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 Beverly@HarveyCareers.com. 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.

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 7

Communicate your brand so your network can provide you with appropriate connections.

If your contacts are crystal clear about your brand, it enables them to provide you with appropriate connections. Alternatively, if you tell your network you are able to solve six different types of problems for companies, the vagueness creates uncertainty in their minds. Seldom will your contact hear a senior management executive seeking advice on six different types of problems at one time.

However, if you communicate to your contacts that you solve a specific type of problem for companies, that’s a more memorable statement and will most likely connect in the contact’s mind when s/he hears a senior management executive looking for a solution to his or her problem.

Executive Branding Tip 6

Communicate your brand to intensify your leadership persona.

You leadership brand communicates your identity and distinctiveness as a leader in your field. It communicates the value you offer. Your leadership persona is the single most powerful point of attraction. Companies expect to pay a premium for brands as is evident in the list of highest paid executives referenced in Tip 3.

Branding means positioning yourself, through your actions and value, so that people feel an irresistible urge to listen to your advice … to hire you … and seek out your leadership.

Executive Branding Tip 5

Brand yourself to gain a competitive advantage.

Branding is being known for making the most significant contribution in your particular area of expertise – it’s reputational power. If you’re high profile and well known … you’ll be the “hunted” rather than the “hunter” and you’ll have senior executives, board members and recruiters calling you.

Executives are hired for niche expertise (turnarounds, start-ups, infrastructure architecture, business development, SAP, ERP implementations, global outsourcing, CRM, next-generation technology strategies, etc.) and the ROI they deliver.

For example: If you’re a turnaround artist in a particular industry and you’ve marketed yourself as a turnaround artist … business leaders and recruiters will most likely follow your whereabouts and call you when they need a turnaround artist.

It’s imperative in this market to differentiate yourself and create individuality and a unique value proposition. The more you promote and market your brand, the more you distinguish yourself from your peers and the less you have to do to convince people you are the solution to their problem. However, you can’t leave this to chance, you must make a plan to position yourself to be noticed … to gain recognition and respect.

Executive Branding Tip 4

Communicate your brand enterprise-wide.

A strong brand marketed enterprise-wide could help you retain your current position. The greater the number of people who could potentially fill your role in the company, the more disposable you appear. Begin now to position yourself as indispensable by communicating your brand to every executive above you in the organization.

Executive Branding Tip 3

Brand yourself to command the compensation you deserve.

Brand yourself as “THE” solution to a particular type of problem and back it up with demonstratable proof. The higher the perceived value you can create, the greater the compensation you can command.

The distinctive value inherent in a brand can lead companies to offer extraordinary compensation packages. CNN Money.com lists the 20 highest paid CEOs with Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle topping the list at $84.5 million. A few other top earners include: Ray Elliott, Boston Scientific; Ray Irani, Occidental Petroleum; Mark Hurd, Hewlett-Packard; James Hackett, Anadarko Petroleum.

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.

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.