When many people think about building a brand, they think about actual companies promoting their brand to drive business. However, executives today have to build their own personal brand as well. Building your brand online can take a significant amount of time and effort, and it won’t happen overnight. Your online brand is how people perceive you in real life, so it’s worth taking c-level personal branding seriously. Here are some of the best ways you can build your brand online.

Be Active on Social Media, But Not Too Active

Social media is great for building your executive brand, but it can also come crashing down in a hurry if you aren’t careful. You also want to limit the amount of platforms you use to just a few so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Having too many social media accounts to manage can become overwhelming very quick.

When it comes to your level of activity on social media, you always want to keep your brand in mind. Any time you think about posting something, consider whether it hurts or helps your brand. By considering this every time, you’ll manage your level of activity and only post relevant items reinforcing what you want to be known for.

Executive LinkedIn profileEmbrace LinkedIn

Having a strong executive LinkedIn profile is possibly the best way to build your brand online. One of the first places recruiters go to find executives is LinkedIn. If your LinkedIn profile needs some serious updates, you may consider looking into a service to help you. You definitely won’t be able to build your brand online the right way if you don’t use and embrace LinkedIn.

Use Strategic Keywords to Get Discovered

Keywords on your LinkedIn profile or other online platforms can help you get discovered. This also means you have to be extremely careful about what you post online. There is no separating personal matters from business matters online, so everything you say is tied to your overall brand.

Always Reinforce What You Want to be Known For

Every executive has unique qualities, including you. When you’ve determined what those qualities are, emphasize them on your LinkedIn profile, your resume and anywhere else. This reinforcement can help with your c-level personal branding and help you get recognized by the right people and companies.

Professional Resume Services thrives in helping people build their brand online. Whether it’s updating your executive LinkedIn profile, optimizing your resume or brainstorming new branding strategies, we are here to help. Feel free to contact us at any time for assistance on building and maintaining your brand online.

one fast way to evaluate your resume

If your resume is not getting the results you’d expect based on your skills and experience, maybe it needs to be evaluated. All the information could be perfect; perfectly bland. Here’s a fast way to evaluate your resume, and it’s based on the way it will be evaluated when it reaches that VIP looking for someone to fill a position:

Pick up your resume and scan it for 30 seconds, then cover it and write down what you remember. 

Actually, thirty seconds might be longer than most HR people look at it, but they have developed serious speed reading skills. What do you remember about your resume? What stands out?

Now consider that your resume is something you are familiar with — and it was probably hard to remember what you said about yourself. Imagine what it’s like to read through hundreds of resumes in an attempt to find the best candidates to call in for interviews! These people don’t know you, and they do know what they need in the position.

Be Memorable and Consistent

The keywords that need to be there are the words used in the job ad, because that’s what they are looking for. But you are offering a unique spin on that because of your individuality. Build on that uniqueness by presenting yourself with synonyms of those keywords where it’s appropriate and keep a consistency throughout your resume by answering the question in their mind:

Why should I hire you?

Another way to say the same thing is, “who are you and what do you bring to this position?” If the answer to the question in their mind isn’t obvious, then you need to work on your resume until it can answer that question with fast and clear.


are you making this hilarious resume mistake?
You want your resume to stand out, right? But not when it stands out as a shining example of what not to do on a resume. While there are many ways to make mistakes on a resume, one of the most ubiquitous is the plethora of unnecessary verbiage that accompanies attempts to impress.


That was an example of “Resume Speak“, or in more words, the fine art of “utilizing synergies and leveraging paradigms” seen at a popular Tumblr site of the same name. This site is just a steady stream of things said simply then translated into the kind of business-speak that makes communication bog down. And it is funny. In fact, if you work in the writing field and have anything to do with resumes, it’s hilarious.

For example, instead of saying “Got out prison with parole three years early for good behavior”, the site suggests “Successfully interfaced with governmental disciplinary system by modeling socially sanctioned behavioral metrics, significantly reducing duration of recommended confinement period.” That’ll look good on a resume all right — not.

Your Words Are Important

The language we use on a resume is more than a vehicle to transmit information. Our choice of words can alert an applicant screening system that we are a potential candidate by using the keywords it is searching for. The way we put our words together can confuse or clarify what we say about our qualifications — and using buzzwords or resume speak is not going to have the effect you are hoping for.

Even the highest level of executive resume writing has to be careful to avoid resume speak because it’s so easy to do. Business and industry have their own vocabularies and phrases. Some of that language comes pretty close to what you’ll see on that Tumblr site because Resume Speak began as a response to the overblown sentences seen far too often in the attempt to impress. As the site says, it’s useless. Don’t do this on your resume.





a visual view of resume keywords

Have you ever made a word cloud? The most popular version of a word (or tag) cloud generator is Wordle, but there are many other options out there. Teachers love creating word clouds for visual learners because it helps the student see the most frequently used vocabulary in a text.  But you can use your favorite word cloud generator to compare the frequency of words in a job opening and your resume.

Here’s why I think this is a good idea: you’ll quickly see if any words in your resume match the words in the ad.

What you are seeing in that word cloud is the key vocabulary in the text — keywords. Resume keywords play an important role in getting your resume into the “call for interview” pile on an important desk. You’ll also get an idea of how often you use certain words to describe yourself. Does your resume word cloud show an active, effective candidate? Does anything match the word cloud of the position you are applying for? If it doesn’t, then you have some work to do on your resume.

The closer your language matches the language in the ad, the more apt you are to be seen as a “match” for the position. It should go without saying that I’m not telling you to make stuff up, because lying on a resume is a bad idea. But highlighting the similarities between your qualifications and the qualifications of the candidate they are seeking is a good idea.

If you are a visual learner, using a word cloud generator to evaluate your resume and the job opening is an easy way to see which words are being used most often and decide what to do with the way your resume is written.


Do you know what “buzzword” makes me think of? Big bugs with wings that beat so fast the individual sounds blur together. In a resume, buzzwords are words used so often the reader stops seeing you as an individual. It can be tricky, though, because you have to figure out what’s been overused to that point of overkill (i.e. “detail-oriented, or “responsible for” … just DON’T DO IT).

Buzzwords vs Keywords

Keywords are essential in your resume because they are the phrases or individual words the screening system is looking for. There is a lot of quality information on keywords and how to use them on this blog and on other career blogs. Basically, a keyword is the information the searcher is hoping to find. If an employer wants to hire someone who knows Microsoft Office and can come in to start work without training, they are looking for “Microsoft Office” on your resume. If you have the skill they are looking for, say so. Tell them how well you know it, too. “Uses Microsoft Office daily” implies competency.

Every time you submit your resume, it should be checked for keywords that were used in the job description, keywords that are unique to you. Are you an expert at turning around failing companies? “Turnaround Agent” might be a good term to use for yourself. That’s not overkill, that’s demonstrating you fit their qualifications–and are an expert at it.

Buzzwords are different. Buzzwords are empty adjectives that have lost their meaning or never were clear in the first place. These words don’t have a clear definition for each person. They are more like opinions. Here are a few buzzwords as an example:

  • energetic
  • confident
  • creative
  • team player
  • detail-oriented

There’s nothing wrong with being an energetic, confident, creative, and detail-oriented team player, but you aren’t saying anything that hundreds of other people say on their resumes, too.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….it all blurs together.

Be Better Than Buzzwords

Take the empty buzzword and fill it with facts. You are creative? State the facts that demonstrate that creativity, like “worked on development team to create promotional campaigns resulting in 45% increase of sales.” You just hit creative and team player with the same detail.

The more concrete your resume is, with facts and results that are measurable, the less meaningless buzz it has.

keywords vs cliches -- the branding debate

How often are you told you need a LinkedIn Profile that is keyword rich, then you read an article on LinkedIn that tells you, “Stop Using These 16 Terms To Describe Yourself“? The main thrust of the article is that the keywords generally are cliches and should be left out of your branding vocabulary. However, keywords are very necessary in terms of being found on LinkedIn. Whenever I read an article like that, I try to take the time to read all the comments because there will generally be a debate! This particular article, though, has over 3,000 comments so that is probably not going to happen this time.

One common reality that many readers mention in this debate is the fact they won’t even make it to the interview without the keywords/cliches in the resume so the search engine brings it up to the person who decides on the viability of the candidate.

Words are tools. Tools can be poorly made and fall apart the first time used, or finely crafted and used by generations to build things. The goal isn’t the tool, although tools can be very beautiful. The goal of a tool is its usefulness in helping the user achieve their goal, what ever it is. But even the best tool cannot do anything without the user’s skill.

When you look at our LinkedIn Profile Development service you see how an expert views this debate: you need both the keywords/cliches and the humanizing factor. The keywords often are cliches, but an experienced wordsmith knows how to use them to get past the computers to the people. If all you have is cliched keywords, the resume stops here. It’s that human factor, the individuality brought out by a skillful resume/profile writer, that connects with the person reading about you.

There are too many profiles out there for a person to read all of them. That’s what search engines are for! And search engines are computers looking for keywords. The words are tools we use to get you to the person’s notice and to bring your “brand” to the front, where all that makes you unique can shine. That’s the “humanizing” factor and the other leg your online branding stands on.

Use the words that make up your online brand/presence wisely. Remember that you need both the keyword/cliche AND the individual spark that makes you recognizable.





Phrases Not to Include on Your Resume
Your resume is valuable real estate. It needs to be kept as brief as possible while highlighting your past employment and skills in the best possible light. Therefore, it’s important to include the best of the best on your resume.

While it’s important to include as much positive information as possible, it is equally important to know what NOT to include on your resume. Because your resume is one of the most valuable marketing tools in your job search, you want to ensure that you are including information that is relevant to your career goals, and removing anything that does support those goals.


Don’t include the line “references available upon request.” It’s completely pointless and a waste of space. Both you and the hiring managers know that you are going to produce references simply because in 99 out of 100 cases they will be required.  Just be sure that you have a reference page, formatted to match your resume, ready to hand over at the interview.

Generic Statements

Statements such as “highly skilled,” “reliable,” or “energetic team player” are generic and really don’t put you in a positive light. If anything, they show you as someone who hasn’t really considered the alternative. If you have been doing anything at all, then you have skills. Show what you have done with those skills instead of using a phrase that means nothing. “Energetic team player”?  What else is there, a lethargic loner? Being energetic and a team player are expected work traits and shouldn’t be highlighted on your resume. It strikes a hiring manager as trying to fill blank space on the page. The same is true of “reliable.” If you aren’t reliable, then you will not last long.

Writing a great resume isn’t difficult if you create a document that matches the needs of the employer, as well as effectively communicates your skills and expertise. Look at your resume the way an employer would and update it accordingly.

You own the space and you need to make it work for you, and your job search.

Why A Professional Skills Section Is Important
While you may have a “Skills” section in your resume, you may not have a “Professional Skills” section. What is the difference? Why is it important to have a “Professional Skills” section?

People have lots of skills. Some people can play instruments. Some people can juggle. Some people can stand on their head. Some people can curl their tongue into a clover shape. While these skills make great party tricks and are fun hobbies and enjoyments, they are not useful in a professional setting. You may think that people would not place playing instruments or juggling in the “Skills” section of their resume, but it does actually happen. People may add some of these skills in order to show some personality or change up their resume. Unfortunately, that personality can also make you look unprofessional and even incompetent. So if you want to make your resume unique, there are better ways to do it.

  1. Get Rid of Personal Skills and Hobbies: As fun as they are, your personal skills are not applicable to a professional setting. Even though they should not be listed on your resume, if you are specifically asked for some of those fun skills during an interview, then you can feel free to speak about them.
  2. List Your Professional Skills: List your professional skills from most applicable to the job to least applicable. If you can’t figure out which skills will be most applicable to the job, start with your strongest skills first, then move down the list.
  3. Title The Section: Instead of titling the section “Skills,” title it “Professional Skills” or “Areas of Expertise”. You could even consider pulling qualifications right from the job description and incorporating those skills (if they are applicable to your skillset) into your list on your resume.

Keep the “personal” out of your resume. Employers want to read about your professional expertise and the value you offer, not about your hobbies and personal interests.


You may think that if you search a recruiting agency’s job listings and there are only a few jobs, that a recruiter won’t be able to help you. That isn’t necessarily true. One of the actions a recruiter can take when he gets an exceptional resume, one with unique skill sets, is to skills market that job candidate.

Skill marketing occurs when a recruiter contacts a company that does not necessarily have a job opening, but knows that the company may find a particular candidate to be a valuable asset regardless of not having open positions. Skill marketing can be a good tool to use to get noticed and hired by a company. However, you must be able to present your skill sets clearly on your resume, and keep up to date on trends in your field so that you know which skills may get your foot in the door.

A good recruiter knows what those skills are, too, based on industry trends, but also on building relationships with companies. He/she often has a unique perspective on where a company is headed. For example, company Q may be known for digital printing, but the recruiter may know through conversations with hiring managers that company Q is moving towards other types of digital imaging as well. If you have skills working in digital imaging, the company may just create a position for you to spearhead their new ventures in digital imaging.

So don’t just rely on job aggregators that list job postings from all over the internet. Feel free to use them. But also develop relationships with recruiters. Let them know what you are looking for in in you next job.  If they don’t see any immediate openings for someone with your credentials, ask these recruiters to skill market you. You may just end up with a great job that didn’t even exist before you asked for their help.


Instead of just sending out a generic resume, today’s job candidates need to take the time to tailor their resume to fit every job being applied for. While this may make the application process take longer, it will be well worth the effort in the long run. Here are a few tips to tailor your resume and help make the application process go faster:

Keep the information on your resume up to date. Just got a new cell phone? Change the contact information right away. It is easy to forget to change such a small thing, but you shouldn’t wait until you’re applying for a new job. An out-of-date phone number can have big, negative consequence (such as not being contacted for your dream job).

Read the job qualifications and duties carefully. Add the same keywords to your resume so that it will make it through the recruiter’s software scanner.

Use separate resumes for experience in different industries or a functional resume for two or more closely related industries. It makes it easier to add crucial keywords to your resume when tailoring it to a specific position.

Learn to be a cut and paste, toggle expert. Not all job application databases will let you upload a resume into different information fields. Become familiar with Control+C and Control+V to copy and paste. PCs use the Alt+Tab keys and Macs use the Apple+Tab keys to toggle between screens. Copy text from your resume first, then toggle to the job application page and paste the text into the information boxes.

Name your resumes generically and modify the name each time you upload it to an application database. For example, label your updated resume “Edit512” for the industry it addresses and the date you updated it. Do not name your resume with a company name. It is too easy to upload your Xerox resume for an IBM position, and forgetting to change the name will count against you as a job candidate.

Following these easy tips will help you to be more prepared for your job search.

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5 Surefire Resume Tips To Dazzle The Employer & Get You To The Interview