5 Ways to Impress Employers at the Top of Your Resume

This post was written by Laura Smith-Proulx and was originally seen on CareerRocketeer.


Ever leafed through stacks of resumes, looking for critical skills or words to catch your eye? Ever sat at a job interview and wondered why the company representative seemed lost going through your work history?

If you’ve experienced these situations, you already know why the top half of your resume is so important: it’s difficult to absorb much, if anything, from a quick scan, and the details often don’t register until the interview begins!

Even though most companies have automated the process of scanning your resume from among hundreds, managers eventually turn to the tedious work of sorting through each document, looking for signs of intelligent life.

Instead of fighting this trend, embrace it – and take steps to make your resume pop, right from the beginning:

1 – Tell employers what’s new or relevant.

Just earned your MBA? Fluent in more than one language? Able to relocate wherever you’re needed?

These are details that are meant to be put up front in your resume, as they quickly distinguish you from candidates who are less willing to move, or have a more limited repertoire.

As an example, “Cornell graduate pursuing Executive Leadership certificate at Northwestern” helps demonstrate a commitment to education.  “Canadian citizen; no sponsorship needed” is another example of how to answer an employer’s critical questions (before they begin).

2 – Show your career progression.

If you’ve consistently been promoted, worked at a string of prominent companies, or quickly progressed into roles that show your unique blend of competencies, consider adding a short Career Progression section right up front in your resume.

For executive candidates, this may mean showing “Board of Directors,” “Committee Chairman,” “CEO,” and“Senior Vice President” in a Career History listing on the first page.

A rising star in banking could also list “VP, Strategic Programs at Citibank”  and “Management Associate at HSBC Bank” in a resume summary—quickly showing how you’re qualified to move to the next step.

3 – Give your resume a title.

Instead of launching right into Professional Profile or Qualifications Summary (yawn), consider cutting to the chase with a title that spells out your goal.

Don’t protest; you’ll need to make your ultimate job target obvious to employers, or they WILL pass you by.

You can, of course, straddle the line between career levels with a general title such as “Business Development / Account Executive,” or try going for broke with specifics (“Director, Cloud Services & Managed Hosting Alliances”).

Either way, a bold title tells employers where to categorize your skills, and points them to seek out the reasons you’re uniquely qualified—by reading further, of course.

4 – Try a branding headline.

Also referred to as a tagline, a branding headline does exactly what it should: frame your peak value-add to employers.

Placed front and center on your resume, the branding statement can be as dynamic or conservative as you believe it needs to be, based on the audience for your skills. Keywords or references to your desired career level will help employers hone in on what you offer.

As an example, if you’re pursuing a new position in a highly regulated field such as the audit industry, an appropriate tagline could be “Municipal Audit Leader Behind Large-Scale Cost Recovery & Compliance.”

A sales professional, on the other hand, might try a headline with more energy, such as “Aggressive Retail Sales Expert Creating Multimillion-Dollar Deals.”

5 – Present your ROI right away.

There’s no law of resume writing that says you must hide the good stuff until later in the document. In fact, you can start off with a bang by describing achievements within the first few lines of your resume.

“$400M+ growth with launch of Cloud Partner offering in Q3 2012, leading to $800M forecasted 2013 results”says more about your ability to get results than a list of sales skills.

In short, don’t settle for writing your resume the same way, hoping for different results!

Recruiters and hiring managers are crazy-busy looking for the perfect candidate, with little time to read your resume and absorb every detail. The top part of your resume can be as important as the remainder of the document – all put together.

Make it easier for them to spot key qualifications by trumpeting core facts front and center, where they’re much more likely to land you a coveted interview.

_ _ _

Laura Smith-Proulx, award-winning executive resume writer and founder of An Expert Resume, is a former recruiter who partners with CIO, CFO, CCO, COO, CTO, CEO, SVP, and Director candidates to win top jobs at Fortune-ranked corporations. A credentialed Professional Resume Writer, Career Management Coach, Interview Coach, Social Networking (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) Career Strategist, and Personal Branding Analyst, she is the author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips & Resources to Access the Hidden Job Market, with work featured in 8 career bestsellers. She serves as a media source to Wall Street Journal FINS, CIO.com, AOLJobs.com, LocalJobNetwork.com, and other outlets.

Top 6 Critical Conversations You Should Have With Your Boss

This post was originally seen on Career Rocketeer and was written by .

Communication seems to be the most under-rated, yet most critical thing we do as humans.  There are all too many things we should be discussing and communicating about, yet for some reason, we don’t.  Call it lazy, busy or reluctant; we don’t communicate enough about the right things in the most effective way.  Think of just how much better all your undertakings would be if all you did were improve this one critical capability.

In the workplace, almost all of us have a boss or someone we must be responsible to.  That means the place to focus your communication as your highest priority is the boss.  When you work well with the person in charge, chances are exceptionally high that you will like your job.  As a place to start, use this as a checklist for your communication plan with your boss:

Work or project.  You should be finding a variety of ways to keep your boss in the loop on what you are working on.  Don’t just go silent and hunker down in your office.  If you do that, you will force them to come extract information from you.  Consider sending short emails, hallway conversations or sound bites in staff meetings.  You can also consider preparing a monthly report that covers highlights, status and challenges–all the things the boss really wants to know.

Discuss problems you encounter.  Some people are reluctant to let anyone know they are encountering a problem.  Problems are why we were hired.  Consider discussing Situation-Action-Response or S-A-R.  Don’t just take a problem to the boss without offering at least one possible solution.  When you do the S-A-R approach you first outline the situation, and then outline what action you either did take or propose to take, followed by what result you expect.  This way the boss isn’t solving your problems, but is being given a “heads-up” on an issue and the opportunity to validate your approach.

Clarity.  If ever the boss gives you direction or communicates something you don’t understand or think you agree with, it’s time to seek clarity.  It only takes a few minutes to catch the boss to ask a few questions.  Keep in mind, their only ability to get their job done well is if you do; so don’t think of your questions as an interruption.

Your career goals.  Every boss wants to think they have hired real go-getters.  You can show that you are in a number of ways, and central to that is to engage your boss with your career goals.  If you discuss your goals and create development plans that mesh with both of you, you have a built-in advocate.  Your boss can’t guess what you want next; you have to let them know.

Your performance.  You need to start every new job by gaining an understanding of exactly what their expectations of you will be and how they will go about assessing you.  Once you know those details, take it upon yourself to seek ongoing feedback about how you are doing.  If you do this, you will avoid running your job off into the ditch.  If you need skill building, make your request when you have your performance discussion.

When it’s time to go.  Hopefully, you work for a boss and company where you can have open, honest discussions about things like leaving.  Many of us don’t.  If you do work in an environment where you can, let the boss know when you have reached your professional “expiration date.”  Keeping them in the loop and being a transparent professional will help their planning tremendously.  They will also respect you for doing so.

It’s not possible to over communicate with the boss or most people you work closely with.  Look for opportunities to share what’s going on with you every time you can.  You will find you work better with others when you do and you will be sought out as someone great to work with.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com/  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from www.nextchapternewlife.com and www.mbahighway.com


3 Management Styles To Become Be a Respected Leader in Your Organization

Leadership gets a lot of attention. Some believe leaders are born, others believe leaders are created over time or emerge throughout their career. Regardless of their origination, there are a few key areas that define whether a leader gains the respect of their teams or not.

Openness vs. Strict Boundaries

Many top executives and leaders believe that keeping distance between themselves and their team or employees leads to greater respect in the workplace. Essentially though, when this is the energy and the feeling in the workplace, it isn’t necessarily respect that is cultivated. Distance creates fear. We fear what we do not know. And, most people don’t work at their best with fear as a motivator. This isn’t to say that management and leadership need to befriend their team outside of the office, but creating a connection within the workplace will go further than keeping your distance. When you create a sense of connectedness and get employees to feel as though you are on their side, their loyalty greatly increases. Plus, individuals like to please. The more they like and respect their leader, the higher the likelihood they will be more innovative and take more risks that can move the company forward. It’s trust in knowing and understanding that they are liked and respected by their management that gives them the internal permission to dare greatly.

Bottom Up vs. Top Down Changes

It’s easy to apply changes to a company or organization from the top down. It takes time, effort and energy to involve people from all levels into the change process. When you have a top down approach, employees become disgruntled and resist the change. When individuals are involved in the change process—whether that means a new process, building out a new product, or installing a new software—their buy in is greater, regardless of the results. People like to be heard, even if their opinions aren’t necessarily implemented. When people have a voice in an organization and they know that all the voices are heard, they’ll have greater respect for the management and leaders.

Transparency vs. Reticence

Having a sense of transparency with the people we lead has a significant impact on the level of trust and respect that we receive from our teams. When we are transparent, we inform people of what’s happening within the organization at all levels. We welcome feedback from everyone. We allow people the freedom to create, take risks, and explore what works and doesn’t work in their position. Reticence on the other hand creates a closed-off environment, one in which the team lets doubt and worry creep in when anything changes or even “seems off.” Managers who don’t communicate with their teams, or allow their teams to openly communicate with them have less buy-in, a decreased sense of loyalty, and are more likely to fear what’s happening behind the scenes in an organization.

These three different leadership style examples may seem extreme, and perhaps there is a happy medium that would also lead to a respected style of management. The most important thing to remember is that if you are a manager and a leader, that people like to feel involved and included. They need to know they have a sense of belonging. When we aren’t willing to create a connection with them, trickle down changes from the top only, and lack in our communication—people are robbed of this experience. The managers that people will fight for and respect, long after they’ve stopped working on their team, exhibit openness, the ability to listen, and effectively communicate with their team.

Can Money Buy You Career Happiness?

(Originally posted on Forbes, by Jacqueline Smith)

As you rise up the corporate ladder you get more money but also more stress and more complications that can make you less happy on the job, right? No, maybe not, according to a new survey by the jobs site CareerBliss.com. It finds that employees with higher salaries are happier with all aspect of their work life, not just their compensation.

“Employee happiness defines our workplaces,” says the company’s chief executive, Heidi Golledge. “Employees used to be happy just to be paid consistently and hopefully paid well.  Now, overall job and life satisfaction, sense of well being and the work that they do are intricately tied together.”

In Pictures: Salary Level and Happiness

CareerBliss analyzed 69,000 job reviews written by employees between 2011 and 2012 and found that money could buy happiness—at least in the workplace.

The employees, at 22,000 different companies, were asked to rate ten factors that affect workplace happiness, including growth opportunities, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, their senior managers, job security, and whether they would recommend their employers to others. They evaluated each factor on a five-point scale and also indicated how important it was to their overall happiness at work. The numbers were combined to find an overall rating of employee happiness for each respondent, and then they were sorted by salary bracket to find who the happiest workers were.

It turned out the overall happiness ranking for people making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year was 3.78 out of 5, which made this the least happy salary bracket. It rose to 4.21 for those making between $400,000 and $450,000—the happiest workers of all.

Bradley Brummel, a Ph.D. in workplace psychology who analyzed the CareerBliss data says the survey points out that where you evaluate happiness is important to consider when answering the question,Can money buy you happiness?  “Yes, to some degree,” he says. “We see that happiness is highest at an income level of about $400,000 to $450,000 a year and then decreases slightly. It is important to understand higher income appears to correspond to increases in almost all other things that make a happy job. Some of these things include interesting work, autonomy, flexibility, and interesting coworkers.”

So in other words, if you make more you’re probably happier with most aspects of your career, but not necessarily in life altogether.

5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the Management Track

(This article was written by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran and was originally seen on Career Rocketeer.)

Many people aspire to be promoted to a managerial position as the key part of their career goals.

It can be very rewarding. Many people are left pondering: How do they get on that management track to begin with?

And What do I have to do to prepare? Both good questions, let’s outline what needs to take place to become a manager.

– Outline your goals to your management. Get your boss in your corner to help mentor you and to give you opportunities to prove you are management material.

– Look for opportunities to take on more. A key element to a management position is initiative. You won’t be told what to do you, have to assume responsibility and direction. Most groups have far more work than manpower to perform it all. Look for items that will create real impact to the business. Those will get you visibility which is important to your goals.

– Find a role model. Observe the people who manage and find someone who you believe is both a great manager and is successful. Ask for them to mentor you and observe how they perform their management job which makes them successful. You want to emulate some of that behavior.

– Take classes and read. There are tons of management classes and books on management. Look for ones that are oriented toward the basics and beginning management as they will outline what you need to do in these early days. Higher level materials, while interesting, will assume you know these things and won’t go into much detail.

– Ask to fill in. The boss will go on vacation or business travel. They have work to be done while they’re away and you can volunteer to cover for them or minimally to pick up some tasks of theirs. This will give you a taste of the work being performed and again demonstrate your ability to take on higher level responsibilities.

– Seek leadership roles. A great way to get started in management is to take on the role of project management or leader to a work effort. Many of the needed management skills are used in these situations. You are facilitating a group of people to get something accomplished. To do that you will exercise such things as: planning, directing, communicating, gaining agreement, following up and the list goes on. Projects are a key way for business to get done and someone has to lead the effort – that can be you.

If you prepare yourself well, your first management position it can be the thing that will catapult you into higher levels and greater impact to your business. You need to make sure that at this stage you have thought through just how different this job is from what you have done before so you can shift gears to be equally awesome as a manager.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com/ From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from www.nextchapternewlife.com and www.mbahighway.com

Original article credit to Career Rocketeer.