perks, as well as, your salary.

Career Management Advances — Record the steps you’ve taken to more effectively manage your career. From career development plans established with your current employer to steps you’ve taken independently.

Brand Management — Record the steps you’ve taken to manage and promote your personal brand. Personal branding has gone mainstream and it’s critical to communicate and exude a consistent authentic personal brand.

Your Most Fulfilling / Rewarding Career Moment Of The Year — Think about a time when you were at the top of your game, brimming with pride, feeling a sense of accomplishment. Note every detail you can remember about that moment — where were you, who were you with, what was happening, how did you feel, what did that mean to you, why was that important to you?

Your Dream Job — Describe your dream job. What would you be doing, what type of company would you be working at, what kind of environment would you be working in, who would you be working with, what types of challenges would you be handling, what types of contributions would you be making?

Recording these reflections will help lay the foundation to start working on your goals and plans for the upcoming year.

*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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Looking For Work? Keep It Up Through the Holidays

…Large companies often have “use it or lose it” hiring budgets they need to spend by the end of their fiscal year, which for many firms coincides with the calendar year. “We’ve had facilities [such as hospitals] call us and say, ‘We have $100,000 to spend for recruitment and if we don’t use it this year, we don’t get it next year,'” explains Sean Milius, CEO of Management Recruiters of Colorado, a health-care focused affiliate of MRINetwork. Money might go toward signing bonuses and relocation packages, Mr. Milius says. Read the full article by WSJ’s Lauren Weber here…

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What’s Driving Your Career?

Is it your personal vision, passions, and innate talents … or is it uncertainty, confusion or even desperation? Are you clear about the type of position that would be intrinsically fulfilling … or are you willing to accept whatever you can get?

When you hear the words personal vision, passion, drive, and innate talents what emotions do you feel? Energy, excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity, hope? Do you feel like you want to get to know more about this person?

Alternatively, when you hear the words uncertainty, confusion, and desperation, what emotions come to mind? Lethargy, pessimism, despair, or lifelessness?

Before you launch your next job search, identify what you are passionate about, what energizes you, and what drives you. Passion is unique, it’s what sets you apart, it’s a precious treasure, and it’s impossible to authentically reproduce.

Focus your job search on your areas of passion, drive, and innate talents. These qualities are contagious and attract the right opportunities. You’ll interview better and capture the interest of the recruiter. While they may not have the perfect position for you at the moment, you will be remembered because of the emotional charge you brought to the meeting.

Communicating verbally and in writing from a place of vision, passion, drive, enthusiasm, and expertise is one of the hallmarks of your brand. It will set you apart from peers who have seemingly similar qualifications. Consider this: If you were interviewing two candidates for a position and both met all of the position requirements, had the same skill sets, appeared to be a good fit in your organization, but one was passionate, appeared to have a lot of drive, and was enthusiastic, who would you choose?

The most successful job search is the one that is focused around your uniqueness. Nearly all recruiters will tell you that they’re looking for the candidate that is focused on a particular function. Trying to market a broad and diverse range of skills and expertise will only confuse the recruiter and muddy your message. While employers do want executives with diverse and broad skill sets, your job search needs to focus on one or two of your major ones. And those should be the skill sets that align most with your passions and innate talents.

The return for landing a position focused on your personal vision, passion and innate talents are many, but most importantly include intrinsic fulfillment and extrinsic reward.

*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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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:


  • 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: https://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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