executive resume serviceWith the widely known importance of writing an effective resume, more companies are popping up claiming they write the best ones. Choosing an executive resume service is a big decision relating to your executive career. It’s easy for these services to claim to be the #1 service, but how do you really know they aren’t just using a standard template and switching things around to make yours look unique?

There are plenty of ways to distinguish a legitimate executive resume writing service from a fraud. Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for one.

Make Sure They Are Experts In Your Industry

If the resume service doesn’t indicate specific industries they have experience in, then you may need to look elsewhere. Resumes have to be very specific and specialized. If they aren’t, recruiters will see right through them.

Ask For Credentials or Certifications

When you contact an executive resume service, the writer should be able to provide you with one or more certifications. Those certifications could include:

  • Certified Expert Resume Writer (CERW)
  • Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
  • Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW)
  • Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM)

While these aren’t the only certifications and credentials available, your resume writer should be able to show proof of at least one of them.

Check Out Any Samples

Any executive resume service should have an abundance of samples to provide you. Sometimes the key to writing a professional resume is incorporating different ideas from other resumes into your own. This is a good practice for writing your own resume, but the best resume writing services will treat you as a unique individual instead of just another resume. Samples should be available, but only for your own benefit.

Talk to An Actual Resume Writer

It’s always important to call an executive professional resume service prior to hiring them. If you talk to a sales person who only offers you their different services instead of learning about you, then you need to look elsewhere. A good company will ask you insightful questions about your career, accomplishments and achievements to get a complete understanding of your background. This could be in the form of an online survey, a phone interview, an in-person interview or a combination of these. The more questions they ask you, the better you should feel about their service.

At Professional Resume Services, we take the time to get to know the backgrounds of each of our executives. We can’t write your executive bio unless we know your complete career history, accomplishments and aspirations, so gathering as much information as possible before getting started is key. Feel free to contact us to learn more about our services and how we can be the right executive resume service for you.

Highlight your relevant skills in an executive resume.

Your executive resume should reflect why you’re making a career change.

Switching your career path can be a challenging time. There are a lot of difficult choices to be made, and after you’ve decided to leave your current field, you may be nervous about finding a new career with an executive resume that may not match the jobs you’re looking for. Reflecting your career change on your resume will help your new employers understand your switch and get a better sense of why you’re a good fit for your new career.

Updating Your Resume

When it comes to executive resume writing, it is important to show employers what skills you possess and how those skills would benefit their company. Even though your former career path may be different, it is likely you have many transferable skills that will still be relevant to your new job.

You can use your core qualifications to sell yourself in different ways, depending on the industry you’re trying to enter. The trick is to slant your current skills to be relevant for the job you’re seeking. Using the following steps, you can make your executive resume and cover letter for your resume work for a different industry.

Start Over

It is tempting to use your past resume and make some changes here and there. However, you’ll be much better off if you avoid the urge to take this easy route and start from scratch instead. After all, a new career means a new executive resume! With a new cover letter, as well as a new resume, you will be able to start slanting your skills toward your new field from the start, making it even more effective.

Express Interest

In all likelihood, your interest in your new field didn’t just happen overnight. You’ve probably been interested in the industry for years but were simply working in another. Use your new executive resume to tell your interviewers why you’re interested and what you know. This knowledge will help you seem interested, dedicated and ready for your change.

Highlight Skills

A traditional experience-based resume may not be enough for your career change. Instead of listing all the skills you have and have used in your previous job, you need to put all the focus into your transferable skills.

Stay Confident

Use your cover letter for your resume to really sell yourself. A lot of people become less confident when they change careers because there are plenty of people with more experience looking for the same jobs. Really hone in on your transferable skills, your accomplishments and your love for your new field in both your cover letter and resume.

Changing careers can be challenging, but with enough confidence, you can show potential employers why you deserve the opportunity to use your experience and knowledge to make a difference in your new field.

ceo interview questions

We are accustomed to any number of conventional interview questions, and everyone has their favorites. But many shrewd CEOs and executives are digging a little deeper, looking beyond what they see in a job candidates’ executive profiles, resumes and cover letters. They are asking some very unusual interview questions designed to reveal more of your personality and ensure you are the perfect fit for their company.

 

“What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?”

— Ashley Morris, Capriotti Sandwich Shop CEO

 

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s simply a fun question Morris likes to ask to see how a candidate will respond under pressure. This gives him a feel for how effectively they react without prior thought or planning, as well as insight into their moral compass and whether they will fit into the company’s culture.

 

“What’s your superpower … or spirit animal?”

— Ryan Holmes, HootSuite CEO

 

Holmes feels the response he gets to this question gives him a greater understanding of a candidate’s work habits, beyond what’s seen on an executive’s profile.

 

“On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?”

— Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

 

One of the reasons Hsieh likes to ask this quirky question is to ensure the candidate is a good fit for the casual culture of Zappos. According to Hsieh, whose company values include fun and a little weirdness, it’s not really important what number you choose, unless it’s at the extreme end, such as one or ten. Whereas a one might indicate you are too conservative for his company, a ten, on the other hand might show a tendency toward being a little too weird for them.

 

“Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

— Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder

 

Co-founder of PayPal Thiel values those who are not afraid to say what’s on their minds. He finds this question, though uncomfortable, helps him see how courageous a candidate can be in discussing something that may be in direct opposition to the interviewer’s opinions.

 

“What was the last costume you wore?”

 David Gilboa, Warby Parker co-CEO

 

What the candidate remembers wearing isn’t a problem. It’s more about making sure they fit in with the eyewear retailer’s relaxed environment. With core values that include adding “fun and quirkiness” into everything they do, Warby feels that even the most capable candidate would be a mistake to hire if their work style was not a good fit.

 

“Tell me about your failures.”

 Jenny Ming, president and CEO of Charlotte Russe (former chief executive of Old Navy)

 

Resumes and cover letters don’t show failures, only successes. Ming feels this question is a good test of how willing the candidate is to take a risk, and being honest enough to acknowledge when things don’t go right. The example could come from either personal or business life. What’s important is how the person handled the failure and how they overcame or moved forward afterward. The clothing store executive says the responses give her insight into how willing the candidate is to admit when something goes wrong.

 

So, to prepare, you might want to start thinking about what your super power or weirdness level is so you are ready for your next interview.

 

 

 

how creative can a work wardrobe be?
It was interesting to see the comments on Anna Akbari’s DailyWorth post. “Don’t Dress for the Job You Want” is a statement that seems to fly in the face of the general consensus on working wardrobes. But she does make some good points to consider when dressing to express yourself instead of your position:

  • demonstrate that you get it
  • connect with your audience
  • exude confidence

Context is Everything

Those first two points are a reminder that we work with other people. The way we dress does affect how others react to us, and it’s naive to insist it doesn’t matter. To quote Ms. Akbari, “demonstrating that you understand the unwritten dress codes and larger ethos of any given context is the first rule of successful self-presentation.”

You have to connect before you can communicate, and if everyone around you is wearing a “uniform”, it shows they are all part of the same group culture. Wearing at least part of that uniform, or wearing the uniform in an acceptably unique way, will be a signal that you belong even though you are a bit different. If you don’t care about the group, you don’t try to connect or get what they are about — and at that point, why are you working there? In an interview situation, why are you saying you want to work where you don’t get the group’s culture?

There are times when a unique status symbol is an investment tool, but it entirely depends on the group you are in. Cowboy boots communicate one thing in Dallas and a different thing in D.C., but there is more to the symbolism than identity. If those boots are high-quality and well-kept, the wearer is signalling confidence even if everyone else is in tied-up Oxfords. That confidence is important, because you need it however you dress. If wearing a unique item makes you feel more like “yourself” and gives you confidence, that’s good. But make sure you are respecting the context of your surroundings.

mashable
Recently, I was honored to be among industry experts discussing current trends in resumes and cover letters on a Mashable Biz Chat. Tracy Edouard, Marketing and Communication at Mashable, gives us the highlights of Mashable’s #BizChats Twitter chat on how to transform your resume and cover letter for the better and you can see different professional perspectives on these questions:

  1. Is it important to have both a cover letter and resume when submitting job applications? Why or why not?
  2. How can someone truly make their resume stand out from the competition?
  3. What features are important to showcase on someone’s resume? (GPA, school, skills, etc.)
  4. What are employers and recruiters looking for in resumes and cover letters?
  5. What are the biggest cover-letter mistakes professionals are making?
  6. How important is design when it comes to creating a resume and cover letter?
  7. What are the top resources available for resume and cover letter support?
  8. What final tips do you have about creating great resumes and cover letters?

These are all good questions. And the input from the various professionals involved is valuable without a doubt. But do you know what the most striking thing about this Twitter chat is?

There Isn’t An Excuse For An Ineffective Resume & Cover Letter

We have the ability to pull experts from all over the place for a chance to pick their brains. Every expert tweeting is linked to a site with a wealth of information, and there is no reason a job seeker with access to an expert can’t get expert advice. Much of that advice is free, too!

The overwhelming consensus is that you can have an effective resume and cover letter by putting the right effort into it. Sometimes that effort involves doing the research on current trends and revamping it yourself, sometimes it takes a resume critique from a professional to help you see what needs to be done, and sometimes your best investment is in a professional resume service.

The help you need to have a powerful resume and cover letter is out there and you can find it easily, along with a wealth of career advice from experts in your field.

the top 5 skills sought by employers in 2014

Did you ever wonder what the global job market is actually looking for? LinkedIn is in a unique position to find out, so after analyzing over 330 million LinkedIn member profiles, they came up with The 25 Hottest Professional Skills of 2014. Of that 25, the top 5 are:

  1. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
  2. Middleware and Integration Software
  3. Storage Systems and Management
  4. Network and Information Security
  5. SEO/SEM Marketing

What This Means For 2015

These were the top 5 skills that employers and recruiters were looking for last year. These are the skills that got people hired. Does that mean you should drop your current career plans and get a degree in statistical analysis? Not necessarily — but it does mean that technological understanding is something that cannot be ignored. Any candidate that has the skills needed for a particular job PLUS the global perspective of how that job fits into the bigger picture is a lot more prepared to compete.

If your resume doesn’t mention the technology you know how to utilize, it’s time to update your resume. In this increasingly interconnected world, we need professionals who can integrate the work they do with the global presence of the company that employs them. Each one of the “top skills” looked for attest to the fact that business is supported by technology and the IT department isn’t just tech support.

At the very least, taking the time to see what these areas consist of and how they are used in your industry prepares you to be someone who can see how their part fits into the mission of the company and gives you insight on the challenges of management and leadership. If you are interested in executive responsibilities, executive perspective sees how it all fits together.

If I were to make any predictions for 2015, it would be that most of the skills on 2014’s list will still be important. They may change positions, but like technology, they aren’t going away.

 

practical tips for holiday job hunting

The holidays and the end of the year are already times that most of us consider more stressful than other seasons. But for some, the stress isn’t from finding the perfect gift — it’s from finding yourself unemployed.

Whether it is the result of end-of-year layoffs or you have been searching for a job for some time, this time of year is challenging when there isn’t a regular paycheck in the works. Dave Ramsey, the financial guy, just gave us 7 Practical Tips for Dealing With Job Loss at Christmas and his suggestions are actually practical any time of year:

  1. cut back your spending
  2. change your outlook
  3. stick to your routine
  4. find seasonal work
  5. get creative
  6. be open with your family
  7. put the holidays in perspective

Don’t Give Up

You can keep up the job hunt during the holidays and have a huge advantage because there are so many networking opportunities. Parties and gatherings are great ways to connect with people without making appointments. Temporary jobs can easily turn into full-time and if they don’t you still have that paycheck and more work experience. Many a temp worker becomes manager later on so don’t discount the lowly position.

The thing I like about Dave Ramsey’s tips is that they make sense. When you are looking for a job, you need to be doing all those things and not pretend that everything is the same. It isn’t the same — and that is good because it gives you an excellent opportunity to make things better. It’s like getting rid of the junk in your house so you can clean it and start over with the good things you decided to keep.

 

 

as ceos go out the door, who is coming in?

Okay, not all the CEOs in the 2014 September CEO Report at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. are going out the door because they are being booted out, but the report does highlight a rise in the planned CEO departures for September. The 124 CEOs who left their positions represent an increase of 4.2% over the 119 leaving in August.

Looking at this report, it is striking to see how many CEO changes there have been in the first nine months of 2014 — 1,009 turnovers were tracked, most of them in the health care industry. What does this mean for executives who hope to move into C-level positions?

Be Ready To Move When The Door Opens

If you are serious about being considered for a position like President, CEO, CIO, CFO, and all the rest of the senior/C-level jobs, you need to also be serious about your resume, your executive branding, and every detail that you are presenting to the world. It isn’t enough to collect the experiences that qualify you for the job, those experiences have to be presented convincingly to persuade people that you are the best candidate for that job.

  • Monitor your online presence and deal with unprofessional lapses now.
  • Look over your resume and make sure it is updated regularly.
  • Consider your current level of expertise and actively seek to hone those skills.
  • Present yourself in a competent, professional manner worthy of the level you seek to attain.
  • Consider your current job an opportunity to show what you can do by doing it with excellence.
  • Research and learn what will be needed to move into that new opening when it comes.

Many of the CEOs in the Challenger study were actively grooming their replacement. That means someone was getting ready to step into their shoes as soon as the position opened up. Other C-level openings were vacant while the company scrambled to find the replacement. Whether you do the groundwork yourself, or get professional services to help you, the best way to move up the executive ladder is by being prepared to act when the door opens.

 

 

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.

 

good-grammar-12

Did you know you can set up your day to have a quick opportunity to improve yourself? One of the nicest things about the internet is the opportunity to learn, and improving your language is going to make a difference in your career.

Here’s why language is important: the things you write online stay there. The impression you make with your speech and writing doesn’t fade too fast, either. If you are consistently using language the way that “everybody” uses language online, then you are automatically closing the street to opportunity.

Learn A Little Every Day

I like Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips because they are funny, memorable, and short. You may prefer another source, and there are certainly plenty out there. I also use the Gregg’s Reference Manual. It’s the bible for grammar geeks. What you need is a regular reminder of common mistakes and how to avoid those mistakes that you will enjoy reading. I’m always surprised at the things I learn. Something new every day!

That small, daily dose of language skills is a regular reminder of the importance of language. It might not seem like much, but the proper use of language moves you past barriers that keep your career from flourishing. It might be true that a top executive dictates letters to a secretary instead of writing them personally, but it’s also true that the executive still has to use language competently.

Learning a little every day is part of being a leader. Looking for life-long learning opportunities keeps your brain active and your attitude flexible for the challenges of being an influence both today and in the future. If your language skills are inadequate, you may have the greatest ideas in the world, but you can’t communicate those ideas very well.

Adding something like a daily grammar feature takes less than five minutes to read and enables a lifetime of opportunity.

 

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