Executive Branding Tip 2

Use your brand to drive and manage your career.

Take a “proactive” stance rather than waiting until there’s a setback in your employment status or career that sends you into a tailspin. Proactive executives don’t feel that putting out fires all day is a very effective way to run a business or manage their career. They’re positioning themselves to be found … to be sought after … and they’re actively managing their career.

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Executive Branding Tip 1

Brand yourself to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

When your brand is in alignment with the work you do, you’ll feel rewarded and fulfilled. If you come home from work and feel like your job is draining the life right out of you, you’re NOT in alignment with your brand. I’m not suggesting that every day is a bed of roses and that you never have a frustrating day … I’m speaking of overall … for the most part … do you enjoy your job or do you hate your job? If you hate your job and everything about it then it’s most likely sucking the life right out of you. And that’s going to impact your family and your home life. If this sounds like you, then you need to identify your brand and start living and working ON BRAND.

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Complimentary Teleseminar

“Differentiate Yourself From Your Competition”

Friday, May 7, 2010 11 AM Eastern

In this teleseminar you’ll learn:

* The power of a clear, strong brand
* How branding yourself can increase your compensation
* How executives are using branding to drive and manage their career
* How branding yourself can help you gain recognition and respect
* Why integrating your brand in your resume will generate more interest and results
* The importance of creating a marketing communication plan to manage your brand
* How a strong brand can help you achieve your personal and professional goals

During the complimentary teleseminar, I’ll also be introducing my new “Branding for Career Success” program designed specifically for executives who want to identify, communicate and market their unique brand. This eight-week program starting May 25th will undoubtedly position you in the market place and attract opportunities that align with YOUR brand, talents and expertise.

Here’s the link to reserve your spot for the complimentary teleseminar https://www.harveycareers.com/branding-preview-call.php

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Tips for Ensuring Your Resume is Compelling

Never has the job market been so competitive and brimming with extraordinary talent. Today’s executive resume must be a professional marketing piece that sets you apart from your competitors. Gone are the days when you can compile a chronological history of your work experience and expect it to generate interviews. Your resume must be a marketing piece that is targeted to a specific audience and clearly demonstrates value.

To ensure your resume is compelling, make sure in focuses on the following key areas:

Leadership – As a senior executive describing how you came to join the company and explaining what you were brought in to accomplish for the company exhibits senior leadership, demonstrates you understand what corporations expect from you and that you are focused on the company’s growth and prosperity. Helping the recruiter understand the overall picture can also add greater impact to your accomplishments.

– List accomplishments that tell a “brief” story. Include the scope of your challenges, issues or problems, the actions you took, and the quantifiable results you delivered. Your accomplishments must include dollars, percentages or comparative figures.

Value Proposition – It’s critical to include “bottom line” contributions. Make sure your resume is about what you can do for the company versus a long list of responsibilities. It must demonstrate how you have impacted the top or bottom line, market share, stakeholder or shareholder value. Listing an accomplishment without the bottom line impact deflates your value proposition. It won’t deliver the punch you’re looking for.

Your Executive Brand – Executive and personal branding is the future of executive career management. It means identifying and communicating what makes you unique, relevant and compelling so that you can achieve your career goals. Your executive brand is what will distinguish you from your competitors and market the value you consistently deliver to companies. Branding is about differentiation. It’s about leveraging what makes you exceptional so you stand out from the myriad of executives who offer seemingly similar talents and expertise. Recruiters and hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes for every position posted. Your brand is what will distinguish you from others and provide you with the competitive edge.

Focus & Strategy – While you may have several functional areas of expertise, you need to focus your resume on one or two. Including too many functional roles sends a message that you’re not clear about what direction you’re taking your career. It can give the impression that you’re desperate – that you’ll settle for any type of position. Recruiters want to know your “primary” expertise and talents. What problems are you best at solving for companies. If you have a broad range of roles you can fill, create multiple versions of your resume with each version targeted on a particular functional role. Each resume needs to have a focus and theme to be compelling.

Marketing – In a well-written marketing piece, the copywriter prioritizes the messages to be conveyed. S/he begins with the top two or three points s/he wants to ensure everyone reads and then proceeds with the next four to six points and so on with the intention of motivating you to read the entire marketing piece…and ultimately to purchase the product or service. Your resume should follow the same stylistic format. Prioritize your messages and present them strategically. Also, pay attention to the words you use in your resume as they will set the tone and energy associated with you. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one’s tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges. The tone of a message is a reflection of the writer and it affects how the reader will perceive the message. Today’s executive resume must be focused, succinct and dynamic.

Appearance & Length – It’s important to use a contemporary format that aligns with the level of the position you are seeking. Lack of sufficient white space and the use of tiny fonts are two of the biggest turnoffs to recruiters. While two or three pages is the maximum length for a senior-level executive resume, there are numerous other marketing pieces you can include in your portfolio of marketing materials that will allow you to expand on your qualifications while keeping your resume to the preferred length.

There’s a lot of strategy that goes into crafting a dynamic resume. Make sure you’re clear about your target audience and the message you want to convey before you sit down to create this very important marketing piece.

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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.

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How to Improve Your Response Rate

In this highly competitive market, it’s critical that your resume and cover letter be specifically geared toward a specific opportunity. One size does not fit all! Customized marketing documents are crucial for senior-level executives.

Following are several areas that will need to be customized:

Function – It’s critical to target your resume to the functional role you’re pursuing. Recruiters are looking for a specific candidate. Portraying yourself too broadly sends a message that you are desperate. While broad and diverse functional experience across all phases of the business can be an asset, it is important to target your resume for the opportunity you are currently pursuing.

  • If you are pursuing multiple job titles (for example, COO, CFO, CIO, and/or general manager), you need more than one version of your resume. In this competitive environment, you need one resume for each function unless the position description specifically requires a combination of two functions (for example, CFO/COO). While you shouldn’t eliminate all the information about the other functional areas, you should emphasize one function more prevalently than the others.
  • If you have extensive experience in just one function, focus on the depth and breadth of your experience. Within your profile, position yourself as an expert in your function.

Industry – Executive search consultants and corporate recruiters look for candidates with industry experience. Within your profile, list your industry experience as it relates to a particular opportunity.

  • If you are changing industries, research each industry in which you have an interest and create a resume for each industry. Familiarize yourself with their lexicon of buzzwords, lingo, expressions and terminology, as well as their unique concerns, challenges and trends. Explore the industry’s trade associations, publications and conferences. Note the topics being addressed as these will be related to the challenges and concerns the industry is facing as well as the trends and direction in which the industry is headed. Translate your experience and qualifications to fit the target industry.
  • If you have industry experience, focus on depth and breadth of your experience.

Size of company – Executive search consultants and recruiters search for candidates who have worked in a company whose size compares to the size of the company they are representing. Make sure your resume includes the company size.

  • If you have worked in corporations that are significantly larger than the target corporation, consider omitting the size of the entire company and focus on the size of a division or business unit that would be more relevant to the size of the target corporation.
  • If you have worked in companies that are considerably smaller than the target company, perhaps you could focus on the size of the larger parent company, if applicable. If that’s not an option, you may want to focus more on their industry ranking, competitive intelligence, ground-breaking efforts, or other areas that may be appealing to the target company.

Profit & Loss or Budget Size – Recruiters look for candidates who have held financial responsibility similar to that of the position they are filling. If you have not defined the size of the profit and loss responsibility you have held or the size of the budget you have managed, consider adding that information.

  • If you have managed P&Ls and budgets much larger than the recruiter’s company, consider leaving out the size of the financials for the entire company and instead focus on the financial figures of a division, business unit, group or project in which you were involved.
  • If you have managed P&Ls and budgets smaller than the recruiter’s company, consider focusing on how the P&L and budget has grown during your tenure to demonstrate that you manage growth or consider focusing on your participation in the parent company’s budget, if applicable.

Staff Size – Recruiters look for candidates who have led and managed teams similar in size to the company they are representing.

  • If you have led and managed teams much larger than the company is requiring, you may want to mention your number of direct reports versus the total size of the team.
  • If you have not managed teams of a similar size, you could include the number of people impacted by your role or the number of people you influence despite the fact that they don’t directly report to you.

Local, National, International Experience – Recruiters scan your resume to see if you have worked at companies with a similar geographic focus.

  • If the recruiter is representing a regional or national company, you should tweak your resume to reflect the same type of geographical territory.
  • If your resume focuses heavily on international experience, you may want to tone down the international experience by eliminating a few references to other countries.

Other comparisons recruiters consider include the company’s customer classification, industry ranking, company culture, products and services.

The goal is to create a resume that aligns with as many of the company’s requirements as you can. In some instances you may need to tone down the resume so you don’t appear over qualified and in other instances you may need to up-scale your resume to match the requirements.

While this is a great deal of work, you will eventually develop a portfolio of targeted resumes that you can use repeatedly for similar types of positions.

The bottom line: It will increase your response rate.

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How to Position Being Fired When Interviewing

FiredGetting fired is one of the most stressful events that can occur in an executive’s career. It generally brings up a lot of negative emotions relating to one’s value and sense of their self worth. The first thing to do is evaluate the reason you were fired. Was this a matter of redundancy created by an acquisition/merger, incompatibility between you and someone in the company, corporate bureaucracy, or was this a result of your inability to do the job? If it was the former, there’s most likely nothing you can do about those matters, however if it was the latter, you may want to consider pursuing leadership coaching or a training program. It’s important to be clear about the reason before you start interviewing.

Give yourself some time to come to terms with the initial shock and regroup. The typical emotional cycle involves panic and fear, shock and disbelief, anger and depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance. Being aware of your emotional state can help you move through the process more quickly. If you find yourself stuck in one of these cycles, be sure to seek professional help.

A few questions you can ask yourself include: “How can I look at this in a positive light?” “What good can come of this?” “How could this be an opportunity for change and growth?” “In what way is this a blessing?” Write down the answers to these questions and review them frequently to help you regain and maintain a positive frame of mind.

When you interview, volunteer the fact that you were fired. Being proactive about the matter will demonstrate your integrity and fortitude. You’ll want to speak about it factualy, without any resentment or remorse. Honesty is the best policy. In this economic environment, you most likely won’t be grilled too harshly due to the severe cutbacks that have occurred.

Keep your explanation regarding why you were fired brief and to the point. Provide a high-level reason for your departure. Don’t go into a long, rambling story. There’s no need to go into a lot of detail. Keep your explanation positive and do not blame anyone or say anything negative about the company, your boss, or anyone in the company.

If the firing was a result of the company’s immoral or illegal activities that you refused to participate in, you might say: “There were some activities being endorsed that were incongruent with my values. I’ll provide more detail once we decide if this position is a good fit. At this point, I feel it would be inappropriate to share the company’s internal operating policies.

If the firing was your fault, provide a high-level explanation followed by what you learned from the incident and what you’ll do differently in the future. Being able to reflect on something that went wrong and learn from your mistakes is a sign of a true leader. If you’ve taken some steps to insure this incident won’t happen again or enrolled in a program to develop advanced skills, share this with the interviewer as well.

Crafting a strategy in advance and offering a compelling success story complete with a strong value proposition will help you conquer the glitch.

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8 Tips on Coping with Rejection

Whether you receive a rejection call, letter or email, or no response at all, it is important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your self-worth. It may take many rejections before you win an offer.

Learning how to deal with rejection will keep you from sinking into a place of immobilizing despair that prevents forward motion.

Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes when we are going through pains of rejection, it feels like a global conspiracy.” Those pains of rejection may include sadness, frustration, anger, uselessness and unworthiness. The main reason we see rejection as pain is because we see it as loss of control and most of us fear loss of control. Fortunately, there are things we can do that can help us handle rejection with dignity and purpose.

1. Be aware of your reaction to rejection. In an article on LifeScript.com, Liz Davis writes, “Being rejected can feel like an outright violation of our expectations, which is why many of us feel offended when we are rejected. When the rejection is very painful or unexpected, it can be scary, making us feel as though the world we live in is unsafe and malevolent. When things do not go the way we expect, we often feel devastated and powerless, especially if we are very attached to a particular outcome.”

Recognize your thoughts and emotions and realize that it is what you do in response to these thoughts and emotions that determines how you feel about yourself and your job search. You need to acknowledge the rejection, harness your thoughts, and realize that this is part of the process and you’re going to receive several rejections before you win your next position.

2. Talk to people you trust. Feelings of rejection may cause you to want to isolate yourself from others to protect yourself from further pain and damage to your ego. However, this will only feed the negative emotions of rejection. So be sure to connect with others—perhaps your mentor, career coach, a job search group, a religious group or close friends.

3. Don’t take it personally. It’s business. In most cases rejection in a job search is more about the company than it is about you. Hiring managers fear making a mistake that will cost the company money and are being extremely cautious. They are rejecting candidates who don’t appear to be a perfect fit, in essentially every category. While you may feel you exceed the requirements posted in the job description, perhaps not all of the requirements were disclosed. Alternatively, there may have been an internal candidate that they wanted to promote into the position and posting the position was a requirement of the organization.

4. Ask the interviewer for constructive feedback. Ask him/her what qualifications, credentials or experience you were missing. If you feel you were 100 percent qualified, ask the interviewer what qualifications the selected candidate had that won him/her the position. While it’s too late to defend your candidacy if you have the qualifications mentioned, it may give you some insight into what qualifications you need to articulate more clearly in your next interview.

5. Avoid over thinking the rejection. Don’t beat yourself up. Realize you are not the perfect candidate for every position you may pursue and you may never know the reason why. Take a minute to reflect on the last time you hired someone: Did you spell out every single qualification and credential you wanted for the position? Most likely you only communicated the most important ones. Then, during the interview you drilled down on details and identified the perfect candidate while also considering if this candidate would be a good fit and if you could work with him/her.

6. Take action and get moving. Control the controllables. Increase and expand your network and job search activities. Understand that this is going to take aggressive action and you don’t have time to worry about recruiters and hiring managers who don’t understand the value you bring to the company or are too consumed with doubt and fear to make a decision.

Sylvester Stallone, the actor, stated, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”

Earl G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine, stated “We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful there is no other way.”

7. Develop stories to overcome any objections before they are raised. If you know there is an objection that employers will have, develop a way to present information that will overcome and dispel the objection before it comes up.

8. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of exercise to help you relieve stress. Write down all of your accomplishments and major contributions to every employer. Write down your greatest challenges and how you handled them. Write about a time when you were asked to take on a totally new role and how you handled it. Create a list of your talents and skill sets. Review and add to these entries frequently. This record will help you concentrate on your value and will most likely come in handy during an interview.

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How To Ensure You Achieve Your Goals

Planning and goal-setting are the keys to success in every aspect of your life, including your career. A Harvard study revealed that 83 percent of those surveyed had no goals; 14 percent had goals, but no written plan; and 3 percent had written goals.

The 14 percent with goals but no written plans earned three times more than those with no goals. The 3 percent with written goals earned ten times more than those with no goals!

Many experts have written about the process of effectively setting goals using the S.M.A.R.T. model. The acrostic S.M.A.R.T. has a number of slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition for goal setting:

S – Specific
M – Measurable / Meaningful / Motivational
A – Attainable / Assignable / Achievable / Acceptable / Action-Oriented
R – Realistic / Rewarding / Relevant / Reasonable / Results-Oriented
T – Timely Time-Based /Tangible / Tangible / Trackable

SMART Goal Setting Process

1) Write down your goal in positive terms. Break it down, make it concrete and create an implementation intention (a statement defining when and where each specific activity will be performed).

When you actually write down a goal, it is as if you are programming it into your subconscious mind and activating a whole series of mental powers that will enable you to accomplish more than you dreamed. By writing it down, you intensify your desire for the goal and increase your belief that it is possible.

2) Identify why this goal is important to you. Write down why you want this goal and how it aligns with your values. Go deep into this exercise, don’t stop with one reason. Continue drilling down by asking yourself, “So, why do I want that”… and again, “So, why do I want that”. List at least 10 reasons “why” you want this goal. Then, visualize yourself having achieved your goal.

3) Set a deadline. If it’s a large goal, set a series of sub-deadlines. A deadline acts as a “forcing system” on your subconscious mind and begins to move you toward your goal rapidly.

4) List the obstacles you will have to overcome. Think of everything that might stand in your way and decide what you can do about each obstacle. Develop a plan to reduce the influence of each obstacle and increase the chances that you will be successful in reaching your goal.

5) Make a comprehensive list of all the resources you will need to reach your goal. This may include a coach, consultant, expert, or group of people. It may include organizations, events, books, equipment, support staff, etc.

6) Share your goal with another person for accountability, help and support. However, do not share your goal with anyone who might sabotage your goal or even shed a shadow of a doubt on your initiative and goal.

7) Get into action. Pay attention to your goals and monitor your activity. The “Momentum Principle,” articulated by Sir Isaac Newton, states, “a body in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.” Never let a day go by without engaging in some action that helps you move another step in the direction of what you really want in life.

8) Define a reward for achieving the goal as well as a reward for achieving the intermediary milestones required to get there.

Here’s a witty 5-minute video by Zig Ziglar where he explains his goal setting process.

Roadblocks To Watch Out For

Fear of Failure – While trial and error is usually the primary means of solving life’s problems, many people are afraid to embark on the trial because they’re afraid of experiencing the error. They believe that error is wrong and detrimental, when most of it is both helpful and essential. Error supplies the feedback that paves the way to success. The Law of Feedback states: there is no failure; there is only feedback.

Fear of Success — Fear of success can be just as paralyzing as fear of failure. Some people fear success because it tests their limits and puts them at risk in new situations. Success can expose weaknesses and force people to deal with their imperfections. Success can be scary because it involves change. Some people fear success because they’re afraid they don’t have what it takes to rise to the challenge.

Analysis Paralysis -– Analysis paralysis is where you fail to take action because you’re over thinking the details and continually running “what if” scenarios. It is a potent killer to reaching your goals. While you need to plan and do some analysis, monitor the process to see if the preparation and analysis add real value and provide the framework for action — or are they just stalling your action.

Having Too Many Goals –- While it is okay to have more than one goal, prioritize your goals and focus on just one goal at a time. When one goal is completed, you can move on to the next.

Lack of Motivation to Change — Change and goal attainment only happen when you’re ready to break the barriers and you decide you truly want something better in life. Wanting to do something and motivating yourself to actually do it are two different things. Self-motivation is the force that keeps pushing us to go on – it’s our internal drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward. So be sure that your goals feel motivating to you … otherwise you most likely won’t be successful in achieving them.

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16 Tips for Video & Webcam Interviewing

Video interviewing is a cost effective alternative employers can use to meet with prospective candidates, particularly in our current economic situation. A good quality video interview can be as effective as an in-person interview and there are several benefits to conducting interviews via video conferencing. In addition to saving travel expenses, the company will also be able to share the candidate’s responses with other decision makers and will be able to replay the interview to review key points that may have slipped his/her mind.

In addition to your typical process for preparing for an interview, you will want to prepare for the video session as well. Following are some tips in preparing yourself and your location for a video interview:

Video Conference Interview

  1. If you’ll be going to a business center for the interview, visit the facility where it will be taking place and ask for a tour of the video conferencing area.
  2. Ask for a demonstration of the equipment so you can gain an understanding of the equipment and process. Ask the technician what type of mike she will use and how she will mike you.
  3. Ask the business center for a tip sheet on video conferencing nuisances.
  4. While there will most likely be a screen where you can see the interviewers, you will want to speak directly to the camera so that it appears you are speaking to the interviewer.
  5. When touring the facility, consider privacy issues as you will most likely be asked some confidential or personal questions. Ask the operators how this will be handled.
  6. Also consider potential distracting background noise such as printers, copiers, fax machines and such and ask if and how this might be controlled.
  7. Position your materials in close proximity to the camera so that when you glance at your notes, you will not appear to be looking away from the camera. Some video conferencing rooms are set up much like a TV studio with teleprompters for your notes, however some are not nearly as sophisticated.
  8. Dress professionally. Although it is likely that you will only be seen from the waist up, you should be dressed as you would for an in-person interview.

Web Cam Interviewing

  1. If asked to interview using a web cam, prepare your surrounding area. Choose an area with a neutral background and adjust the lighting in the room. Make sure the areas in front of, around you and behind you are clear, and that the entire room is clean and orderly.
  2. Remove all potentially distracting noises. The microphone on a webcam can magnify the slightest sound, so turn off your mobile phone and unplug any other phones. While you will need to have your computer speakers turned on, be sure you don’t have any webpages or programs open that emit sounds or play audio.
  3. Prior to the interview, close your office windows to prevent exterior noise, and let people know you are not to be disturbed.
  4. Check that the chair you are sitting in does not squeak. If it is a swivel chair, do not swivel during the interview and sit upright at all times.
  5. If using a laptop, make sure your battery is fully charged.
  6. If using Skype, you may experience some time-lag when you’re talking. Make sure you talk clearly so your voice will be easily picked up by the microphone.
  7. Test your equipment and practice using your webcam before the interview. Schedule a time a day or two before the interview with the company’s technical specialist to test connectivity with the company’s equipment. Be sure to ask the person scheduling the interview to schedule this appointment as well.
  8. View yourself from different angles and decide on the best angle to appear on camera. Practice speaking calmly and clearly. It’s a good idea to have someone critique your practice video.

It’s important to remember that a video or webcam interview is a “real” interview. Your answers will be weighed and selection decisions will be made based on your answers and your on-camera presence. So be sure to practice. Practice using the technology AND practice your introduction, your responses, your value proposition statements, and your accomplishment stories.

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