WINNER: Toast of the Resume Industry Awards

Each year, CDI (Career Directors International) hosts the resume writing industry’s most prestigious Toast of the Resume Industry™ (TORI) resume writing competition; an international competition in which contestants submit their best work in a category.

It was an honor to be selected as 2nd place winner for Best Information Technology Resume. And I was equally elated to have been nominated for Best Accounting & Finance Resume.

According to CDI President, Laura DeCarlo, “The Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) award winners represent the epitome of excellence for job seekers to stand out from the competition for the 60-80% of all jobs that are found through networking and the hidden job market. Job seekers at any level who want to know their resume is written with the marketing power and precision to help them come out on top for qualifying positions need look no further than a TORI winner.

These individuals are the best of the best in their overall strategy of visual formatting and design, personal marketing, understanding of employer/position requirements, and use of powerful language. In a world where visual presentation has become an art open to everyone with smart phone apps, to win a TORI is the ultimate stamp of approval a resume writer could attain.”

Winners are selected by a blind panel of global industry experts. Nominees are selected followed by first, second, and third place winners in each category.

I proudly represent the ‘best of the best’ in my industry and share the accolades with my esteemed colleagues.

14 Tips for Writing an Online Bio

Numerous reports confirm that online career networking continues to grow in popularity.

Web 2.0 technologies have provided a new channel where executives, recruiters and executive search consultants can connect.

Networking sites such as Linkedin.com and ziggs.com have developed sections specifically for job posting, job searches, and career networking.

Additionally, membership-driven career sites such as ExecuNet.com, RiteSite.com, and TheLadders.com, offer member-to-member networking opportunities.

Other online networking options include social media sites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, and online discussion forums and blogs.

Business information search engines such as Zoominfo.com allow you to search and view executive bios.

These are all wonderful resources and many require a professional bio or profile. It’s important to be aware that the bio or profile that you post will become a major component of your online presence. While some websites limit access to members only, protect your privacy, and thwart spider invasions, others have been created specifically to connect people worldwide and your information may pop up in a search engine.

There are two types of bio formats. Some sites allow you to post a narrative bio; other sites provide sections and headings where you can post your information, similar to posting your resume online. Some sites have sections for everything from education, experience and awards to interests and hobbies. So here are a few tips to help you create an effective bio.

  1. Review each site to identify the culture and demographics of the members and determine the appropriate approach and amount of information you will want to share. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are much more conversational than LinkedIn and you’ll want to adjust your writing style accordingly.
  2. First person/third person: On the more professional sites that are geared for job search and professional networking, you’ll find a mixture of first-person and third-person profiles. On the more conversational sites, you’ll want to write your profile in first-person.
  3. Consistent use of your name: To eliminate any confusion to recruiters or potential employers, be consistent with the name you use online, particularly for job search purposes. Your online name should match your name on your resume.
  4. Reverse chronological order: Begin your profile with your most recent experience. Oftentimes traditional bios begin with where you graduated and progress to current day; however, your online profile should be limited to your recent background.
  5. Writing style: This may be your “first impression” with a recruiter or potential employer. If the option is available, create a powerful headline or tag line that captures the reader’s attention and compels the reader to want to know more about you. Your profile summary should be an “executive snapshot” with basic information regarding type of experience, industry focus, types of companies, global cultural familiarity, languages, and other areas of expertise.
  6. Value proposition: Demonstrate your experience in solving specific problems. Include examples of how you deliver value to the employer’s bottom line.
  7. Expertise: Be specific about your expertise versus positioning yourself as a generalist. Most companies are looking for professionals with deeply niched expertise. They are looking for the “perfect fit.”
  8. Executive brand: Include your innate qualities that differentiate you from others. State what you are renowned for, or are an evangelist for. Your brand must communicate a clear and marketable value proposition, an authentic and unique promise of value.
  9. Complete your profile: Many sites have some type of gauge that displays the percentage of the completeness of your profile based on the number of categories you complete. According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to find opportunities through their site.
  10. Dates and accuracy: Make sure that all of your information and dates are accurate … discrepancies among sites could be damaging to your reputation.
  11. Keywords: Since recruiters are using the networking sites heavily to identify and research candidates, use lots of keywords and phrases.
  12. Spelling: Check spelling carefully. Misspelled key words won’t come up in a search.
  13. Public record: Do not publish any information that you wouldn’t want your current or future employer to know about you.
  14. Tracking: Keep a log of all of the sites where you have posted information about yourself … and any blog where you have posted comments.

10 Tips For Writing Your Online Profile

With online social networking playing such an important part in job search, it is crucial to create a professional profile or bio on a few of the social networking sites that recruiters are using to find candidates. There are several different types of sites offering networking opportunities. The primary social networking sites appropriate for senior executives include LinkedIn.com, eCademy.com and Xing.com. There are also membership sites such as ExecuNet.com, RiteSite.com, TheLadders.com, ExecutiveRegistery.com, Netshare.com, CareerJournal.com, and others that also allow you to post a profile for networking purposes. Then there are the more casual, conversational sites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, Flickr.com, MySpace.com, Orkut.com and approximately 300 others.

Before creating and posting your profile, review each site to reveal the culture and tone of the site and determine the appropriate approach and amount of information you will want to share. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are much more conversational than the others and you’ll want to adjust your writing style. Some sites have fill-in-the-box screens and they step you through the process. Others offer recommendations for categories you can include, and others are completely free form.

Whichever sites you choose, follow these tips for greatest effectiveness.

Be consistent with your name: To eliminate any confusion to recruiters or potential employers, be consistent with the name you use online, particularly for job search purposes. Your online name should match your name on your resume.

Write in first party: When writing in first party, be careful not to start every sentence with “I” and “my.” Write your profile as if you were writing a cover letter … slightly more conversational than your resume … but with limited use of personal pronouns.

Reverse chronological order: Begin your profile with your most recent experience. Often times traditional bios begin with where you were born or graduated and progress to current day, however, your online profile should only cover your recent background. Going back more than ten years is not advised, unless you need to include earlier experience to support a position you’re currently pursuing.

Write professionally: This may be your “first impression” with a recruiter or potential employer. If the option is available, create a powerful headline or tag line that captures the reader’s attention and compels the reader to want to know more about you. Your profile summary should be an “executive snapshot” with basic information regarding type of experience, industry focus, types of companies, global cultural familiarity, languages, and other areas of expertise.

Value proposition: Demonstrate your experience in solving specific problems. Include three to five examples of how you deliver value to the employers’ bottom line.

Your expertise: Be specific about your expertise. You do not want to look like a generalist; most companies are looking for executives with deeply niched expertise. They are looking for the “perfect fit.”

Your executive brand: Include your innate qualities that differentiate you from others. Mention what you are renowned for, or what you are a stand for, or are an evangelist for. Your brand must project a clear and marketable value proposition, an authentic and unique promise of value.

Jargon: Using common industry jargon is fine, but be careful about using company-specific jargon that no one else will understand. It’s a turnoff and some people may feel intimidated.

Check your spelling: Most online networking sites do not have spell checkers. As an executive, it is imperative to have an error-free profile.

Double check your spelling: Recruiters search for candidates by keywords. If you have misspelled the word they are searching on, your profile will not come up in their results.

Complete your profile: Many sites have some type of gauge that displays the percentage of the completeness of your profile based on the number of categories you complete. According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to find opportunities through their site.