Demonstrating Executive Leadership Through Your Resume

Demonstrating Executive Leadership Through Your Resume

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.

Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

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.

Executive Resume Writing is All About Communicating Your Difference

Executive Resume Writing is All About Communicating Your Difference

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.

Executive Interviews: The All-Important Fit Conversation

Executive Interviews: The All-Important Fit Conversation

Executive interviews are not only about determining if you can do the job — and do it well — but also if you’ll fit in with the people and the environment. Hiring decision makers want to know you’ll be able to operate effectively up, down and across the organization and be able to get your job done through your teams and together with your colleagues. “Poor culture fit” is often one of the reasons why executives don’t succeed in positions (usually observed and addressed quickly), and make their exits — either voluntarily or involuntarily. We see this play out time and time again in the business world. In a 2015 Fortune interview, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, reflects on his hiring — and swift firing — of European retail executive John Browett. “That was a reminder to me of the critical importance of cultural fit,” Cook said about his executive hiring misstep and Browett’s poor fit with Apple’s culture.

Assessing fit in executive interviews is often a challenge for both companies and candidates alike, as it is often difficult to determine if there is full alignment on all value points. I was networking recently with the Head of Talent Acquisition at a NYC-based PR firm and asked her to describe the company’s culture, to which she responded, “scrappy, lean, open-office environment, shared business line P&Ls, very collaborative, casual and non-corporate.” These words conjure up different feelings for people and do not have the same appeal for all individuals. Therefore, during the executive interview, it’s just as important for the candidate to get a true sense of what it would be like working at the company as it is for the company to understand what it would be like working with the individual.

Here are some questions that will help in preparing for the “fit conversation” in executive interviews:

Questions to anticipate:

  • How do others describe your leadership style?
  • What do you value most as a leader?
  • What type of culture do you foster among your team as well as the broader organization?
  • How would you describe your decision making/conflict management/communication style?
  • What factors are most important to you in considering your next role?
  • What factors are most appealing to you about this opportunity?
  • What career successes are you most proud of and why?
  • What was your biggest career mistake and what did you learn from it?
  • What motivates you?

Questions to ask:

  • How would you describe the culture here?
  • What does the organization value?
  • What’s kept you working here?
  • What do you view as the organization’s/team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes leaders successful here?
  • What has caused leaders to fail?
  • How does the organization keep teams engaged and motivated to perform?

If you are looking for a partner to help prepare for your next round of executive interviews, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.