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.

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.


Just Awarded Reach Certified Online Identity Strategist

Managing your online identity has become so critical that I eagerly signed up for this certification program presented by William Arruda as  soon as I heard about it. While I try to keep up to date on new media, it’s an ever changing landscape with new applications continually emerging. The course was fascinating and covered a structured approach that included evaluating, diagnosing, planning, implementing and measuring.

Some of the stats provided included:

  • Microsoft, 2009 — 79% of US hiring managers and recruiters reviewed online information about job applicants.
  • Microsoft, 2009 —  70% rejected candidates based on what they found.
  • Hill & Knowlton — 87% believe the CEO’s reputation is an important part of a company’s reputation.

The online venues provide an opportunity for executives to position themselves as a thought leader. It’s also a critical tool for ongoing career marketing and management.

Howard Nestler, CEO of Executive Options states: “The greater the visibility enjoyed by an executive, the greater the value of his or her compensation…an executive can increase the amount of his or her compensation by increasing one statistic; the number of CEOs and decision-makers in a sector that are aware of the executive’s accomplishments. The typical executive sees himself or herself as an employee and not as a brand.”

I’ll be writing more about these topics in the weeks to come to help you increase your visibility.

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 and have developed sections specifically for job posting, job searches, and career networking.

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

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

Business information search engines such as 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.

Job Search Web 2.0 Style

Creating and managing a branded online identity is important to your career. In today’s world where professionals are responsible for managing their own career path, it’s important to proactively manage your own marketing strategy and online identity. Every mention of your name online contributes to your online identity and your brand.

Today, recruiters and employers expect to find you online. “More than 80% of executive recruiters said they routinely use search engines to learn more about candidates,” according to a 2007 survey by ExecuNet. Online identity management means ensuring that when a recruiter, prospective employer or other professional Google’s your name, that your name will appear in the top rankings with a branded profile that presents you professionally.

Using social media sites and blogs, you can competitively position yourself in the marketplace so that you’ll be found by corporate recruiters, executive search firms and other executives.

The quickest, easiest and least expensive way to establish an online presence is by setting up an account (no cost) and creating a profile on a few of the social media sites. There are more than 350 social networking sites targeted to different demographics and each site is trying to uniquely position themselves. While some social networking sites include job boards and facilitate networking as part of the job search process, most do not. This is not to say that those who do not focus on job search networking should be excluded from your online presence and job search strategy.

Networking is important for many aspects of your professional career whether it be identifying critical partners, strategic alliances or vendors for the company in which you are currently employed, or for maintaining a high profile, subject-matter-expert status in your industry, or for your current job search activities.

Soon after you establish a presence on some of the social media websites listed below, your name will begin to appear in the Google search rankings. In fact, I recommend that you Google yourself before you set up an account and then Google yourself again in three or four days after you set up the account so you can see the difference.

Recruiters are leveraging social media sites to source, screen and recruit candidates. They like these venues because it gives them access to passive candidates (those not looking for a job) and hard-to-find candidates (subject matter experts and technical people buried deep within the functional levels of a company). Today, with the social media sites they can easily find these candidates. Recruiters also like these sites because the information is frequently more accurate than the contact lists they can purchase because candidates are posting and updating their own information on a regular basis.

Establish and Manage Your Online Presence by Setting Up an Account and Completing a Profile on Several of These Leading Sites.
LinkedIn is particularly effective for senior-level executives. LinkedIn considers itself a professional networking community and they are continually providing more resources to help candidates and recruiters connect.  More than 300,000 recruiters are members of LinkedIn and they are using LinkedIn heavily for sourcing and recruiting.

With over 35 million members in more than 170 industries from around the globe, LinkedIn has captured the professional social networking market. LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs using Simply|Hired, a job search aggregation site with thousands of positions aggregated from thousands of job boards and sites. The beauty of LinkedIn’s job search tool is that you can view the profile of the recruiter who posted the position. LinkedIn will display how you are connected to that recruiter. LinkedIn even suggests that to improve your chances of getting an interview, you should contact the person in your network that knows the recruiter and request a referral. LinkedIn will even step you through the process with suggested scripts.
With over 3 million profiles on professionals, Ziggs considers themselves a one-stop site for creating and managing your online brand. They have a job board and offer top visibility in search engines enabling you to be found by recruiters.

ZoomInfo is a business information search engine, with profiles on more than 45 million professionals and 5 million companies. ZoomInfo delivers information on industries, companies, people, products, services and jobs. ZoomInfo does not include a job board and searches require a fee-based membership. However, posting a profile will help you get found in search engines.

With more than 175 million active users, Facebook is the 4th most-trafficked website in the world. Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. Facebook does not include a job board/search function.

With over 5 million users, Twitter is a site for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Social media networkers use Twitter to keep friends up to date on their happenings on frequent basis. Twitter does not include a job board/search function.

A global  business network with 7 million business professionals using Xing to do business and promote their career. The largest European business networking site, Xing features a personal page for a profile, an address book, groups, and message system. Xing does not include a job board/search function.

Plaxo securely hosts address books for more than 40 million people. Plaxo is a dashboard for seeing what the people you know are creating and sharing all over the open web. You can hook your Plaxo account up to all the places where you create or share stuff (your blog, Flickr, Twitter, Yelp, and more than 30 other sites).

Establish and Manage Your Online Presence by Creating a Blog

To get on the radar screen of recruiters and executive search consultants, consider publishing a blog focused on your area of expertise. A blog is a way to build credibility, demonstrate expertise, and position you as a thought leader. You can write about emerging trends, industry events, ongoing research or projects, new products and issues. You can also include white papers or articles you have written, your resume and bio, an audio presentation or podcast, a link to your web site or web portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and other social media profiles.

There are several services that will host a your blog. Some are free and some charge a small licensing fee. Two free sites include: and
Blogates –

For a modest fee, you can create a blog hosted by: and
WordPress –

Each site has a wizard to step you through the set-up process.

You will need to publish regular posts and respond to comments and questions from people posting to your blog.

Sample blogs published by job seekers include: