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.

Land a Rewarding Executive Position with a Dynamic Portfolio

sunset_man silhoutteLong gone are the days of sending out resumes cut and pasted from Internet resume templates. For executives going through the career transition process this manner of applying for positions will simply not cut it. While boilerplate cover letters and generic resumes littered with a few keywords here and there may work for entry level jobs, it simply will not help you land a rewarding executive position. To attract the top decision makers, you need to develop a branded self-marketing portfolio that sets you apart from your competition.

Putting together a portfolio of self-marketing materials is vital to securing an interview or meeting with the key players in the company. The following are the types of documents that should be part of your executive marketing campaign:

  • Résumé & Cover Letter
  • Focused One-Sheet
  • Career Biography
  • Leadership Brief
  • Achievement Summary
  • Positioning Statement
  • Executive Style Reference Dossier
  • Networking Résumé & Introduction
  • Thank You Letters

These documents should amplify the information in your executive résumé, which is the core document from which all other marketing materials flow. Your resume must contain essential information to attract the eyes of decision makers, human resources managers, recruiters, and executive search consultants.

In today’s tough job market, focus is paramount! Corporations are looking for a perfect fit. Be sure to optimize your résumé with key words and phrases relevant to the type of position you are pursuing. Once your résumé is entered in a recruiter’s database or applicant tracking system (ATS), these keywords are critical for ranking your résumé in the top search results. While this might not seem critical to the executive-level candidate, it’s important to consider that the big five search firms (Korn Ferry, Spencer Stuart, Russell Reynolds, Heidrick & Struggles, and Egon Zehnder) use applicant tracking systems based on keywords.

All of the marketing materials you provide a hiring manager or other key decision maker, should adequately demonstrate your qualifications and position you as the ideal candidate for the job.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

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

Seven Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Contacts

bigstockphoto_Global_Community_4404997Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone recommends that you build your network before you need it and keep in touch with your network on an ongoing basis. He also recommends that you periodically connect with each of your contacts to keep abreast of their initiatives and to share yours.

To do this efficiently and effortlessly, you want to enter or import your contacts into an electronic database. You’ll need the capability to enter contact information, miscellaneous notes and dates that are important to you, and the names, addresses, phone numbers (including Skype or FaceTime), and email addresses of your contacts.

What follows are a few ideas that may help you stay in touch with your network:

1. Email a newsletter that tells your contacts about your most recent activities. If your contacts don’t hear from you on a regular basis they’ll assume you no longer need their help, or that you’re no longer interested in helping them. Of course, if you have hundreds in your network you might want to consider using an e-news service provider such as Aweber, ConstantContact, MyEmma, or use a similar newsletter distribution program.

2. Invite your contacts to join you on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Between newsletters, use these sites to broadcast a brief, 140-character message regarding your status. Your newsletter will allow you to communicate your thoughts and status in detail and the 140-character postings will allow you to keep people up to date on a more frequent basis – but only if they approve. Get their permission first.

3. Send a link to your contacts when you see their names mentioned on the Internet. This may be an article or press release that quotes or features them. It might be an announcement for awards they received, speaking engagements, tournaments they won, or charitable contributions they made. Whatever the case, show them that you’re genuinely interested in them.

4. Send links to your contacts containing information they would enjoy reading about or information that would be valuable to them. To help you effortlessly find this type of information, set up RSS feeds using a news aggregator application such as Feedly. Then all you need to do is copy and paste the link into an email and send it to your contacts.

5. Send greeting cards for important business and personal dates in their lives. These might be employment anniversaries, graduation dates, special awards, certification achievements, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, and so on. For this initiative you can use SendOutCards (US) or JacquieLawson

6. For your contacts who publish blogs, post a few comments on their blogs occasionally. While blogs are a public forum (meaning don’t post personal information), they allow you to show your contacts that you’re thinking of them.

7. Pick up the phone and call your contacts at least every three to four months.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

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


Are You Crystal Clear About Your Value Proposition?

iStock_000015653759XSmallYour branded value proposition is your unique promise of value. It is a statement of the tangible results a company expects to gain by hiring you. But how do you define this value and, most importantly, how do you demonstrate your value to the company you are interviewing with?

When defining value, it is important to keep these key factors in mind:

  • Your value proposition must be compelling. For instance, significant cost cutting, hefty profit improvements, large sales increases, opening major new markets, or customer satisfaction turnarounds that spell the difference between company success and failure. Always remember this: Top decision makers are interested in sweeping changes, not miniscule improvements.
  • Focus on top line, bottom line, market share, and shareholder value. Improvements in any of these four fundamental categories will make the decision maker’s eyes shine and bring a welcoming smile to his or his face.
  • You need to relate your value proposition in terms of what the hiring company can reasonably expect. That objective must be first and foremost on your mind during the interview because, more than anything else, it will help you land the job you’re seeking and get you off to a fast start. Showing how you drive value is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of the business and your ability to help the hiring company succeed. This language speaks directly to the decision maker.

Every accomplishment you claim must be ultimately tied to the bottom line … even if you don’t have P&L responsibility. This is vital, because every decision maker is interested in profitability.

When creating your value proposition, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I bring to the table?
  • How consistently successful have I been in impacting the top line, the bottom line, increasing market share, and increasing shareholder value?

Remember that a clearly defined and clearly stated value proposition communicates your value to the hiring organization. It identifies your natural talents and aligns them with your target companies and intersects with the company’s brand, creating a perfect marriage between you and the company you are interested in working for.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

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


Is Your Brand In Alignment With Your Goals?

iStock_000010175272XSmallPersonal branding is the future of executive career management. It means identifying and communicating what makes you unique, relevant, and compelling so that you can reach your career goals and achieve your purpose.

Personal branding is about differentiation. It’s about leveraging what makes you exceptional so you stand out from the myriad others who offer seemingly similar talents and expertise. Personal branding helps you stand heads and shoulders above the competition by highlighting your unique promise of value.

When you become clear about your brand it gives your career greater meaning and fulfillment. You’ll feel more energized and purpose-driven. Personal branding allows you to be authentic and capitalize on your uniqueness.

Differentiating between Your Personal and Executive Brand

So what is your personal brand and your executive brand? Your personal brand is your unique vision and purpose combined with your values and passions. Just as your DNA and fingerprints are unique, your entire chemistry, makeup, and style are unique. It’s how you approach everything you do. Your executive brand is how you lead a team, an organization, or a project. It’s how you communicate with peers, customers, vendors, partners, and the board.

Your executive brand involves your reputation and how others view you. You already have a brand. It may not be congruent with who you are, but your peers can tell you what attributes you’re known for in the office. If your brand isn’t congruent with what you think it is, why is that? Do you think one way and act differently? Do you pursue a career path because intellectually it makes sense? Or are you chasing the money or someone else’s dream?

Determining your personal and executive brand is rewarding. Once you’re clear about your brand, your career path becomes congruent with your personal brand and instills a sense of purpose and self-worth. Once you develop a communications plan and begin radiating your brand, you’ll find wonderful opportunities opening up for you.

The Rough Waters of Branding

Make no mistake about it: strong brands both attract and repel. Your brand will help you find the right corporate fit and culture. On the other hand a strong brand may repel an employer, but that’s okay. You don’t want to work in an environment that makes you uneasy. It literally drains the life right out of you. You won’t be able to do your best work if your brand is in opposition to the company’s brand. Plus, you won’t be climbing the corporate ladder if your brand isn’t a fit with the company’s.

Having a clear understanding of your brand will drive your career. Communicating your brand will attract the right opportunities and environments where you can make an impact while fulfilling your purpose.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

Tips for Enhancing Your Executive Brand within the Organization

Brands are built on your daily actions and behavior. There is no such thing as a communication, activity, posture, or approach that doesn’t count. Your brand is constantly being evaluated by those around you—both consciously and unconsciously.

While most senior executives are not of the chest-pounding type, when it comes to managing your career, it is important to find subtle ways to promote yourself within the organization.

Following are a few tips for enhancing and promoting your executive brand within the organization:

  • If you’re an expert in a particular area, but you’re not recognized for your expertise, try increasing your executive presence and brand by asking to speak at the next board meeting or executive committee meeting. Volunteer to head a task force, committee, special initiative team, oversight office, or best practices group that will allow you to showcase your expertise and demonstrate your brand. If no such group exists, consider initiating and leading one.
  • Consider preparing a monthly report for your boss, board, investors, or owners outlining your business unit’s monthly goals and accomplishments and how those accomplishments impacted the business objectives, profitability, market share, shareholder value, stakeholder value, etc. This will enable you to demonstrate your leadership and brand persona while keeping your superiors abreast of your business unit’s progress.
  • Position your brand and expertise by mentoring, coaching, and training others. Consider creating training programs, demonstrations, audio/video presentations, podcasts, power point presentations, instruction manuals, tip sheets, how-to articles, and ebooks and publishing them in the company’s newsletter or posting them on the company’s intranet or internal blog. Social media venues may be an option depending on the confidential nature of the subject matter.
  • Promote the accomplishments and successes of your team—both individually and collectively. Promote and recognize each individual team member’s accomplishments and successes. Acknowledge them publicly for a job well done. Also, promote the team’s accomplishments and successes. By promoting your team’s and team member’s victories, you position yourself as a dynamic leader of an “A” team. Rest assured, your superiors, colleagues, and peers will know who is leading the team to success.
  • Network internally. Network across every function and level of the organization. Connect with people domestically and globally across all divisions, branches, subsidiaries, companies, etc. Gain brand recognition across the entire conglomerate.

Now let’s take a look at a few of the more obvious ways to enhance and promote your brand.

  • Your environment: What impression does your office radiate? Is everything in your office in line with your brand?

If your highest value is integrity, do you have a picture or poster expressing integrity? If your brand is team work, do you have posters representing team work? If your brand is global, do you have a globe on a pedestal or world maps hanging on the wall? What books, journals, or publications do you have sitting on your desk or in your reference library? What electronics, equipment, and tools are visible (either physically or on your computer screen)? What types of artifacts are sitting on your shelves? What does your furniture say about you? What does your pen say about you?

  • Your expression: What impression do you radiate?

Is your personal grooming in line with your brand? What kind of watch do you wear? What kind of personal electronics do you use? What kind of vehicle do you drive? If your brand is top performance, are you driving a vehicle renowned for top performance? If your brand is reliability, do you drive an all-wheel vehicle? If your brand is efficiency, do you drive a car renowned for incredible fuel efficiency? If your brand is technological innovation, do you drive a car renowned for state of the art technology?

It’s important to note that if you are honoring your unique brand, any adjustments you make to these personal or environmental elements will reduce stress, support your innate talents and expertise, ignite your passions and lead to greater fulfillment.

Incorporating just one or two of these strategies will help you elevate your brand visibility and position yourself for the next level.

Let me know how it works for you.

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


Executive Branding Tip 10

Integrate your brand in to your career marketing materials.

Weave your clear and compelling brand into your value proposition, accomplishment statements, resume, online bios and profiles, letters, website, blog, web portfolio, career biographies, positioning statements, leadership philosophy, and any other self-marketing materials you have created.

Executive Branding Tip 9

Create a strategy for developing brand equity.

As in traditional marketing, your executive brand should remain consistent throughout all of your marketing channels to build brand equity. The positive feelings your target audience accumulates about you is what makes your brand a valuable asset. Building a brand requires you to gain name recognition for your promise of value and convince your target audience that your brand will deliver value.

Equally important is measuring your brand. You should measure your brand’s awareness and associations through the many stages of recognition and top of mind recall. Similarly, the functional and emotional associations of your brand are important drivers of brand equity. Your brand should score high on both awareness and association attributes.

Executive Branding Tip 8

Create a plan to take your brand to market.

You can have an incredible brand, but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to experience much success in your career.

Once you’ve identified your brand, create a promotional strategy to make your brand come alive. Decide who your target audience will be, what channels you’ll use to promote your brand, and how frequently you’ll promote your brand.

It’s important to communicate and manage your brand on an ongoing basis … not just when you’re looking for your next position. Building a brand reputation takes time.