Innovation — “driving growth, new products, and new methods of delivering value to customers”* — is critical in business but remains difficult to cultivate and quantify. Harvard Business Review recently published an article on five qualities that innovative leaders share. They are:
- Maintaining a Strategic Business Perspective: At the core of every innovative leader is a thorough understanding of their industry — the broader market, competitive landscape, and customer base — and a clear view on how industry trends will affect their business in both the short and long term.
- Demonstrating Curiosity: Innovative leaders embody curiosity. They possess a lifelong desire to learn, frequently ask questions, and stimulate new ways of thinking in themselves and others.
- Seizing Opportunities: Being proactive when presented with an unexpected opportunity is a frequently cited executive leadership quality. Innovative leaders are also able to change direction rapidly but responsibly, and without indulging in over-analysis.
- Managing Risk: A greater risk-taking tolerance to advance the business is a hallmark of innovative leadership. Experimenting with new approaches is a shared trait, as is the ability to quickly respond when there are setbacks.
- Leading Courageously: Not averse to conflicts, innovative leaders transform challenging situations into opportunities to demonstrate their decisiveness and are accountable when making difficult decisions.
If those qualities sound familiar, you are probably like my clients: successful, driven, and at the top of your industry. Yet, translating the traits of innovative leaders into a career narrative suitable for a resume remains elusive for many.
Resumes that make a real impact highlight value through career accomplishments — and the metrics associated with those accomplishments. My process for achieving that finished product — the resume — involves a depth of engagement with my clients to help uncover their leadership strengths, differentiators, and successes.
*Visit Harvard Business Review to read more about innovation and the five qualities that innovative leaders share, or contact me directly to discuss how to extend your executive leadership accomplishments onto your resume.
Do you ever watch those “Year in Review” segments on television and marvel at how broadcasters manage to convert the essence of a year into a three-minute story? Identifying essential content is a crucial skill for journalists because a lot happens in just one year and the duration of their segments must be adhered to—or they lose their audience.
Imagine trying an approach like that with your career and your executive resume: a “Career in Review,” if you will?
It’s not easy.
Many of my clients approach me because they are leaders in their industry, have been with their company for more than ten years, and are struggling to separate the “must include” information from the “nice to include” information in their executive resume. They have achieved great success but need to identify their career milestones and determine a compelling narrative for their executive resume.
When I begin working with my clients, I ask them to take a step back and think about their tangible achievements, such as:
- The teams they have assembled
- The sizes of the businesses they have led
- The brands or products they have developed or launched
- The complex business problems they have solved
- The business changes they have steered
- The technology they have implemented
- The new strategies they have employed
- The markets they have penetrated or channels they have expanded
This approach arms me with some of the essential building blocks I need to begin to craft an effective—and concise—executive resume.
If you are looking for a partner to help make you as marketable as possible, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.
There are no hard and fast rules to executive resume writing. Each executive career story is different. Each leader is different. Each set of accomplishments is different. Conveying your difference is the ultimate objective of executive resume writing — and marketing yourself. Many executives have worked for the same company for years or have been fortunate enough to move seamlessly from one role to the next without ever having to truly market themselves — on paper or in person. People have actively sought them out and only required a basic career history document outlining companies, job titles, dates, key responsibilities and education. Executives often have never had to take stock of their careers in a meaningful way and convey who they are as a leader, where they have made their mark and what they can offer a new company. If you are at a stage where you need to actively look for new employment and promote yourself, these are important consideration and communication points.
When I work with executives to craft their individual career narratives, the focus of our discussion is on uncovering their unique value — or unique leadership DNA. Here are some of the questions that we use as a starting point to prompt thinking in this direction:
- What are you most known for? What do other people think of when they think of you?
- What potential problems can you help a company solve?
- What aspects of your experience, knowledge and/or skill set make you different than every other leader who does what you do?
- In what areas do you have deep expertise? Where can you add real, measurable business value?
- What do you consider to be your greatest career successes?
- What specific challenges have you been up against and what results did you deliver?
- From a business and organizational perspective, where have you had the most significant impact?
If you are looking for a partner to help communicate your difference, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.