I read hundreds of resumes each year and meet dozens of job seekers usually after several unsuccessful months of job hunting. What do they have in common? The seven deadly sins of executive job hunters:
1. Lack of success stories with measurable accomplishments. Here is a great example of what should fill 80% of an effective resume:
Jack Welch made it a corporate goal for GE to be a Six Sigma company by 2000. He led from the front spending time in Six Sigma Training sessions personally answering employees’ questions. He made surprise visits to Six Sigma review sessions and work-floor visits to observe implementation progress: The Six Sigma effort at GE contributed $700 million in corporate benefits in 1997, just two years into the program.
2. Lack of keywords – Almost all searches for talent, which are now occurring primarily on LinkedIn, include the keywords reflecting the systems, best practices are areas of regulatory compliance an executive in a given function and industry would be expected to possess expertise, In Jack Welch’s case, his resume would include Six Sigma. On yours, maybe SAP, Oracle, salesforce, GAAP, SEC, FDA.
3. Advertising liabilities — it is totally acceptable to omit information from a resume especially ‘ancient history’ and therefore mask liabilities such as age or short-tenured employments.
4. Lack of target companies — an effective, proactive job search is more than 80% focused on researching a list of target companies most likely to need your skills and experience and networking to them. Why 80%? Because year-after-year, studies indicate that is how 80% of executives have found their new roles.
5. Lack of a robust LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Recommendations or any indication one is ‘low tech’.
6. Salary – realtors would tell you that nearly all home sellers overprice their house despite reliable market comps on what similar houses have sold for; likewise, most job seekers position themselves in the marketplace over the market rate despite readily available information regarding salaries.
7. Why you? Though the market has improved and there is more hiring than in the past 8 years, there is still an abundance of talent and therefore stiff competition for every role. You must be capable of answering why you would be the superior candidate versus your competition. Are you able to do that?
You are an expert in your field but not in job searching. If you have been searching for three months or more without success you really owe it to yourself to consult with, and consider retaining, an expert who can review your campaign and ensure you are not committing any of the deadly sins. You not only need to avoid the deadly sins; your preparation needs to be flawless so that you are the finalist that gets the offer!