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As we all make our plans, goals and New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, one of mine is to write weekly blog posts (at least 50 altogether) in the New Year on the topics of leadership, careers and resume writing. Here are 30 subjects I plan to cover, and I will add the other 20 topics over the course of the year.

Since I write these posts to be responsive and helpful to clients and others, please let me know if you would like any of them to be a priority (i.e., addressed earlier in the year), because they are particularly relevant to your current situation. You can leave a comment below or email me at asegal@segalcoaching.com.

Leadership

Branding Yourself for Greater Leadership Roles in 2016

Finding and Establishing the Right Networks

Putting Your 30/60/90 Day Plan into Action

How to Get Traction with a Sponsor (Not a Mentor)

Positioning Yourself for Board Membership

Writing Emails that Show Leadership with Simple, Actionable Words

Controlling the Time Demon: Work Your Plan

Does Managing Up Actually Work? How to Do It Right

Non-Profit Board Leadership: The Advantages and Realities

Do True Leaders Always Know How to Execute Their Ideas?

Careers

What Does Your Career Need Most in 2016?

How to Prepare for a Panel Interview (with Multiple Interviewers)

Preparing for a Phone Interview – Be Ready for Anything

How to Gain Non-Profit Experience While Keeping Your Corporate Job

Why Skills-Based Volunteering Is Important for Your Career

Why Recruiters Won’t Talk to You

Breaking Out of a Career Silo

Do You (Sometimes) Sabotage Your Own Career?

Informational Interviews: What Are They and How Do You Get Them?

How, and How Often, Should You Follow Up after an Interview?

Resume Writing

Why Your Industry-Jargon Resume Isn’t Impressing Anyone (Keywords Aside)

Should Your Resume Be Two Pages or Longer?

Should a Recent Graduate Have a One-Page Resume?

How Often Should You Update Your Resume?

Writing a Non-Profit Résumé for Transition from a Corporate Role

How to Read a Job Description

Should You Match Your Resume to Your Job Description?

Why Your Law Firm Resume May Not Get You an In-House Role

How to Write a Board of Directors Résumé

5 Things Your Resume Cannot Do for You

I look forward to discussing these and other topics with you in the New Year. Happy almost 2016!

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach and résumé writer to attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. You can find her website at www.segalcoaching.com.

WRITING SERVICES include attorney and executive résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, bios, websites and other career and business communications.

COACHING SERVICES include career coaching, networking support, interview preparation, LinkedIn training, personal branding, leadership and change management.

 

 

 

 

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I am often asked what I can offer to clients to improve their résumé, as a means to speed up and target their job search process. If you would like to know this as well, please READ ON!

This post is written with the skeptics in mind. God bless the skeptics. They keep the rest of us in check. So here it goes:

The value of working with a professional résumé writer is often not clear until after you have gone through the process and see the finished product. This short introduction serves as a preview and overview of the process.

You may have a sneaking suspicion that you are not in the driver’s seat – the idea of working on your résumé generates fear, or the document is a sore spot in your career advancement or job search.

You know that you are an amazing candidate if you could just get the right words on the page, but you aren’t sure how to do that or can’t seem to find (or prioritize) the time to get it right.

As I have said in the past, résumés are marketing documents. They are not a career retrospective of what you’ve done or an “obituary” of your work history, education and other professional information. Your résumé is a sales piece, and what you are selling is you. What can you bring to the role that puts you at the top of the pile?

Great résumés convey power. While a strong résumé won’t get you a job on its own, it will position you as a competitive candidate and, if there’s a potential match, serve as a compelling “appetizer” to get you to the main course – your next career move.

If you are uncomfortable selling yourself on paper, or if you need help putting into words what you know you can do, you have come to the right place.

What are the main benefits of working with Anne Marie Segal to write my résumé?

 1) You will possess a solid marketing document that positions you for the roles you are targeting.

Through our work together, we create a solid marketing document that highlights your achievements, strengths and unique offer. With the new résumé in hand, you will be positioned to obtain a role that is a true “fit” for you (given your short-term and long-term goals) and leverage your value during hiring negotiations.

We achieve this by balancing the two main elements that every résumé needs:

BREVITY and

DIFFERENTIATION

Today’s résumés need to be clearly and tightly written, with keywords and summaries that attract the attention of someone within six to ten seconds. There are many more candidates going for each open position than in years past, so you will need to stand out quick to make an impression.

At the same time, brevity alone does not make a great résumé. You also need to differentiate yourself from every other “results-driven” candidate or “good communicator” on the block. You are unique. In your résumé, we don’t market something parroted from a book or the Internet, we market you.

2) You will no longer lose out on potential opportunities because you are unsure of how to present yourself.

The worst thing you can do when looking for a job, or any career advancement that requires a similar interview process, is to stagnate out of fear, worry or similar emotions. Inertia will not get you a job. It is not your friend, even if it feels as comfortable as an old pair of jeans. I work with candidates all the time to get them moving forward, both in coaching and in résumé writing.

3) You will recognize your value and learn how to communicate it to potential employers.

From the “résumé interview process” – during which we reconstruct your work and education highlights, keywords and other résumé elements from the ground up – you will gain key insights into the value you bring to the marketplace.

Have you ever sat down and wrote out your unique “return on investment” (ROI)? What ROI would a potential employer receive from its investment in you? When I work with candidates, we address this question head on, so you can present yourself with confidence and clarity on the value you bring to each open role. People don’t get hired because they are liked (although it helps). They get hired to solve problems. What problems do you solve?

After working together, the transformation of your résumé will be obvious. (If it’s not, we should talk.) The value of this key document will become even more evident when you begin to send it around and hear your network, recruiters, interviewers and others say:

“Ah, I get what you’re looking for.”

“What a great résumé.”

“I can really see the value you bring.”

“I have a role that I’d really like to recommend you for.”

“When can you start?”

Anne Marie Segal is a résumé writer and a career and leadership coach to attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. You can find her website here. This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

WRITING SERVICES include attorney and executive résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, bios, websites and other career and business communications.

COACHING SERVICES include career coaching, networking support, interview preparation, LinkedIn training, personal branding, leadership and change management.

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In the countless résumés that I have reviewed over the years, and in those I have rewritten for clients, there are a few major flaws that stand out so often they merit their own post. These common résumé mistakes aren’t limited to the folks who are unsuccessful in their careers. In fact, they are so ubiquitous among those who “should know better” that it prompts me to ask: why do smart people write dumb résumés?

Beyond poor writing and lazy proofreading, here are three of the most common culprits in bad résumé land:

1) The Sherman Tank résumé. Otherwise known as “let me put all of my accomplishments down on a page so I don’t miss anything someone might want.” An alternate description of this type of résumé could be ClutterFest. The Sherman Tank or ClutterFest writer thinks he or she is sharing a diverse celebration of achievements, while the reader feels like it’s an exercise in sorting prized antiques in someone else’s dusty attic.

The Sherman Tank résumé – durable and bulletproof but too bulky to zip around curves – doesn’t put a candidate in the best light. In fact, it doesn’t cast any light in any direction at all, so no depth or differentiation can be seen, only too many words on a page (and often in too tiny a font).

Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. How much work would you want to put into deciphering if a candidate was a good fit for your open role (especially if it seems that he or she hasn’t bothered to do it either)? How hard would you squint to read past the first few words?

In my most extreme example to date, I turned a client’s five page résumé into two pages. Truth be told, she was an awesome candidate for her target job. She just couldn’t figure out how to edit her own experience or what to emphasize, so a reader couldn’t “get there” to see it. She had never given thought to what an employer might be looking for, focused only on the trees in her own forest. In addition, because of her inability to edit her own experience, she had included some very detracting information alongside the helpful points, which further diluted the effectiveness of her message.

2) The Barely There résumé. The opposite of the Sherman Tank is the Barely There résumé. When I have worked with clients who have this type of résumé, I spend a lot of time asking the same question: “And what else did you do?” They have great experience, but somehow they can’t seem to get it down on the page. They leave out key details, such as skill sets they possess – and can demonstrate – that are important for their target job.

Like the Sherman Tank writers, who are focused on their own experience, the Barely There writers have not put themselves in the position of an employer and asked what they can offer that would be valuable for the target position. In one recent case with a client, for example, we pulled out four different skill sets that she would need for a job transition and were not on her résumé, without stretching beyond her legitimate experience. In that case, the client hadn’t presented herself as a well-rounded generalist with a specialization, which was required for her target positions, because her current firm had pushed her in a single direction without valuing all she could offer. Although this push and the associated stress were the major reasons the candidate was seeking a change, she had internalized the pigeonholing by her current firm and was unable to see beyond it when it came planning (and drafting) her great escape.

3) The Showed Up and Did My Job résumé. A corollary to the Barely There is the résumé that simply lists what a person did at a job, with no thought to prioritization or differentiation from other candidates in similar roles. Unlike the Barely There, which lacks enough detail, the Showed Up and Did My Job résumé might be an appropriate length, and even look “right” at first glance, but ultimately the narrative is not compelling enough to prompt the next step: a job interview.

In many cases, my clients who have a Showed Up and Did My Job résumé list tasks that were simply “part of the job” but indicate nothing that showcases particular sets of skills. As we talk through their major projects and accomplishments on the job, or how they pushed the envelope in the position, they realize that the résumé is missing critical points because they had not put enough thought into the value they actually bring, as opposed to the tasks that a job entails. Often these clients are looking for a new job because the current one feels like they are on autopilot. But having a Showed Up and Did My Job résumé is like putting your centerpiece job-search marketing document on autopilot navigation as well, with a few missed stop signs and on-ramps along the way.

If you are reading this post closely, you see a theme emerging. Smart people write dumb résumés because they too heavily rely on their intelligence and natural instincts in the writing process (which serve them so well in other contexts), hoping that the reader will fill in the gaps when needed. Then they waste weeks and months wondering why the phone doesn’t ring, putting their energies into thinking about their own situations and insecurities instead of the greater perspective of how to best present themselves to achieve their goals. Instead, the smart résumé writer steps back to reframe his or her experience so that the reader (recruiter, potential interviewer, friend of a friend, etc.) is enticed and excited about the potential fit between the individual as a candidate and the new role.

As I consistently say to clients, your résumé is not an obituary, it’s a marketing document. I make this point with the full knowledge that these words may take some time to resonate. Smart people can write smart résumés by thinking of them in terms of what the résumé vehicle is meant to do – transport them from Point A to Point B – rather than getting caught up in their own discomfort with self-marketing or treating the résumé as a retrospective or roadmap of their careers to date.

In short, writing is only the final iteration of creating an effective résumé. Find your target, take aim, gather your arrows (of experience) and then write.

Anne Marie Segal is a business and career coach to attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs and offers résumé writing and LinkedIn services. She writes about career and business issues and often posts on LinkedIn Pulse, where this article was originally posted. You can find her website here.

Your resume is a marketing document that tells the story of where you have been and where you are going. How you tell that story is largely up to you, but in all cases it is more effective to set your career objectives first and write your resume to meet them.

While there are certain conventions for resumes in many fields, you have a lot of latitude to create a document that will entice employers to call you for an interview and, if you can ace that, make you an offer. As a critical piece of your overall job marketing package, the importance of a powerful resume cannot be overemphasized.

Below is a Slideshare file with my seven strategies to transform your resume into a powerful marketing document. (Click here for the original at slideshare.net.) Feel free to contact me if you are looking for career coaching through any of the stages of exploration, job search and transition, including how to make the most of your new role.