You’ve surely heard that using a strong personal brand message will make your executive resume compelling reading and help you stand out in the job search. But how do you go about defining and capturing your brand?
Intensive processes such as the 360 Reach Personal Branding exercise can often help clarify the elements and strengths of your brand. However, you can Do your own research and analysis to craft a compelling message Good for your executive resume.
While defining your own brand (and writing a compelling executive resume from it) can seem daunting, you can break the process down into these manageable steps:
1. Think about your leadership value
One of the easiest ways to summarize your ROI message is how you solve problems and obstacles at the executive level. If you’re struggling to articulate your value proposition, try creating a list of your top 10 career accomplishments that have become your key accomplishments over the years. (Think of it as your top 10 hits that you always thought defined your career and its trajectory.)
Any of the following could become your top 10 hits:
- Turnarounds (team, department or company level)
- New sources of income
- Cost reduction methods
- Additional sales and distribution channels
- New products or markets
- Speed and agility to deliver results
Next, write STAR (Situation or Task, Action, Result) stories for each top achievement, remembering to set the stage for each story by looking first at the situation, then at your actions, and finally at the outcome. JT O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It DAILY, also suggests the “Experience + Learn + Grow” model for formulating stories for employers. Despite the tedious work, you’ll benefit from this collection of powerful anecdotes in your job search.
2. Analyze and use feedback throughout your executive career
Consider your reputation in the workplace, influence on others, and leadership style (all important components of an effective executive resume). Are you recognized as a leader who builds consensus when negotiations are at an impasse? Have you become a turnaround leader capable of righting the ship? Chances are, you’ve created a unique niche, and prospective employers need to know that about you.
Take the time to gather information from your work victims.
- Analyze your influence on subordinates. Do you often lead your teams into company or industry leaders?
- Look at those you influence, such as vendors or colleagues. Have they adopted your methods or praised you for your effectiveness?
- Assess your impact on the executive team and board. Are you building a business case and investment that leads your CEO to make strategy changes?
Now collect testimonials and feedback from credible sources, such as performance reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, references, or other accolades (even informal emails). Create STAR stories from this data and consider including a snippet or quote in your resume for extra reinforcement.
3. Include tactical details and scope
Executive resumes aren’t just high-level lists of accomplishments. To be truly compelling, your scope of work and reference points should be included as supporting details.
Consider the characteristics of each of the following components of work:
- Size of managed budgets, both at the departmental and program level
- Cost savings figures that show the result of new processes or negotiations
- Number of employees managed, both directly and in matrixed organizations
- Comparisons that show progress (eg, year-over-year market share growth)
What these details will do for your executive resume is help wrap up your story by showing how your reputation and influence have grown at each progressive step in your career. It’s all about the numbers.
4. Look at others for comparison
You may have started taking a critical look at your executive resume data. What if it’s not good enough to take your career to the next level? How can employers know you’ve made a significant change if you have to report minimum cost or profit results?
One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to look at them precisely and measure the difference based on context.
Here’s how to weigh your competitive differentiators.
- Analyze what would have happened to previous employers if you hadn’t worked there. Would the company or division go bust? Are employees likely to stay just because of your influence?
- See what has happened amid economic or industry challenges. For example, did your efforts sustain the company, even if they did not realize the same level of profit, because of the anti-decline actions?
- Notice what happened at competing companies. Did you stay in business while your competitors went out of business?
These surefire signs of success will help add a twist to your STAR stories by highlighting your ability to take on and overcome challenges that others have failed to achieve.
5. Create brand and accomplishment statements that you will use throughout your resume
Now that you’ve gathered all this data, what’s the next step? Bringing it together into a coherent story, of course.
This is where the stories you create will serve as key components of your brand message and can be used in various places on your executive resume.
- Make sure your STAR stories are manageable by using bullet points that take up two lines or less to use in your resume.
- Distill your most popular STAR stories into a simple message. As an example, an EVP of marketing who has launched new products might cite “new profitable industry niche” as a brand value statement.
- Take a look at executive resume examples for inspiration.
Taking these steps is, of course, a time-consuming exercise in examining your accomplishments and researching your brand. However, it will pay off in a consistent value message to employers and help them see the value of hiring you for your chosen executive role.
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This article was originally published on an earlier date.
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