How to: CAR stories for your resume and interviews

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CAR-stories-for-executive-resume-writing

One of the things I always ask clients to brainstorm at the start of our process is CAR stories–which have nothing to do with any type of automobile!

CAR is an acronym for a type of success story; it stands for:

C – Challenge
A – Action
R – Result

When thinking about a CAR story, the idea is to describe a Challenge or situation you were faced with; the Action you took; and the Result that was achieved. There are also other acronyms, like STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result), that refer to essentially the same concept.

Let’s use a really easy made-up example.

  • Challenge: Our vendor for widgets was raising prices significantly.
  • Action: I obtained quotes from other vendors and assembled a cross-functional team to analyze whether it was feasible to make widgets in-house.
  • Result: We were able to transition widget production in-house at a 23% savings compared to the vendor’s prices.

When you’re compiling CAR stories, you’ll want to quickly jot them down without regard for complete sentences, grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

So the above example would look like this Shorthand Example:

  • C – widget vendor raising prices
  • A – got quotes; put together team to analyze
  • R – moved widget-making in-house. 23% savings

I advise compiling your CAR stories in a simple, abbreviated way just like the shorthand example above. Believing that you need to create prose worthy of the Nobel Prize in literature will slow you down unnecessarily, and you’ll waste too much of your time.

Compiling CAR stories does not require writing ability, and if you have the data available, it only takes 60 seconds or less to jot down each CAR story on a notepad (or even a napkin or your smartphone) using shorthand. You could compile 15 CAR stories in 15 minutes or less if you have the data handy. Even if you don’t have the data handy, you can use X% or $X as a place-holder until you’re able to find the missing number.

I don’t advise writing long, detailed CAR stories that are a whole paragraph long (or a paragraph for each letter!). It’s not helpful for my resume writing process, and your interview answers shouldn’t be scripted, so it’s better if you practice your CAR stories for interviews without a precise script.

The CAR format is only for purposes of organizing your thoughts. The above example would be consolidated into a succinct bullet point on your resume that would mostly focus on the result portion. In an interview, you might take a couple minutes to tell the story.

Don’t Be Intimidated by CAR Stories

I find that clients often put CAR stories on a pedestal and tend to over-think them. They’ll come up with numerous metrics related to their performance and then say “I was only able to think of two CAR stories.” There’s a BIG disconnect here.

If they have 10 different examples of metrics that are measurements of various improvements, then each of those 10 metrics would be considered a Result, which could only have been possible by taking some sort of Action, which probably was prompted by a Challenge or a situation. So in reality they probably have 10 CAR stories, not two.

One problem seems to be that some job seekers perceive a CAR story as having to be a really BIG deal. In reality, any result you’ve ever gotten has a CAR story. Some of them aren’t necessarily going to be super impressive, and that’s fine. If you’ve had a 20-year career, you might have a couple dozen CAR stories. We don’t necessarily need to spend time delving into all of them, you don’t need to share all of them on interviews, and not all of them need to be included on your resume. Only the most impressive and relevant ones are worth including.

Compiling CAR stories should be a brainstorming exercise. Compile as many as you can recall, especially from the past decade, and then they can be prioritized in terms of relevance (for your target employers/clients) and impact. You’re better off compiling, say, 15 CAR stories, and only 10 of them are worth using, rather than only compiling five and missing out on the other five that would have also been helpful.

Literally any result achieved in your work likely has a CAR story tied to it. For example: an increase in EBITDA, an increase in top-line revenue, increased efficiency, a cost reduction, time savings, or any metrics that are specific to marketing, supply chain, finance, or any other area of the business.

What is a “Challenge?”

Another issue is the word “Challenge.” I like saying “CAR” because it’s easy to say, and along with STAR, it’s one of the more common acronyms that refers to success stories. However, don’t assume that “Challenge” means a problem. I would encourage you to think of it as “Challenge or situation.” Bear in mind that the word “challenge” often refers to a goal in everyday parlance. For example, “My challenge was to get my marathon time under 3 hours.” So the “Challenge” could be a goal, a desire to improve something, a management directive… and yes, it could also be a problem that needed to be solved!

Keep Track of Your CAR Stories

Updating your resume is a great time to compile CAR stories. If it’s been a while, you’ll probably have a lot! Moving forward, I recommend that at the end of each year you jot down your accomplishments for that year in the form of CAR stories, with numbers when applicable. Keep all of that info handy so you’ll have it handy when it comes time to interview or update your resume. If you’ll be going through an annual performance review process, that’s the perfect time to jot down your abbreviated CAR stories for that year.

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

Your trusted resume expert… a robot?

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is truly woven into the fabrics of our lives, including job search. Most mid-sized to large employers are using technology and AI tools in the recruiting and hiring processes, and there are also tools that job seekers can take advantage of, as well.

For example, one such tool that I introduce my clients to is Job Scan, which will compare your resume to a job description you’re going to apply for. This helps you tailor your resume to that specific job posting. Even if you’re working with a recruiter on a job not publicly advertised anywhere, this can still be handy.

In a future post I can explore the nuances of how this tool works and why tailoring is preferable to using the exact same document every time without any changes.

There are also other AI and technology tools that are more questionable and less helpful, of course. (Also worth exploring in future posts!)

For now, what I want to address is how to handle a robot’s advice.

Human intelligence vs. AI

AI is an incredible advancement, and as most of us know, there are A LOT of things that computers are very good at that the rest of us simply aren’t as good at.

Robots have been beating humans at chess for years now—remember Deep Blue’s famous chess victory in 1997? Yes, certain types of thinking are easier when you have the memory and speed of a computer.

Limitations of software

Here’s the problem: software is only as good as the people who created it, and most robots we deal with in everyday life don’t excel at everything we throw at them.

For example, if you’re having a complicated marital problem, would Siri be a good source of advice? Probably not. She can find information on the Internet for you, but don’t expect her to give the kind of advice you could get from a marriage counselor or a friend who’s been married for 35 years.

Robots are lacking when it comes to analysis that requires common sense, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

A client example

I had an executive client who, based on my recommendation, ran her resume through Job Scan to tailor it for a job posting. A recommendation popped up saying that her resume was over the recommended length.

However, what she didn’t notice was that it said “unless you are applying for executive jobs.” The software simply isn’t (or at least wasn’t at the time) capable of analyzing the fact that there were VP titles in the resume, and then tailoring the advice based on the fact that she was at that level. Now, if she had read it more carefully, she would have understood that this didn’t apply to her.

One-size-fits-all “rules of thumb”

The other issue is that the software is set up to detect whether you’re over a certain word count (which has since been increased); even if you’re only one word over, it will be flagged—even though being one word over wouldn’t disqualify your application if you applied for the job.

These types of guidelines from an AI tool are usually based on best practices that are applicable to the lowest common denominator of people. Your needs might be slightly different, depending on your industry, career level, target employer, target job, and unique career situations.

You could think of it like government dietary guidelines. They’re based on what will probably work best for most people, but your needs might be slightly different if you’re an athlete, diabetic, celiac patient, or have a food allergy. In those instances, you could work with your physician, dietician, or trainer to determine what will be best for you.

Handling a robot’s advice

Back to my example. My client tried to trim her resume to get it under the magical word count that the robot had recommended (yes, that was sarcasm). But there was so much important information; she trimmed a bit, but couldn’t get it down much and mentioned this to me when we talked again.

I reassured her that the platform clearly states that this isn’t applicable if you’re applying to executive jobs. However, I was left feeling a bit disappointed that she had trusted a robot over me.

When you’ve invested a significant amount of money in working with an executive resume writer who is certified, has spent more than a decade mastering her craft, attends conferences in her industry, contributes to popular resume and career books, is quoted about resume topics by major media outlets, stays current through monthly professional development, is a member of four different professional associations for the resume and career industry, and has a recruiter consultant on her team…why not at least run these things by her first?

At this point, advice from robots needs to be taken with a grain of salt. AI job search tools range from useless to helpful, but even when it’s helpful, you also need to balance it out with the opinions of human experts and your own common sense. Oh, and while you’re at it, please don’t replace your marriage counselor with Siri. 😉

How to list job promotions on LinkedIn

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About one-third of my clients come to me with LinkedIn profiles and resumes that don’t list all the job titles they’ve held at a particular company.

For example: John was hired as Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management at a $5B multi-national company. After only 4 months, he was promoted to VP – Supply Chain Management.

In the example above, I’ve discovered that A LOT of people will simply list VP – Supply Chain Management on their resume and LinkedIn rather than listing both titles. Or they have both on the resume, but only VP on LinkedIn.

Sometimes the inclination to do this is simplicity–not wanting to clutter things up. Sometimes it’s a concern about perception–not wanting anything to mar your status as an exec.

Whatever the rationale, not including the original title poses a problem when a prospective employer goes through the vetting process. Employers have become much more vigilant about employment verification and background checks in recent years.

Any discrepancy between the title on your documents and what they get from HR (and any other sources) could be disqualifying. It’s seen as dishonest. Likewise, any discrepancy between the resume and LinkedIn is a deal-killer for some companies and recruiters.

What I recommend

If the first job was a short duration and then you were promoted, and the two jobs have substantially similar duties, it makes sense to combine them into a single description–but the initial job title must be acknowledged.

On LinkedIn you would put:

Job title field: Vice President – Supply Chain Management

Job description: (Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

On your resume you have a couple options:

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)
Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Month 20XX)

And then your description of the job goes right here…

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)

(Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

Either of the above examples would be acceptable to most decision-makers and gatekeepers. The second example is more ATS-friendly if you’re applying online.

What the heck is a CV?

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Executive CV Writing

Many of the clients I work with aren’t sure what a CV is, or aren’t sure of the difference between an executive resume (or any resume) and a CV. It can be a thorny issue, so let’s delve in!

First, let’s get one thing out of the way: a CV is not a cover letter! I’ve had people reach out to me in writing saying they want a ” resume and CV,” and I soon learned that they meant a resume and cover letter. (They got confused after seeing countless websites promoting “resumes and CVs,” and assumed it was an abbreviation for “cover letter!”)

A CV is a document similar to a resume that describes your professional qualifications. “CV” is an abbreviation for “curriculum vitae,” which comes from Latin and roughly translates to “course of life.” In other words, it’s a summary of your life’s work.

Two flavors of CV

After more than a decade of working with people on their resumes and CVs, I’ve found that the term “CV” is used in these two situations:

  • A document that is longer and more detailed than a resume.
  • A document that’s not really different from a resume, but is referred to as a CV for reasons I’ll discuss more in a bit.

Use of CVs in the United States

In the US, CVs are often required for job seekers in the fields of academia, medicine, and science. On the shorter side, a CV could be 3-7 pages long, but distinguished scientists and professors who have many scholarly publications to list might need 10 or 20 pages. There are also some senior-level attorneys who use CVs, although most attorneys only need a resume.

Use of CVs outside the United States

In countries outside the US, I’ve found it’s more common for the document a job seeker uses to be called a CV rather than a resume. In some countries, such as Ireland and the UK, it ends up being pretty much the same as what a resume would be in the US.

Meanwhile, in some countries, CVs are expected to be slightly longer, like 3-5 pages, and they might be expected to include a personal photo, marital status, place of birth, citizenship, languages spoken, and date of birth.

When I create a CV for a client who is seeking jobs in countries with different requirements, I simply create different versions. You don’t want to put your marital status and photo on a document for the US or UK, but you’ll want it on there for many other European countries.

CV confusion

Sometimes an American will talk about a “CV” when they’re really just talking about a resume. For example, I knew someone who was interested in an internal opportunity, and the hiring manager was encouraging anyone interested to submit a CV. I questioned whether a CV was truly needed since this wasn’t a scientific, medical, or academic position. She followed up with the hiring manager and sure enough, the hiring manager was just using the term indiscriminately and merely wanted a resume.

I suspect this type of confusion can occur when people hear foreigners, physicians, scientists, and professors using the term “CV” and they start using it synonymously with “resume.” Then other people might pick it up from them.

Using a resume and CV

Depending on the nature of your career, you might benefit from BOTH a resume AND a CV, or you might need one or the other. Having both can be a good idea for some professionals, like physician executives and nursing leaders, who might be asked for either one or both.

The 3 types of resume feedback you’ll get

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While putting the finishing touches on a resume, some of my clients get feedback on the document–some of it solicited, some of it unsolicited.

Over the years, I’ve found that this feedback runs the gamut; some is helpful, some is “happy to glad,” and some is out-of-touch.

Out-of-touch feedback

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of outdated resume advice circulating. Self-anointed experts share this advice on LinkedIn and in articles on various websites (some of them otherwise trustworthy). Then, people who don’t know that much about current resume trends and best practices read these tips and articles, believe them to be reliable, and share them with friends and family members.

Then there’s the folks who presumably have some expertise–someone who worked in HR 10 years ago, for example. This can be tricky. Hiring trends have changed a lot in the last decade. LinkedIn and resume best practices are constantly evolving, and someone whose experience was years ago simply might not be familiar with current practices.

Then there are the executives, managers, HR people, college career counselors, and even resume writers whose understanding of resume best practices is based on what they learned 20 years ago. The knowledge from 20 years ago helped them land a job, and they just assume nothing has changed.

So they might think that all resumes should be one page, have an objective at the top, and be black and white without even the most conservative color accents.

There’s also flawed advice circulating about how to make a resume ATS-friendly (for employers’ applicant tracking software). Some of it is based on what was needed back when companies were scanning paper resumes using OCR and primitive ATS, circa 2001.

“Happy-to-glad” feedback

Some of the feedback you’ll receive is fairly benign, yet inconsequential. Example: “Use Arial, not Calibri” for the font. Or say “developed” instead of “formulated.” Why would someone even waste their time (and yours) with these kinds of suggestions? Simple: it makes them feel important! If you’ve read Dale Carnegie’s work, you know how significant that is.

Having nothing to say presumably happens when someone lacks the knowledge to share any expertise!

Helpful feedback

Sometimes we get resume feedback that is truly helpful. A suggestion about a bullet that might be added, for example. Some of the best advice often comes from people who have hired for the roles you’re seeking. In other words, someone at the level of your would-be boss. It might even be a former boss of yours. Just bear in mind that these folks often give a mix of helpful, “happy-to-glad,” and out-of-touch feedback! So you’ll need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff–that’s something I help my clients do.

In fact, more often than not I find that advice coming from a particular person doesn’t ALL fall under one category. That’s what can make it so tricky–if one suggestion is solid, it’s easy to assume the rest are, too.

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

When is servant leadership a bad thing? On your resume!

Most savvy executives nowadays have embraced the model of servant leadership–rather than being authoritarian bosses their teams are afraid of, they actually listen, use the power of persuasion to influence others, and work to lift up their team members (among other things).

This style of leadership requires humility. In general, this is a good thing–putting ego aside and being a leader people truly admire and want to follow.

However, the one time you DON’T want to be humble is when you’re writing your resume.

During a recent meeting with an executive client, I asked her about some of the things on her existing resume. For her current job, it stated that she “supported” three particular departments–but these were the departments I would think she would be running.

“Are you being modest there?” I asked. Sure enough, these are the departments she runs.

“I try to be a servant leader, so saying that I support them is the language I would normally use at work,” she explained.

Here’s the problem: a recruiter or executive who knows nothing about you might take a statement at face value.

If you say you “supported” something or “assisted” with something, they don’t have any way of knowing the true nature of your role. Don’t expect or hope that they’ll somehow figure it out based on delicate nuances.

Bear in mind the way recruiters and executives normally look at resumes. They do an initial scan that might take only 6 seconds (research supports this). They’re usually looking first at your current title and company, then the title and company before that; and if that interests them, they might read the first sentence of the description about your current position.

They might not read anything else if they’re not sufficiently interested based on what they read in that initial 6-second scan.

So we need to make sure we’re using clear, accurate language that gives you proper credit for the scope of your responsibility. Don’t downplay anything.

Save the servant leadership language for the office!

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

Can you speak to your resume?

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In addition to the plethora of common interview questions you need to prepare for, you should also be prepared to address questions about your resume. About ANYTHING on your resume–even the smallest of details.

If you stumble or seem confused when an interviewer asks about something on the resume, that could be the end of your candidacy.

Here are the three ways you should be ready to speak about your resume content:

  1. Discuss and expand: Be ready for questions about any of the experience or summary bullets and even any of the skills if you have a list of core competencies. You should be ready to expand on any of those things. If a bullet point is referencing a specific success story, be prepared to expand on that with a full CAR story (Challenge you faced, Action you took, Result that was achieved).
  2. Clarify any misunderstandings: No matter how well-written and thoroughly proofread your resume is, there will still be instances when a reader doesn’t understand something, or a mistake somehow slipped in there. Be ready to clarify without getting flustered. Apologize for the mistake or lack of clarity, explain the correct information, and move on.
  3. Explain the actual resume: This doesn’t happen often, but you might be asked questions pertaining to the writing and designing of the resume. Decide beforehand if you’ll confess to having help (if you hired a professional), and how to explain that choice. If you’ll pass it off as your own, be ready to answer questions about how you created it or used a template.

Make sure you’re familiar with every word on your resume and DON’T be caught off-guard by questions about it.

Interviewers will often interpret any confusion on your part in the worst possible way–assuming that you must have lied or fabricated information (remember lies is harder than remembering the truth, after all).

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

Why you shouldn’t use an objective on your resume

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Ah, the resume objective. They were once a requirement for the top of your resume.

Now, those who are savvy about modern resume trends know that objectives are considered outdated and ineffective in today’s job market.

A couple of the key reasons objectives have fallen out of favor are:

  • The objective statement focuses heavily on what you are seeking rather than what you have to offer.
  • Most job seekers end up writing cliche-filled objective statements that are likely to result in readers rolling their eyes.

Here are a couple examples of objective statements people might have used in the past:

  • “Objective: A rewarding position within a dynamic, growing company”
  • “Objective: A software sales executive position with unlimited growth opportunities”

Doesn’t everyone want a rewarding position? Does anyone want to be in a shrinking company? What does this tell the employer, other than the fact that the person wants a marketing position (which is way too vague–there are so many flavors of marketing)?

The objective statement was intended to inform potential employers about what type of positions you are seeking and suitable for, but there are other ways to accomplish this.
What to do Instead of an Objective

You can use a summary, and possibly a headline, to convey your qualifications and the type of position you’re seeking.

Examples of headlines:

  • “Award-winning digital marketer with history of boosting website traffic, increasing conversions, and growing e-commerce revenue”
  • “Senior-level software sales executive fueling profitable growth through strategic partnerships”

Does that tell the employer more right off the bat compared to the objective statement example above? Of course it does! It hits on exactly the types of things an employer would want in a digital marketer. And there isn’t any question about what type of jobs you’re seeking–you’re obviously seeking digital marketing jobs; no confusion there, and no objective needed.

Your sizzling headline can then be followed by a summary consisting of a few bullet points, or a paragraph, or a short paragraph followed by a few bullet points. You can also include a core competencies section (a list of skills) if you want.

Nails in the coffin of the objective statement

Resume experts started using headlines and summaries instead of objectives about a decade ago, but it takes a VERY long time for every professional, executive, and career counselor to hear about the latest trends in resume writing. So there are still a fair number of folks who are using objectives and recommending objectives.

If you have a resume book that recommends the use of an objective, check to see when the book was published. Any book published more than a decade ago is likely to contain a lot of outdated information.

Here are a couple relatively recent books that emphasize the use of a summary instead of an objective:

  • Resumes for Dummies, 8th Ed. (Wiley, 2019) [I was a contributor to this book]
  • Modernize Your Resume (Emerald Career Publishing, 2016)

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

Introduction to “resume speak”

Resumes are a little weird. You might wonder if the wording you see on professionally written resumes is grammatically correct. It’s correct (sort of). Welcome to the world of “resume speak!”

“Resume speak” is the unique style that has become the standard for resume writing. Decision makers, executive recruiters, and HR executives usually expect and appreciate resumes written in this style.

With that being said, there is really no right or wrong in resume writing, and 10 different “experts” will give you 10 different opinions about a resume.

How is resume speak different from normal writing?

Two main ways:

1. Writing in “first person implied,” omitting personal pronouns.

Resumes should be written in first person, meaning it’s written as though you’re writing about yourself. However, the standard, accepted practice is to leave out personal pronouns like “I,” “my,” and “me.” This style is referred to as “first person implied.”

Examples for present tense (for a current job):
– First person: I develop marketing campaigns…
– First person implied: Develop marketing campaigns…

Examples for past tense (for previous jobs):
– First person: I launched a marketing campaign…
– First person implied: Launched a marketing campaign…

What is the alternative?

Some people, when writing their resumes, use phrases like “develops marketing campaigns.” Which means they’re essentially writing in second person implied. Ultimately, it’s your resume and your choice. But the standard among professional resume writers (and my preference) is to use first person implied.

Are personal pronouns ever acceptable?

The occasional, thoughtful use of a personal pronoun or two on a resume can be perfectly fine–innovative, even. HR guru Liz Ryan advocates “human” language with personal pronouns in a resume, although this has yet to catch on.

In some cases I’ve opted to use “my” if it allowed me to elegantly express a thought in one or two lines rather than writing a long, confusing bullet point. If the reader won’t understand what you’re saying, there’s no point in writing it.

2. Omitting articles

In resume speak, we don’t include many articles. Articles are “the,” “a,” and “an.” It doesn’t hurt to include them, but resume statements can be much more powerful when we limit unnecessary use of articles.

Sometimes articles are necessary to ensure that the meaning of something is understandable, so I do include some articles–just not all the articles that I would include if I were writing a different type of document, like an essay for an English class.

Examples:

– Normal writing: I launched a marketing campaign that resulted in a 30% increase in sales over a 12-month period, enabling the firm to hire an additional marketing associate.

– Resume speak with limited articles:
Launched marketing campaign that resulted in 30% increase in sales over 12-month period, enabling firm to hire an additional marketing associate.

 

Additonal resources on resume speak:

http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/resume-critique-checklist/article.aspx

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/five-tips-for-better-resume-writing.html

 

Other Style Considerations: One Space or Two After a Period?

I always put only one space after a period, which has become the preferred practice in modern times — even though you probably learned to use two spaces back when you were in school.

One space is now the standard for many types of writing, and most style guides support this. Only the American Psychological Association’s style guide continues to recommend two spaces.

Some under-40 readers will perceive two spaces as an indication that you follow outdated practices, especially if you’re over 40.

May 2020 update: Microsoft has recently announced that MS Word will start flagging two spaces as an error. This might be the final nail in the coffin of double-spacing!

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

8 unexpected benefits of executive resume writing

Traditionally, the purpose of a resume has been to secure an interview. Today, the advantages extend beyond simply landing interviews–and there are also some bonuses to going through the resume writing process properly that don’t have anything to do with the resume itself!

5 advantages of a professionally written resume (beyond simply landing interviews!):

  1. It gives your interviewer a road map for a successful interview. Interviewers, after all, will typically have the resume in front of them during the interview.
  2. It positions you for the level of salary you are seeking. A blah, unbranded, poorly written resume that doesn’t highlight your accomplishments in the most impressive way possible won’t position you for an increase in salary.(Thanks to renowned career guru Don Orlando for his ideas that influenced #1 and #2 above!)
  3. Even if the hiring manager knows you and wants to hire you, if it’s a larger organization, he still needs to convince colleagues and his boss that you’re the one for the job.Hiring has changed. At larger companies, there are usually several people involved in the hiring decision nowadays besides the hiring manager (hiring manager = the executive you would be reporting to). If another candidate looks incredible on paper and you don’t, the other stakeholders who don’t have prior knowledge of you and your work might be more impressed with the other candidate.Let’s face it, the hiring manager’s life will be more difficult if he has to explain to HR why he wants to hire a candidate none of the other people favor, or if his boss isn’t convinced the candidate is the best choice. Relationships are the #1 key to awesome executive jobs; but don’t assume that the relationship alone is enough. The hiring manager’s life will be easier if your resume and interview performance both knock it out of the park, and he doesn’t need to work hard to convince anyone that you’re “the one.”

    I once had a client hire me even though the hiring manager wanted to hire him. The hiring manager said he needed a great resume tailored to the position in question so he could convince his boss the candidate was the right fit.

  4. The resume is written documentation that will help sell you even after you walk out the door after the interview.

    After interviewing multiple people, interviewers often get confused and can’t remember which one was which. They may stare at a resume afterwards saying, “Wait a minute, was he the one I liked, or he was the one with the weird handlebar mustache who was rude to my secretary?”Leaving behind an impressive resume (and perhaps other leave-behind materials), and then following up with a compelling post-interview thank-you/follow-up letter, will help your interviewer remember you and help “sell” you long after you’re gone.
  5. And, finally, your professionally written resume is like an insurance policy in case your new job doesn’t work out.I’ve had clients who went to work at jobs that ended with an unexpectedly early departure. Though unlikely, there are myriad reasons why you might lose a job or decide to quit after just a few weeks or months. Job security is a thing of the past. Layoffs are common nowadays, and managing your brand and image with an effective executive resume and LinkedIn profile should be an ongoing effort.

3 positive side effects of professional resume writing:

  1. It helps you prepare for job interviews and networking conversations because it forces you to identify your personal brand, specific accomplishments and success stories, and the key messages you need to get across to your target audience.
  2. It boosts your confidence. Clients report feeling great after seeing their resume draft–especially executives who haven’t had their resume updated in several years, and those who had previously written their own resume or used a lower caliber of resume writer.
  3. It provides the foundation for a strong LinkedIn profile, and LinkedIn is an important networking and brand management tool for all professionals. LinkedIn is not something to only think about when you’re job searching and ignore when you’re employed. If you want to be continuously employed and always in demand, you want to be effective in managing your brand and online presence. This begins with LinkedIn.

This article originally appeared on KellyDonovan.com.