Praise For This Book!
“Louise and Christine have provided a clear, succinct blueprint for
moving from ‘I need a new job’ to ‘I’ve got an interview. ’And there is no
doubt that they know their stuff. In fact, Louise and Christine are two of
my go-to coaches for my executive resume clients – I turn to them for
their expertise in helping job seekers navigate today’s complex world
of career management. Their book is on the money, to the point, and
Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, CCM;
Executive Resume Writer / Career Consultant / Author / Speaker;
Your Best Impression
“Take the angst out of landing the interview with easy, understandable,
Susan Britton Whitcomb, author of 8 careers books, including
Resume Magic, and founder of TheAcademies.com for career
“As an Executive Recruiter, I deal with many candidates who lack a
GAME PLAN when they start a search. Louise and Christine delineate
in the clearest of terms the action steps necessary to execute a winning
strategy. Of special interest to me is the section on Personal Branding.
I wish all my candidates had this in their professional job search tool
boxes. The advice offered is timely and very practical.”
Michael Robinson, Ph.D., Master Club Manager, Robinson Club
“If Christine Edick and Louise Garver wrote it, then I know it’s sage
advice! I’ve known both of these career experts for 15+ years, and
have nothing but admiration for their knowledge and their contributions
to the careers industry. This book is another exceptional offering ...
valuable lessons in the intricacies of job search and how to position
yourself as THE winning candidate. A must-read for every job seeker
and a valuable resource for every career professional.”
Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW - Co-Founder & Executive
Director - Career Thought Leaders Consortium
“I’d like to commend Louise on her new book as it provides crystal
clear direction for job seekers to follow in order to achieve success in
today’s job market. I know that the content is spot on as I work with job
candidates on a daily basis in my search firm. Many candidates struggle
with creating, articulating, and correlating their career successes to
the opportunity they are competing for. Your advice provides a great
blueprint for success. Congratulations and best of luck!”
Ken Diamond, President, Digital Action Executive Search
Founder, & CEO of WinTheView.com
Win Interviews! The New Must-Have Game Plan
Career Focus, Personal Branding, Resume, Professional Bios,
and Online Profiles
The world of work has changed. Suddenly, the game plan looks and
feels completely different, and no one gave you the new rules. Job
search truly is a different game than it was even a few years ago. You
may have the dilemma of what to do or how to accelerate your search.
What needs to be done first? What should I avoid? Who can I turn to for
help? What is the best investment of my time and money?
Having a clearly defined professional
brand is no longer optional. Employers
want to know what differentiates you
from your job-seeking competitors,
not how you’re the same. They want
to see hard skills linked to your softer
ones, indicating who you are, what
you’re like to work with, and how your
strengths will translate to dollars for
Your resume needs to be a targeted, brand-reinforcing, career marketing
communication. Supplementing your resume with a professional bio,
a compilation paper, and digital documents is key to success in job
A strong online presence is also
essential when in job search mode.
You may not feel comfortable putting
yourself out there, but without an
online identity, you don’t exist and may
be completely invisible to recruiters
and other hiring managers who source
and assess candidates by what they
find about them online. You need to transform your portfolio of career
documents into a LinkedIn profile that’s a magnet for recruiters and
hiring decision makers. But LinkedIn is just one critical component in
building an online presence and leveraging social media.
Having a solid, continuously nurtured network is like having health
insurance for your career. Your real-life and social networks need to be
ever primed for you to tap into for new opportunities, introductions, and
hot leads and to help you penetrate the “hidden job market.”
Approach your job search from
the POV of “What problems
can I solve for you?” Every
employer’s first question to
job candidates is: “What can
you do to make life better/
easier/more profitable for me?”
Market yourself as a solution.
If you aren’t Internet savvy or
don’t know how to use online
resources, consider taking a
class or borrowing books from
your library. Your library is an
extremely valuable resource.
Become the CEO of you. Think of yourself as a company of one—
YOU, INC. If you’re actively job hunting while unemployed, finding a job
is your new nine-to-five job. You have to devote full days to launching
and managing your job search campaign—if you want to land the job
Overall, you need to change your thinking and the way you approach
career management in the digital world, whether or not a career
transition is in your immediate future.
* * * * *
Employees at any level may experience job loss, and when that
happens, they can feel powerless. This type of devastating experience
can also affect a job seeker’s sense of authority and identity, especially
when he/she has no control over the circumstances. The outlook can
look less than dim knowing that there are fewer positions at the top. A
reality check to gain perspective is important for a job seeker to move
forward and look for the future potential opportunities.
An important element of any job
search campaign is to utilize your best
project management skills. Strategic
thinking, preparation, planning and
organizational skills, along with a
little common sense, will help you be
successful. Implement your plan with
determination as rejection can be right
around the corner. An individual in
the midst of a job search encounters
unreturned phone calls, limited
response to direct mail, or repeated
rejection. There can be many reasons
for this, so don’t take it personally—it
is part of the process. Like any project,
managing the interim objectives and
measuring success in small stages is
key to maintaining a healthy attitude.
Career change comes with pros
and cons. On the plus side, there is
greater satisfaction to be gained if
you are making the change for the
right reasons. Typically, people who
are happy in their jobs are healthier; and along with that, the positive
demeanor has a ripple effect on their personal life too.
One of the most effective
career collaterals in job
search/interviewing is the
strategic use of the 30-, 60-,
90-day business plan as
part of the follow-up “thank-
you” letter-writing process.
Sent in the body of an email
within 24 hours of an in-
person job interview, this
two- to three-page document
reiterates a candidate’s
value proposition, recaps
key ‘points of pain’ shared in
the interview, and presents
ideas as to approaches to be
taken, preliminary strategies,
suggested solutions, and a
working game plan for the
first 30, 60, and 90 days in
position if hired.
If you are unemployed, you should
be spending at least thirty-five hours
a week on your search. If currently
employed, spending ten to fifteen hours
a week is essential to get momentum.
Spending less time on job search could
slow down the process and extend the
time you spend looking for another job.
Strengthen your success factors with a strong foundation, a career
action plan, and organized job search tasks.
If you are unemployed, make
looking for work a full-time
job. It is also important to
maintain your recreational,
social, and fitness plans in
order to avoid burn-out.
viii Contentsviii Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Companies Are Changing Their
Hiring Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
New Job Market: Are You Prepared? . . . . . . . . 3
Chapter 1 Focus and Set Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Career Audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 2 Preparing for Job Search . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Career Action Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Identify Career Focus and Job Target . . . . . . 8
Create a Job Search Marketing Plan . . . . . . . 9
Making a Career Move . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Chapter 3 Define Professional Brand and
Value to Employers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Create Your Professional Brand . . . . . . . . . . 17
Personal Brand YOU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Online Reputation Management . . . . . . . . . . 21
Chapter 4 Career Marketing Documents:
The Tools That Open Doors . . . . . . . . . 35
What Hiring Managers and Recruiters
Look for in Resumes and Cover Letters . . . . 37
C o n t e n t s
WIN Interviews 1
Companies Are Changing
Their Hiring Process
There has been a slight improvement in the
interview and hiring processes of companies over
the last decade. There are still the “old believers”
think the answer can extract pertinent and useful
information for the interviewer. Then along come
the “new age” interviewers who want to primarily
ask behavioral questions. These examples are at
opposite ends of the spectrum, and businesses
are realizing that they need to rethink their hiring
process to get the right candidates.
Here are four ways companies are changing their
1. Quit asking irrelevant “curveball” questions.
It has become clear that these types of interview
questions do not generate the information
necessary to classify the candidate as the right
fit for the job. NOTE to job seeker: What this
means to you is that companies will be focusing
more on interview questions that relate to the
position and the skills needed to accomplish
the job. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to keep your
response to a curveball question in your back
pocket just in case.
2. Be clear about what you want. Companies
are encouraged to start the process by
identifying the key skills and behaviors that
a candidate must have to succeed in this
position and fit with the company. By knowing
these up front, it helps the interviewer to
compare apples to apples. NOTE to job
seeker: Read the job description that is
I n t r o d u c t i o n
identify how that
might affect you.
provided for the job opportunity carefully as it
will contain clues to key skills and behaviors.
If this is a position that you found out about
through other channels such as networking
or an internal employee, ask questions about
the company’s expectations of the person
they are looking for to fill the position.
3. Proof. The companies need proof that
you are who and what you say you are.
There cannot be an ounce of doubt for the
interviewer. They are looking for the closest
fit, and anything that can be disputed could
get you disqualified. NOTE to job seeker: You
will be tested during the interview to prove
that you can do what you represent. They
may give you a specific problem to solve.
Can you make quick decisions? A sample
situation may be thrown your way (and timed)
to simulate a situation under pressure.
4. Panel/multiple interviews. More companies
believe “two heads are better than one.” By
involving more people in the interview and
hiring process, they get several perspectives
that bring multiple levels of information and
details that would not have been possible
if the entire process was handled by one
person. NOTE to job seeker: You may be
seeing more panel interviews that include
many levels from several departments that
would be affected by the hire. There also
may be more interviews in the entire process.
Some companies have a policy of a minimum
of eight interviews with everyone from the top
executives down to the assistant for the new
job candidate. They come together after all
interviews are conducted to compare notes.
So be alerted that companies are sharpening their
interviewing and hiring processes, and identify
how that might affect you.
WIN Interviews 3
New Job Market: Are You
As a job seeker, you may have experienced
many changes in the job market over the years.
Predictions have been formulating for some
time now about big changes in careers and the
traditional workforce. The experts forecast an
independent service firms, “solopreneurs,” and
temporary workers by 2020 with 40 percent
or sixty-five million people who will not work in
traditional jobs as we know them today.
What does this mean for you? You could be
affected in two ways: (1) from the employee
view of managing this new workforce, and (2) for
yourself personally, your flexibility/ability to market
yourself as a one-person company if necessary.
Let’s look at three key points:
1. Create your personal brand. This concept
is sometimes the hardest for job seekers to
grasp. They typically don’t think of themselves
as a “brand.” It has been proven that people
who land the best opportunities are those
who understand the value of marketing
The most important marketing message that
you can relay to a prospective employer is
who you are (your unique value proposition)
and what you can do for them (focusing on
their issues and needs).
2. Create your niche. It is easier to separate
yourself from the masses by clarifying your
expertise and showcasing it in your job
search documents and interview materials.
What we know is that every company has
problems. Recruiters and hiring managers
are looking for people who are able to solve
those problems. Make it easy for the recruiter
or hiring manager to see you as the go-to
person for X.
Are you prepared to answer this question
that almost always comes up in an interview?
Be sure that
you know your
brand and your
Your brand should
across all career
collateral, both on-
“How are you more qualified to do this job
than the other applicants?”
3. Follow industry trends. Up to now, you
may have been sustaining an insular
approach to your job and focusing only on
your company. It’s time to evaluate what’s
going on industry-wide, whether you intend
to stay in your current industry or move on.
Incorporate industry research into your job
search activities to find the trends. Joining
online groups (LinkedIn is a great source for
online forums and groups) and networking
will also help you verify the information that
is circulating about your industry and trends.
This will help you circumvent concerns that
may come up about key issues that are
stumping your competitors.
Social networks are perfect forums to engage
with people you might not have otherwise
met. Establish connections, learn about the
needs of others, and share your expertise as
well. Building relationships is still essential in
The writing is on the wall: The job market and
career opportunities are changing!
The facts are clear. Over the last decade, job
seekers want a career change because they are
dissatisfied with their job/industry, unhappy with
their salary, insecure about longevity of job, work
in an obsolete industry, or a victim of corporate
downsizing. Maybe you are among nearly 50
percent of job seekers rethinking their career path.
Recognize that jobs typically last for only two to
four years, not a lifetime. Develop an outstanding
plan, including strategy and tactics.
If you don’t know
where you are
going, you’ll end
Chapter 1: Focus and Set Goals 5
C h a p t e r
Are you ready for change? When was the last time
you took a serious look at your career direction?
Where are you now? Where do you want to be?
As a job seeker, you know that being proactive
is a must in this fast-moving world. And many job
seekers are just too wrapped up in the day-to-day
job activities to take a pulse reading of where they
are in their own career.
If you answer yes to these statements, you may
need a career direction evaluation:
1. Your job lacks challenge and excitement for
2. You are feeling unappreciated.
3. Your promotional and/or development oppor-
tunities are limited.
4. You are no longer having fun.
5. Learning is replaced with routine.
6. You sense that your skills and talents are
7. You are suffering from stress or depression.
Individuals often take on the burden of having to
know all and be all and lose themselves in that
thinking. However, today, senior management
is stretched beyond their capabilities at times,
Many people think
that if they keep
they will land a job
sooner. Quite the
opposite is true:
With a target job
in mind, you are
far more likely to
prepare properly -
and land the job
of your dreams.
Focus and Set Goals
6 WIN Interviews
causing one or more of the statements above to be true.
How do you get back on track?
1. Start with a career action plan. Yes, you may already have one, but
if it is dated or not working for you, it may need some revisions or a
fresh approach in a new direction.
2. Assessments or personality inventory may be helpful as tools to
help you discover your strengths, preferred way of working, people
relations and commonalities, etc.
3. Resume, cover letter, professional bio, LinkedIn profile, references,
and other career documents may need to be updated.
4. Work with a career coach who can be extremely helpful in supporting
you through this process. Coaches are perfect sounding boards for
brainstorming ideas, formulating a strategy, and creating steps to
help you implement it.
Don’t wait. Get started now!
Chapter 2: Preparing for Job Search 7
C h a p t e r
Career Action Plan
What’s standing in your way? Out of about 6,580
professionals polled globally; 89 percent said they
could not accomplish all the tasks on daily to-do
lists. That’s huge! What’s amazing is with all the
available information (articles, blogs, websites,
etc.), helpful tools and technology, only a little
over 10 percent of employees end the day having
finished their task list. No wonder people in job
search mode are challenged trying to fit in their
career action plan the mix of everyday duties and
responsibilities of work and life.
Creating a career action plan and strategy to
implement the multiple pieces of that plan is
essential. For most job seekers looking at a twenty-
four-hour period, there isn’t much time left over
after their current job, extended working hours for
special projects, family time, continuing professional
development, sports/health, and any other activities
the person is involved in. So where do you draw the
line and make the commitment to job search?
1. What do you really want? (If you get stuck on
this one, what would your twin say you really
2. What’s your role in making that happen?
3. What gets in your way?
4. What is your biggest fear around this?
5. What are three steps you can take to achieve
Develop a plan
that is multi-
both online and
Don’t forget how
valuable your local
librarian(s) can be in
the search process.
Your career needs
a roadmap. Be sure
to establish your
goals, create steps
to achieve both
short- and long-term
to measure your
progress. It’s so
much easier to
find your way to
your career goal
when your C-GPS
Preparing for Job Search
8 WIN Interviews
These questions generally get a person thinking about what’s most
important and what they can put aside temporarily to work towards their
job search goal. Sometimes a few more questions are helpful to drill down
a little further.
1. What do you really need right now?
2. What kind of support would be helpful?
3. What is your strategy?
4. What is currently motivating you?
5. What are you just tolerating?
to answer and should be given a reasonable
amount of attention to contemplate the
answers that support your intentions. Being
honest with yourself and your circumstances
can sometimes uncover what’s standing in
your way of accomplishing what you need to
do to work on your career action plan.
If you are not ready to make your job search a
priority, then what can you do in the interim to
move things along? If you are ready to jump
into the job search arena with both feet, then
understand that there will be roadblocks and
challenges at times that will sidetrack your
progress. However, recognizing your level
of commitment can help you stay motivated.
The most focused and dedicated individuals
are the most successful.
Identify Career Focus and Job Target
Thinking about changing industries? Consider the following:
1. Where is your target company in its industry? In the broader
2. What business and economic trends are affecting that industry and
3. If that industry is shrinking, which industries are growing?
When you create a job
search marketing plan,
be sure to include the
Six Pillars of Job Search:
social networking; direct
mail campaign, in which
you send an ROI letter
to employers; surveying
posted jobs on aggregator
sites like Indeed.com and
niche sites; approaching
recruiters; and building
your online footprint to
attract recruiter searches.
Chapter 2: Preparing for Job Search 9
Create a Job Search Marketing Plan
We have all heard the phrase “start
with the end in mind.” Well, that is
exactly what you can do with your Job
Search Marketing Plan. Even before
you begin to rewrite your resume,
sign up for associations and groups,
attend networking events, interact
with recruiters, or search online job
boards—you must know what type
of career is right for you. A clear
direction is critical to your success in
finding the perfect next job.
Step 1: Have a Clear
Many people reach a crossroad
in their career where they want to
Do I want to stay in manufacturing?
Move into high tech ? Or should I
consider the biomedical field?
So the question becomes what is your
ideal career? Have you taken the time
to think about it? If not, the time is now.
To help you define, try this exercise. Create a spreadsheet or, on a piece
of paper, create three columns. Title them Job, Traits, and Skills.
Job Traits Skills
Fill in the positions
you are (or have
been) interested in
Picture a person in
this position and what
traits make him/her
successful. Fill these
in this column. Be
specific. Is he/she a
leader, team player,
Fill in the skills or
the clear requisite
skills and education
one needs to have.
This step may require
a bit of research. If
you’re not sure of the
skills required, look
up job descriptions or
listings on corporate
career centers to find
The single biggest mistake job
seekers make is sidestepping
that critical first step of identifying
and researching employers or
organizations that are a mutual
good fit for them. Instead, they dive
right into personal branding, and
updating or creating their resume.
Skipping over this critical first step
dooms job seekers when they
create a generic resume, trying to
cover too many bases that probably
won’t hit home with anyone.
Job creation is growing fastest
in the STEM areas: Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math.
If you’re in the market for new
knowledge and training, consider
one of these career paths.
10 WIN Interviews
Once you have completed this chart, you can begin to evaluate where
you stand in relation to the positions you are considering. Can you
pinpoint two or three career paths that match your current talents and
skills? Is there a certain career path you’d love to pursue but need
additional education or experience for? Use this collected information to
define a clear direction for your job search.
Step 2: Market Research
Market research is an important step in a job search. In order to properly
market your product (you) to your audience (employers), you must know
who they are, where they are, and how they think.
So how do you get this information? The following are questions that will
help get you started:
Identify people in your desired position.
Research their professional and educational backgrounds to determine
what made them desirable to be chosen for their current position.
Informational interviewing is extremely helpful to gather this information.
However, most executives today are too busy to accept casual phone
calls from people they don’t know. Can you speak to a friend or colleague
who knows that person so you can ask what he likes about his job, what
a typical day is like, etc.?
Identify target companies.
Finding the right companies to target is somewhat essential at this
stage of the job search. After all, you will be spending more time at
the company during your working career than you will at home, so you
want to make sure there is a good match between you and your next
employer. A few questions to ask yourself to get started:
1. Who do you know within the company?
2. Who do you know that can introduce you to someone within the
3. What is their company culture? Is it one that matches your
4. What challenges are they facing? Do you offer any solutions?
5. What new products or services have they recently released?
6. Has there been new regulation affecting the industry?
Chapter 2: Preparing for Job Search 11
Identify where your target industry hangs out.
Having the opportunity to connect with people in your target industry is
key. You most likely won’t run into these professionals hanging out on
the street corner or in a café. So how do you find these people? Join
an industry-related LinkedIn group, Ning.com site, forum, etc., where
other professionals contribute to conversations and networking. Is there
a chapter of your industry association in your area? Is there a meetup
group for professionals in your field? Consider all the ways you can
branch out to connect.
What do you do if you identified a field that you know requires further
education? In this case, your next steps could include researching schools
and training programs, speaking with alumni, admission offices, etc.
Step 3: Marketing Collateral
Even if you have the best network, have done due diligence with researching
companies and career direction, your job search will be slowed down or
severely hindered if you don’t have great marketing collaterals that highlight
your talents and skills and support your career achievements.
1. Resume – A well-written, concise resume.
2. Cover Letter/e-letter – Customized to highlight why you are perfect
for the position.
3. Professional E-mail Address – A simple and professional-mail,
i.e., email@example.com (never use current company e-mail
4. Phone Number – Cell or personal number with a professional-
sounding voicemail and no children answering the phone.
5. References Document – This document guides interviewers in
asking professional references questions that emphasize your
about who you are and what you can do for an organization.
7. LinkedIn Profile (and other online profiles) – Updated content
with recommendations and key skills that support other collateral
materials to help you achieve digital distinction in today’s competitive
1. Professional Bio – Often requested by recruiters and hiring
managers, your bio should reveal your personal brand: your unique
12 WIN Interviews
promise of value, attributes, competitive advantage blended with
your successful history.
2. E-Career Portfolio – The results of your professional career come
to life with an e-career portfolio that summarizes your achievements,
talents, and education. It is an innovative and technology-savvy 3-D
presentation of the value of your professional talent.
3. One-Page Networking Resume – A great tool to use in networking
conversations, recruiters and employers often seek a one-page
snapshot of your background.
4. Networking Cards – Business card–type networking cards with
just your personal contact information printed. Never hand out a
business card from a previous employer.
5. QR Code – Create a QR code specifically for job search through
6. Twitter Profile – Depending on your industry, building a network on
Twitter may get you noticed by the right people.
7. Blog – A blog is a fantastic way to establish yourself and your
knowledge of your industry. Just be sure to keep it professional.
Make sure you have a consistent look and tone to all materials you
are using in your job search. You want to convey a strong brand and
message so that a potential employer is never confused about you, your
knowledge, and personality.
Making a Career Move
Superheroes abound on TV today. Each one has a set of arsenals at his
fingertips—super strength, X-ray vision, ability to morph into a deadly
weapon, the list goes on. Superheroes know intuitively that if they jump
so high and so far, they can land on their opponent, surprise attack, and
win the battle. They have strategized the right moves at the right time
and used the right weapons. Job seekers are really no different—they
need their own set of tools and strategies. Even if you have a great
resume, it is just one tool in the arsenal.
Job seekers are oftentimes thought of as having superpowers or being
the superhero of an organization. So you may already possess the
talent and skill that is necessary when making a career move. What job
strategies do you need to be a superhero in your job search campaign?
Network - You may be tired of hearing about networking, as it is
constantly being brought up as the most effective job search strategy.
Each networking article reports slightly different figures of success, but
Chapter 2: Preparing for Job Search 13
all point to a rate of more than 60 percent of jobs being found through
networking. Just imagine Spiderman with his web spread across many
buildings, enabling him to maneuver in spaces that others don’t have
access to. What does that mean to you? Networking can be your web to
people and organizations that your competition does not. If you want to
boost your chances, you need to be networking!
Research - In the old days, when the world was more aligned with the
“Clark Kent/Superman” scenario, companies did not expect a candidate
to come into an interview fully knowledgeable about the company. Part
of the interview process was filling the candidate in on the operations,
products, staff, etc. Today, candidates are expected to have done
their research and to walk into an interview equipped with information
about the organization, the mission statement, products, competition,
and executive team. Yes, it takes time; but if you are truly interested in
acquiring a position with a potential organization, it is definitely worth
your time to present yourself as an informed candidate.
Prioritize - Since job search can be equated to a full-time job, a candidate
needs to prioritize, especially if he is currently employed. This can be
challenging—to put yourself first when you have obligations to your job,
family, friends, and various other responsibilities of life. Aquaman comes
to mind here; one of his superpowers is that he can breathe underwater.
It may seem at times that you are barely keeping your head above water
when in the midst of a job search. Making priorities fit your needs is of
utmost importance. Schedule dedicated time each week/each day to
devote to your job search campaign—whether it is checking online job
boards, networking, sending out resumes, or researching companies.
Fill the oxygen tank and dive into the depths of organizing your plan and
These are just a few strategies to get you started. Remember that some
superheroes have partners to help them accomplish their super feats—
such as Batman and Robin or the Fantastic Four. Consider who your
partner might be to help you navigate through this career transition.
Passion - “Do something you love, and you will never work a day in your
Do you look at your passion as an asset or hobby? You can turn your
passion into a career. Of course you have to be realistic and look at all
the factors that contribute to success and failure when changing career
focus to a new job.
Research the viability of the industry or business you want to transition
into. Part of that research could be volunteering on a board of directors
to get an inside view of business challenges and successes, or joining
associations or social groups to network with others in the industry. You
can learn a lot by asking “informational interview” questions in the course
14 WIN Interviews
of conversations. Don’t forget social media, checking company/people
profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook. Groups and question sections in
these social networking sites also have valuable information for career
Money - Many people have grown accustomed to living on a high-salary
and bonus structure. They need to take a hard look at what type of
money/salary will be available for the first few years in a new position.
If moving to a lower-level job in another industry, the salary may be
significantly less the first few years.
What are you willing to do to make this dream job a reality? Are there
others in your family who need to be taken into consideration when
making this decision? You may have to downsize your lifestyle in order
to live on a smaller salary while the business builds and while you
build new skills and develop talents. Are you in a position to live off
savings or obtain a loan to manage finances while the business gets off
the ground? Will you need to work or consult on the side or find other
revenue streams to keep finances afloat?
One good resource for compensation analysis is PayScale.com, which
analyzed the thirty biggest industries to show how pay changes as you
gain experience. Take a look at the industries where you have the best
potential to make up for career change.
Skills and Talent - How do your current
skills and talents translate to the new
career? Leverage your strongest skills that
transfer across any business or industry.
You may need to return to school or pursue
certifications to update or build new skills.
Take advantage of opportunities your
current employer offers for professional
development. Updating skills can be
expensive if you are footing the entire cost
A few examples of job seekers who have
taken this next step: Chief financial officer
turned hobby of gourmet cooking into new
career as chef/restaurateur; cardiovascular
surgeon used medical background to become a medical malpractice
expert; marketing executive left corporate world to run statewide
nonprofit food share program.
These tips just tap the surface. Hopefully, they give you a window
into some challenges that need to be taken into consideration when
contemplating a career change. Today’s hypercompetitive market
Time for a career
transition? Think first of
the similarities between
your past work and
your intended career.
Transferrable skills are
one of the links that help
convince a potential
employer that you will
make a positive difference
in the new company,
industry or job category.
Chapter 2: Preparing for Job Search 15
is looking for job seekers who think out of the box and discover what
opportunities might be the next best move.
Like any other major life change, reevaluate career options. Don’t go
back to the same job for the wrong reason. It is not a life-sustaining
move, and often people find themselves unhappy and leave the job
Company Culture - The Internet has made easy work of finding
potential candidates through social networking sites like LinkedIn and
Facebook. Membership sites have thrived in the last ten years, providing
job seekers with job search information and recruiters with a database
of well-defined and targeted candidates. And are you aware that most
job seekers today are Googled before being contacted for a prescreen
or interview? How much time and effort do you put into checking out a
prospective company before applying to an organization or considering
accepting an offer on a potential position?
If you are a manager or executive, you already know that a large
percentage of success when hiring new employees is how well they fit
into the company culture. But how does a prospective employee learn
what he needs to know to determine if he is a good fit with any one
1. If the company is local, drive to their offices and do a little surveillance.
Observe the people going to work. Do they appear happy? Are
they conversing with fellow employees? What about at the end of
the day—is the parking lot still full at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.? Do you
notice people leaving the offices looking worn-out or frustrated? By
checking the people coming and going in the morning and leaving
work in the evening, you can gain some insights.
2. Teams and teamwork are important points when considering a
company culture. How does the organization get things done?
Are there several levels of hierarchy to get a decision made? Are
teams already in place? And if so, how would you fit with the other
team members? Would stepping into a position of leadership create
resentment with an existing team? If given an opportunity during
the interview stage, request a meeting with the team you would
be leading or part of to get a sense of the member dynamics and
3. Who do you know who knows the company you are considering as
your next employer? Tap into your network and ask questions from
people outside the organization to find out what they know. These
contacts could be customers or suppliers to the company or even
ex-employees. Their experiences will create different perspectives,
which can be helpful when looking at the potential company from all
16 WIN Interviews
4. It goes without saying that checking the company out on Google
is helpful as well. You can find if there are outstanding lawsuits,
disgruntled reviews from unhappy customers, bankruptcies, bad
and good information that can help you evaluate the company.
Learning some of these things early in the search can save you time
should you determine there is not a good fit.
You may have had a dream at one time in your life to work for Disneyland
or Coke, and that unfulfilled fantasy may still be lurking in the back of
your brain, pushing you towards an organization that may not be a good
match for you at this stage in your career. Yet, you continue to want to
pursue the company. Be realistic and diligent in your research to make
sure the critical factors that are important to you are present in that
organization. Of course, no one really knows the full effects of fitting into
a company until one actually starts a job, gets grounded, and gets to
know the people and processes.
Avoid disappointment in a new job by getting as much information as
you can to understand the company culture.
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 17
C h a p t e r
So what is your
brand? At its core,
your brand is your
of value that you
give to everyone
you meet, work for,
and with whom you
have any sort of
Deliver your “elevator speech” in a few minutes.
The listener—whether a recruiter, hiring manager,
or interviewer—will appreciate that you know
yourself well enough to articulate it succinctly.
Prepare several short branding statements
that relay critical information, such as your key
skills and a quick rundown of your most recent
Create Your Professional
By Telling Your Story
Think of Coca-Cola. Do you have a picture of a
can of Coca-Cola clearly in your mind? What do
you see? Red and white/silver aluminum can with
distinctive lettering. Now picture a glass of Coke,
just an ordinary glass with a dark-colored beverage
inside. It could be Coke, but it could also be Pepsi;
it could even be root beer. If the resume of Coca-
Cola just talked about a carbonated soft drink in
general terms and didn’t relay the unique taste,
the secret formula that creates the taste, the color
of the can, and distinctive script that identifies
the Coca-Cola brand, the general public would
murmur a collective sigh of “‘ho-hum.” There are
many carbonated soft drinks on the market today.
Why should they try Coca-Cola?
Hiring managers might feel the same way about
candidates if they are not strategically showcasing
their unique talents and skills in the resume. Job
Brand and Value to
are much more
isolated facts, use
storyline to explain
your career, and
individual stories to
18 WIN Interviews
seekers need to clearly communicate their professional brand—the
impressive things they have done and the unique person they are. A
successful resume has everything to do with branding. Understanding
a candidate’s personal brand is key to helping one get the job he or she
wants because it distinguishes him or her from others. A good branding
statement in a resume should include exclusive value, attributes, and
competitive advantage blended with a successful work history.
How do you create a branding statement?
By telling your story in a succinct way
that captures your value. Let’s go back to
Coca-Cola. Their brand has developed
from marketing a single product to multiple
products and, as important, the ethics and
standards that the business represents.
With your brand, companies and hiring
managers are buying the standards you
have set and consistently delivered. Paint
a picture in the mind of the reader with your success stories.
Three additional benefits to creating your brand by telling your story:
1. Leverage the information in an interview. These same stories can
carry a candidate through some of the most challenging interview
questions, because you already have the answers (or a portion
thereof) in your back pocket. You have a story to tell that can help
you present yourself as a solution to a company’s problem.
2. Social Media Profiles. Candidates can use a professional branding
statement as a basis for a social media profile. It should not be
exactly the same as in the resume, however, it can be the starting
point for the creation of a strong online profile.
3. Professional Bio. The foundation of a professional bio can be
seeded from the professional branding statement.
In developing your brand, consider answering these questions to help you
extrapolate additional key talents that bring value to a potential employer:
1. How do you handle coworker conflicts?
2. What goals have you put in place for your team in the past?
3. How do you delegate assignments?
4. How do you evaluate employees?
5. What do you look for in a cohesive team? Individual member value?
Define and communicate
personal brand around
the unique value you offer
your target employers –
driving strengths, personal
attributes, passions, and
other good-fit qualities.
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 19
1. How do you motivate others?
2. How do you mentor and train others?
1. How do you determine marketing strategies?
2. What marketing tools have you developed or used?
A good stand-alone brand statement is quite versatile. Creating a
professional brand will increase your market value.
Personal Brand YOU
Developing your brand will help you in all
stages of your job search. Do you have
a rock solid brand message that clearly
and concisely is achieving the results
you desire? Or have you just started your
career transition and haven’t created a
“public face” yet? Either way, the best time
to tighten up or create your personal brand
1. What do you have to offer? If you
don’t know your strengths, skills, and
talents and how to showcase them, how
do you expect others to get to know these
things about you? Sometimes we are too
close to see the whole picture. Career brand strategists can help
you extract what you don’t see and leverage your attributes in a
compelling manner and get attention.
2. Be your authentic self. Confidence comes from within as we all
know. When you are honest with yourself and present yourself to
others in an authentic way, you will be showing your courage and
confidence about who you are and what you can accomplish. This
can do more for you in an interview than you might think. People
notice the confidence that shows in your face and body language,
without you saying a word.
3. Unique value. What’s unique about you that sets you apart from
your competition? The question many hiring managers ask at
some point in the interview is, “All things being equal (education,
years of experience, etc.), why should I hire you over the other top
Tom Peters is still right,
after nearly two decades:
Brand You rules. Know
Thyself, and market your
skills in the context of
the current market. Be
prepared to seek contract
and/or part-time jobs, and
alter your resume/CV to
indicate your employment
20 WIN Interviews
candidates?” Consider the answer to that question as something
that should be included in your personal brand statement.
4. Adopt the right mind-set. Be aware of how people do business
today and what’s most important for hiring managers to know about
you. Even as few as five to ten years ago, personal branding was
different from today. Social media has had a huge impact on how job
seekers’ online presence affects their personal brand. Candidates
are being Google-searched, so LinkedIn profile, Facebook page,
and tweets are vital pieces of a personal brand. Watch out for the
digital dirt that could exist and ruin your reputation/brand.
5. Focus. With messages becoming shorter and shorter (like
140-character tweets), job seekers need to be able to laser in on
their achievements, milestones, and skills in a sound bite. A recent
study indicated that the first seventy-five to eighty characters are
what people really read. Likewise, a strong brand would include the
most significant part of the message up front.
These tips should help you create a clear brand message that you can
express in verbal or written communications during your job search. Now
that you are on your way to creating your brand, putting some of this
information into an elevator pitch of thirty to sixty seconds is important.
Ultimately, you want to be able to present
a message that is clear, targeted, and easy
for anyone to understand. There are five key
components of an effective self-marketing
profile or pitch. Create thirty- and sixty-
second sound bites. You can tailor them
depending on the situation—networking
meeting, answer to the “tell me about
yourself” question, etc.
1. Create a professional identity.
This point has been covered previously.
Incorporate who you are into this brief
message, a shortened version of your
unique value to a company.
2. Showcase three areas of expertise.
Highlight three areas of competency
that show your value and differentiate you
from the competition. Choose strengths that can easily be coupled
with proof of performance of how you have helped organizations make
money, save money, save time, maintain the business, or grow the
Hiring managers look for
three things: reasons to
hire (personal brand, target
skills, and achievement
stories); a match to their
open job requirements;
and your employers, titles,
and lengths of tenure, all in
only a six-second read. So
convey your brand, speak
to the job requirements,
and use visual elements
to emphasize only the key
information you want to
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 21
3. Use accomplishment-focused, metrics-driven examples to
support your strengths.
Just like the resume , the marketing profile must include proof of
success. Pair a strength with a specific example to illustrate that you
are accomplished at what you do. Quantify accomplishments using
numbers, percentages, and dollars whenever possible.
4. Discuss your background as it relates to the target function or
Draw on your past experiences from several positions to solidify
the scope of your skill set, show career progression, and build the
business case for your candidacy. Also include relevant education,
if applicable, such as a job-related or advanced academic degree,
industry certifications, advanced technological skills, or leadership
roles within a professional organization to showcase the diversity of
your experiences and to position yourself as a unique contributor.
Make the match between your experience and the skills needed for
a particular job function or industry.
Bring the conversation full circle by relating your qualifications back to
the needs of the employer or the needs of a particular industry. By doing
so, you prove relevancy and demonstrate why your skills are a good fit
for a certain type of position.
Online Reputation Management
When searching for a job, it’s very common
for employers nowadays to look at your
online profile. This information isn’t just
used to rule out candidates—finding a broad
online presence can also improve your
chances of getting the job by increasing
your “know, like, and trust” factor. What
a company finds about you online should
reassure them about your qualifications
and suitability as a prospective employee,
not raise red flags.
But it’s the negative information that can
hurt your chances of getting the job. A
recent survey found that 79 percent of hiring
managers in the United States researched
candidates online before making a hiring
decision. Another survey found that 70
percent of recruiters and hiring managers
It is impossible to
importance of continually
building your brand’s
Tomorrow’s hires may well
depend on how much high-
value, on-brand, relevant
material they find about
you online. If you don’t
have a solid presence on
three-plus social media
sites, like LinkedIn,
Facebook and Twitter,
you may be dropped from
consideration for the job.
22 WIN Interviews
eliminated candidates after they found negative information about
them from online sites like Facebook. More and more companies are
reviewing the Facebook profiles of job applicants, either as a first step in
the screening process (to narrow down the pool of applicants) or before
inviting a candidate to an interview.
Prospective employers will make judgments about you based on what
they find out about you online. You want to come across as committed,
competent, skilled, and of strong character and integrity. You can
manage the impression others have about you through your online
presence. However, it is essential that your online professional image is
also authentic and credible.
It is also important to note that if you aren’t managing your personal
brand online, it’s still being formed (but without your input). Your online
identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others
post about you—whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag, or a reply
to a public status update. When someone searches for your name on a
search engine like Google, the results that appear are a combination of
information you’ve posted and information published by others. You can
have more control of your online identity by taking a strategic, proactive
approach to managing your online presence.
What is online about you is more important than ever, and you must
be proactive in managing your online presence as it relates to the job
Assess Your Presence
The first step is to see what’s out there already. Monitoring your online
presence is easy if you know which tools to use. Many of these are free.
Start by Googling yourself. On the Google homepage (http://www.
google.com), type in your name.
Note: If you have a Google account (i.e., Gmail or YouTube), you will find
that you get different results if you are logged in to your Google account
when you conduct your search. Log out of Google before conducting
your search so you can see what others see when they Google your
If you have a common name, you will want to see what information is
broadly available through a simple name search, but then also narrow
it by your profession or geographic location. (For example: “Jane
Jobseeker Public Relations” or “Jane Jobseeker Omaha.”)
You will want to note how many search results are returned, but you will
primarily be looking at the first two to three pages of search results.
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 23
You should also set up Google Alerts for your name so that you can be
alerted when new information is posted online about you.
Use your name as the search query and determine what information you
want searched (Everything, News, Blogs, Video, Discussions, Book),
how often you want to receive e-mail alerts, how broad you want the
results to be (Everything, Only the best results), and where you want
the alerts sent.
24 WIN Interviews
Use quotation marks to make your search more specific. You will get a
preview of the search results in a box on the right-hand side of the page,
which will help you further refine your search query.
For example, using quotation marks results in these sample search
Removing the quotation marks makes it more likely that you will receive
results that are irrelevant.
You can modify these alerts at any time, so start with broad results and
you can refine them over time.
Me on the Web
Me on the Web is Google’s way of helping people manage their online
brands. Using Me on the Web, you can create a profile to put your best
foot forward, set up alerts to help you figure out when people are talking
about you, and attempt to remove negative items related to your online
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 25
Access Google’s Me on the Web here:
You will need to sign in to your Google account (or create one) to
access the tools.
Google recommends keeping your profile updated so people who are
searching for you will be able to find precisely the information you want
them to find.
To change your profile, click “Edit profile” in your dashboard.
Then just click an area to edit your profile.
One of the main features of Me on the Web is the ability to alert you when
something changes with the results that come up when you search your
name. Click “Set up search alerts for your data” under Me on the Web in
your Google Dashboard to create your alerts.
26 WIN Interviews
A new screen will pop up where you can choose what you want to be
alerted for. Typically, Google will alert you whenever the results for your
name or e-mail address change.
You can also set up custom alerts. For your job search, you can set up
alerts whenever a company you want to work for is mentioned. Just click
“Add alert” and add in as many custom alerts as you want.
Me on the Web helps inform you when you’re mentioned online with
Google Alerts and helps you choose what information is displayed to the
public with Google Profile.
You can also set up an application called IFTTT (If This Then That) to
send you an e-mail whenever you are mentioned on Twitter.
Sign up for a free account at http://ifttt.com/ and use recipe number
19739 (http://ifttt.com/recipes/19739). Replace “MyCompany” with
your name, and you will receive instant e-mail notifications every time
someone mentions your name on Twitter.
You can also use a free service like TOPSY to create alerts and monitor
your online presence.
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 27
You can also subscribe to online services to monitor and manage your
You can sign up for a free reputation snapshot. You will likely see some
of the same results as you’ve found through your earlier search efforts.
Reputation.com also offers additional (paid) services to help you monitor
and manage your online presence. For as little as $9.95/month, the
company’s MyReputation Discovery will search the “Deep Web” for
information about you:
You can also measure your social influence using a site like Klout.com
(http://klout.com/home). KLOUT creates a Klout Score that measures
your online influence (on a scale of 1 to 100).
Scrubbing Your Digital Dirt
Negative information about you online is referred to as “digital dirt.”
Like its physical counterpart, it can be messy and difficult to get rid of.
However, one effective strategy for managing your online reputation is
to “bury” your digital dirt.
28 WIN Interviews
Although your Google search results may have returned thousands (or
hundreds of thousands) of results, it’s what is in the first three to five
pages of results that is most important.
There are two steps to managing your online presence: (1) removal and/
or correction of incorrect or inappropriate information, and (2) posting
new content that will move the unfavorable information lower in your
One of the strongest ways to create positive online content is through
social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn often appear prominently
in Google search results.
Your Facebook Profile
Facebook is increasingly being used by job seekers—and employers—
in the job search. More than eighteen million Americans credit Facebook
as the source of how they found their current job. A 2011 Jobvite study
found that 84 percent of job seekers had profiles on Facebook.
Having a Facebook account will also give you access to Facebook-
related applications (apps), such as BeKnown, Glassdoor, and
BranchOut, which use your Facebook network to help you connect to
job opportunities. These tools allow you to leverage your network for
you to find job openings and insider connections into the companies you
want to work for.
It is very important to check out your privacy settings on Facebook.
Restricting the information you show to the public is important—but
don’t just set it and forget it. Facebook occasionally updates its privacy
settings, so you should review your settings regularly.
Learn more about Facebook privacy settings here:
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 29
Another key setting is Past Post Visibility.
When you click on the “Manage Past Post Visibility” link, it will open a
new box asking you to confirm that you want to change all of your past
status updates to “Friends Only” visibility. If you click “Limit Old Posts,” it
will automatically reset all your previous posts to a more private setting.
If you choose not to change the visibility of all your old posts, you can
change the visibility of individual posts by clicking on each post. (This
can be quite time-consuming if you have a lot of posts.)
30 WIN Interviews
Another important step is to see how the public views your profile. You
can check this with Facebook’s “View As . . .” option under “Edit Profile.”
Finally, be aware that when you comment on other people’s posts, the
information may be more public than you were aware.
Be sure to post content related to your profession or career on your
Facebook page—and make those posts public. Share content you
find in industry publications, traditional media, and blogs. Comment
thoughtfully on the content. Post inspirational quotes from business
leaders and relevant facts, figures, and infographics.
Keep in mind, however, the “golden rule” in posting any information
online: If you don’t want your mom (or grandmother or sister) to see it,
don’t post it. Anyone who has access to your private profile can take a
screenshot and post it publicly.
In addition, some employers are asking for access to Facebook
accounts. They ask the job seeker to log in to his account and then peek
over his shoulder as he scrolls through the account. In this instance, if
you change post settings to “Only Me,” those will still be visible if you
are logged in to your account, and the hiring manager will be able to see
them on your page. You are better off deleting controversial content—or
not posting it in the first place. As the old saying goes, “Sometimes the
best offense is a best defense.”
Requesting Removal of Online Information
If you find information online that you don’t want to be public, first,
determine who controls the content. For example, if the photo you want
to hide is on your Facebook profile, you can change the visibility settings
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 31
of that photo. If, however, the unwanted content resides on a website or
page you don’t control, you can request that it be removed.
Note: Google won’t remove the content for you. Google’s company
policy is that they will not change search results to cater to individual
people. (If, however, the site in question is publishing your confidential
personal information, Google will intervene. This includes your social
security or government ID number, bank account or credit card number,
an image of your handwritten signature, or your name if it is associated
with a porn site.)
To get an item removed, you need to first contact the website’s owner to
get them to change it. You want the information removed at the source
because if it isn’t removed from the original website, people will still
be able to see it, even if it doesn’t appear in Google’s search results.
And remember, removing content from Google’s search results doesn’t
remove it from other search engines (e.g., Bing, Yahoo).
After the webmaster has made the change, the negative result will still
show up in Google for some time until Google updates their index. Note:
If the content has not been removed from the website, the content will
reappear in Google’s search results when that site is indexed again in
If you’ve removed a negative item and need Google’s index to reflect
that immediately, you can go through Google’s removal procedures to
have that item taken out of the index. Here’s how.
Start by going to the removal request page:
Click “New removal request.”
Enter the URL you want removed.
32 WIN Interviews
Finally, select the reason you want it removed and hit the “Request”
button. Make sure you choose the right reason for your situation.
Populating Your Online Presence
You can distinguish yourself online by using your middle name or middle
initial online (and then be sure to use the same name on your career
Own Your Name (Vanity URL)
One of the best things you can do is register your name as a domain
name, also known as a vanity URL. You should also claim your name on
social media accounts. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and
LinkedIn offer vanity URLs, where your username is in the URL. You can
then create a simple website or blog, which provides links to all of your
online accounts—especially the ones you want to direct a prospective
employer to review. If you use your real name as your handle on social
network sites, you will rank higher in Google search results.
Claim Your Profile (Or Remove Your Profile)
There are numerous “people search” sites that take publicly available
information and aggregate it online. You have two choices with these
sites—beat ’em or join ’em. You can either ask to have your information
removed from the site, or you can claim your profile and create an
account (usually free) to ensure the information listed is accurate.
Here are some of the most popular free “people search” sites:
Chapter 3: Define Professional Brand and Value to Employers 33
“People search” sites make money by selling your personal information
online, which means they don’t like to remove that information. You can
often find instructions for submitting your request for removal on the
website (sometimes it’s hidden under “Privacy” or “Terms of Service”
at the bottom of the website), but they may make you jump through
hoops to do so, requiring you to fax a request or send a copy of your
Requesting removal once also won’t guarantee that the information
won’t reappear in the future. Because many of these companies acquire
their data from a variety of public sources, it’s likely that your name will
reappear when they re-index their database.
Other Ways to Create Content
Postings on blogs and news sites often appear in search results. Writing
constructive comments can be a good way to create new content for
Google to associate with your name.
An extremely powerful way to create new content for your Google
search results is by blogging. A personal or business blog—if you are
committed to it—can provide a solid online presence. If you don’t like to
write, you can shoot videos and publish it on your blog.
Posting content on these sites will also show up prominently in search
Reviews you post on Amazon.com will also show up in your Google
Also, while we’re at it, ensure that your LinkedIn profile aligns with your
resume. Many recruiting managers and hiring managers compare the
34 WIN Interviews
Reputation Management is Not a One-Time Thing
Social recruiting isn’t going away. A 2011 Jobvite Social Recruiting
Survey found that 89 percent of employers surveyed said they would
recruit using social media in 2012, and nearly 55 percent of those
surveyed said they are increasing their budgets for social recruiting.
With the increasing emphasis on social recruiting, online reputation
management is even more critical.
Some of the steps involved in online reputation management can be
done quickly, but the Internet has a long memory, so be aware that it will
take time for your new content to begin replacing old content, and even
more time for your old information to disappear from your search results.
Most important, the need for ongoing online reputation management is
vital. Continue to monitor your online presence, even when you’re not in
active job search mode.
Chapter 4: Career Marketing Documents: The Tools That Open Doors 35
C h a p t e r
What Hiring Managers
and Recruiters Look for in
Resumes and Cover Letters
There has also been a lot of spin about how long
or short a resume should be. From my perspective
as a recruiter, a resume should be as long as
necessary. For example, a candidate with five
years of experience should not require a three-
page resume. Or a candidate with eighteen years
of experience should not be reduced to a one-
page resume. Length of resume depends entirely
on each individual situation. There is no formula or
rule etched in stone. If a recruiter is working with
a PhD candidate, then a resume may be three,
four, or five pages or even longer. So be it. If it’s
relevant, promote it. If you’re pontificating, don’t.
—Tim Dermady, President,
If you’ve been fretting over age-old questions such
as resume length and other issues related to what
hiring professionals actually look for in resumes
and cover letters, then wonder no more. A survey
of more than 2,500 randomly selected members
of the Society for Human Resource Management
as well as Fortune 500 companies known for
favorable work environments responded to
pertinent questions that affect job seekers.
These companies represented a cross section
of diverse industries and ranged from fewer than
Documents: The Tools
That Open Doors
36 WIN Interviews
one hundred employees (29%) to more than five thousand employees
(4%) in the following categories: business and professional services
(23%); manufacturing (20%); finance, insurance, and real estate (13%);
nonprofit (9%); and health services (6%). Below are responses that will
help you shape more effective resumes and letters.
How long should a resume be?
One page . . . 20%
Two pages . . . 30%
Depends on the level of the position . . . 60%
No preference . . . 0%
Which resume format or style do you prefer?
Traditional (reverse chronological) . . . 40%
Functional (skills based) . . . 10%
Some combination of the above . . . 50%
No preference . . . 0%
How do you prefer to receive resumes?
By mail . . . 10%
By attachment as a Microsoft Word document to an e-mail . . . 60%
By text in the body of an e-mail . . . 20%
By fax . . . 10%
No preference . . . 20%
Do you want a cover letter?
Not necessarily . . . 20%
Personalized cover letters only . . . 60%
Form letters are acceptable . . . 20%
No preference . . .10%
Zero to five years . . . 30%
Six to ten years . . . 40%
Eleven to twenty years . . . 10%
More than twenty years . . . 20%
Should applicants explain gaps in employment or job-hopping?
Valid explanations of employment gaps or job-hopping are welcome . . . 74%
Don’t trust explanations of employment gaps . . . 22%
Unsure . . . 4%
What single item is most valuable in a resume?
Verifiable accomplishments . . . 88%
There is no single item that is most valuable . . . 12%
Does proofing and format count?
Managers who remove an application if they find typos or grammatical
errors . . . 76%
Managers who prefer reverse chronological resumes . . . 75%
Managers who prefer white or off-white¬–colored paper . . . 83%
Chapter 4: Career Marketing Documents: The Tools That Open Doors 37
How long does your organization keep resumes on file?
Zero to one month . . . 0%
One to three months . . . 0%
Three to six months . . . 30%
More than six months . . . 70%
Does your organization use a scanning or database system to
Yes . . . 50%
No . . . 50%
What do you wish job seekers to do that they do not seem to be
doing now? Typical comments included:
“Send a cover letter telling me what they really want to do and follow up.
Call me if they take another position and are no longer available.”
“I would like them all to be really definite about what they do and don’t want
to do in their job/career. Don’t be wishy-washy! New grads are the worst
offenders in this respect. If you want to start at the bottom and eventually
work your way up in sales, marketing, finance, IT, or any field, say so!”
“Research the company—know something about a company’s type of
“Send detailed resumes, with dates and current information.”
The Fundamentals of a Winning Resume
The right resume is the catalyst for a successful job search, one that
culminates in ultimate career satisfaction. It should showcase your
talents and skills and translate your qualifications into marketable resume
content. Your resume is not working for you if you are not getting called
for interviews about great job opportunities that match your career goals.
A good resume is not an option; you have
too much riding on its success to grab the
Design and Format
The design and format of your resume
needs to convey a professional look and
feel. Good design does more than create
a pretty page; it creates a positive first
impression (before anyone reads one word), guides readers through the
document, and draws attention to the most important information. The
font should be a reasonable size, never smaller than 10 point or larger
than 12 point in the general text. Variation in type size (e.g., larger font
point for headings) is okay, and other variations are helpful to emphasize
profiles, and other career
the information executive
recruiters and hiring
decision makers need to
38 WIN Interviews
points for the quick skim resumes receive. Boldface type emphasizes
titles and key strengths. There should be plenty of white space between
bulleted statements and sections.
There are three types of resume styles commonly used. The overall tone
and style need to match your personality, your industry, and your culture.
Chronological/Traditional – Traditional-style resumes have been around
a long time. Typically, this style of resume starts with Contact Information,
then Experience, Education, and miscellaneous other sections such as
Honors and Awards, Publications, Associations, Community Activities, etc.
In the Experience section, the listings are presented in reverse chronological
order and show company, position title, dates worked, a summary of
responsibilities, and then a bulleted area that highlights accomplishments.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 555 Washington Avenue City, State zip code
Regional Sales Manager
Delivering consistent and sustainable revenue gains, profit growth and market-share increases through strategic sales
regional leadership. Valued offered:
Driver of innovative programs that provide a competitive edge and establish company as a full-service market leader.
Proactive, creative problem solver who develops solutions that save time, cut costs and ensure consistent product quality.
Empowering leader who recruits, develops, coaches, motivates and inspires sales teams to top performance.
Innovative in developing and implementing win-win solutions to maximize account expansion, retention and satisfaction.
Selected Career Achievements
COMPANY City, State 2000 to 2010
Impact: Reinvigorated the regional sales organization, growing sales from $18.5M to $45M, doubling account base to
482 and increasing market share 15%. Built, coached and managed sales team of 10 recognized as the top-performing team
nationwide. Established new performance benchmark and trained sales force on implementing sales-building customer inventory
Revitalized and restored profitability of 2 underperforming territories by coaching and developing territory reps.
Penetrated 2 new markets and secured a lucrative market niche in abrasive products. Staffed, opened and managed the 2
branch locations in New Jersey—one of which alone produced $12M+ over 3 years.
Initiated and advanced the skills of sales force to effectively promote and sell increasingly technical product lines in
response to changing market demands.
Increased profit margins and dollar volume through product mix diversification and expansion. Created product
catalogs and marketing literature.
Ensured that the company maintained its competitive edge in the marketplace by initiating value-add programs to meet
Led highly profitable product introduction with a 40% profit margin that produced $100K annually in new business.
COMPANY City, State 1990 to 2000
Impact: Turned around stagnant sales territory and customer perception by cultivating exceptional relationships
through solutions-based selling and delivering value-added service. Recognized as a peak performer company-wide who
consistently ranked #1 in sales and #1 in profits.
Positioned and established company as a full-service supplier to drive sales revenues by translating customer needs to
More than doubled territory sales from $700K to $11.5M during tenure and grew account base from 80 to 125 through
new market penetration. Landed and managed 3 of company’s 6 largest accounts and grew remaining 3.
Captured a lucrative account and drove annual sales from $100K in the first year to $5M in 3 years—outperforming
the competition without any price-cutting.
Mentored new and existing territory reps on customer relationship management, solutions-selling strategies, advanced
product knowledge and customer programs.
B.S. in Business Management—University, City, State
Chapter 4: Career Marketing Documents: The Tools That Open Doors 39
Functional – This style of resume showcases accomplishments and
qualifications differently than a traditional resume. This type of resume
is best used for career changers, consultants, and interim executives.
We would not recommend using this style of resume for a traditional job
search as, generally, recruiters don’t like this style of resume as well as
the traditional and multinational styles.
Office (616) 782-3363 | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jameslang | Email: email@example.com
Consultant Interim Executive
Operations / Finance / Risk / Change Leadership
Change leader known for integrity/honesty and right hand/advisor to senior management. Qualified by operations, finance, risk
management, and human capital/team dynamics expertise developed over 25 years, particularly in the alternative asset class. Vast
international business experience working in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Turnkey operations and financial leadership that saves time and money for startups. Provide cost-efficient administrative,
operational and financial services, enabling management to focus on product and market development. Guide succession planning
as well as sourcing and vetting of high caliber executive candidates as the enterprise grows.
Deep-dive, on-site operational reviews on behalf of institutional investors and fund managers. Orchestrate uncommonly thorough
due diligence of all risk, operations and human capital areas with recommendations for improvement and reinvestment. Diagnose
and implement solutions to issues that would prevent further funding for growing companies and alternative asset management
Wind-down management. Enable PE and VC firms to discharge their responsibilities to limited partners while maintaining optimal
cash flow throughout the wind-down and liquidation process by consolidating and outsourcing mid- and back-office services,
ensuring seamless and transparent support while substantially reducing costs.
Architected and implemented operations for an international VC fund. Successful in creating a lean global investment
framework on 5 continents on an aggressive timeline.
Established scale-able operations and finance infrastructure/systems that supported unfettered growth for an early stage, VC-
backed energy startup. Crafted grant proposals that won 38% of total funding for the company.
Turned around a struggling eCommerce start up, rebuilt senior management team, and negotiated cash sale of company in the
midst of dotcom crash.
Turned around a graduate school from near financial demise to $2.9M operating surplus in 15 months.
Kept share price of an investment banking firm from falling dangerously, retaining buy-hold recommendations from analysts
during a financial and PR crisis.
Chief Operating Partner * GMA Capital (well-established VC fund manager), Seattle, WA 2005-2013
COO / CFO * Manning Company (global financial services firm), Seattle, WA 2002-2006
CFO / Investing Partner * Western Financial (VC Fund), Bellevue, WA 2000-2002
CFO * Sanford Media, Inc. * (VC-backed internet startup), Bellevue, WA 1999-2000
EVP / CFO * Washington Power Corp (VC-backed energy startup), Seattle, WA 1997-1999
Turnaround Consultant * Washington Institute of Integral Studies (university), Seattle, WA 1996-1997
Vice President * Bankers Fund, New York, NY 1989-1996
Assistant Vive President * Charles Schwab, New York, NY 1987-1989
Manager * Deloitte Touche, Dallas, TX; Dublin, IRE; New York, NY 1982-1987
Graduate Studies, Finance and Business Administration – Notre Dame, North Bend, IN 1995-1996
Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting Finance – Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 1981
Leveraging successful background in C-level management, banking, and “Big 4” consulting to:
Develop and execute strategy … Originate fresh ideas and novel solutions grounded in practicality…
Pinpoint and eliminate barriers to success and funding … Prevent wasted time and money … Expertly navigate crises
For startup, turnaround, and established VC and PE-backed companies, alternative fund managers and instructional investors.
40 WIN Interviews
Combination/Multinational – This style combines some of the features
of a chronological and functional resume. The summary, or profile area,
is prominent and captures the reader’s attention in the first ten seconds
with career highlights. If you will be competing with other job seekers
who are using this more assertive multinational style, you may want to
use this style.
565 Spicer Street (555) 503-9768
Austin, TX 78750 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER • CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Change agent driving unprecedented industry-leading revenue and market share results for
technology products and services in the U.S. and internationally through astute PL management, incisive problem
solving, innovative marketing and product development, and adept people/team leadership.
Career history of revitalizing failing business units, resolving
critical business challenges, and delivering breakthrough results in
executive marketing, sales and divisional roles for a $2 billion global
technology leader. Built and lead a highly respected, 120-member team
that innovated several industry firsts frequently adopted by competitors.
Consummate leader and coach known for finding and developing
exceptional talent and creating motivating work environments where
people grow and thrive. Top-rated in company for succession planning –
hired and mentored 8 of the organization's top 10 performers.
Persuasive negotiator who secured benchmark partnership agreements
with industry leaders such as Apple, Inc., Google and Cisco Systems.
Strategic Planning Execution
PL Performance Improvement
Global Brand Marketing Management
Sales Marketing Management
Talent Acquisition, Development Management
Strategic Product Development
Corporate Restructuring Reengineering
International Distributor Development
Vendor Agency Management
AUSTIN TECH SYSTEMS, Austin, TX – 1996 to Present
Global leader in the manufacture of sophisticated printing technology and delivery of digital and service solutions for the Print
Media industry. Headquartered in Germany with production and development sites in 7 countries and 275 sales and service
units in 150+ countries; 18,000 employees; $2.5 billion/year in revenues.
Snapshot: Promoted rapidly to senior marketing executive for the U.S. headquarters and a $550 million
division of products, services and consumables. Distinguished record of delivering pivotal business-building
results while leading organization through successful restructurings, acquisitions, divisional start-ups and
growth strategies. Hold multiple concurrent roles: CME, SVP-Product Management, SVP-Consumable Sales.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT / CHIEF MARKETING EXECUTIVE (2007 to Present)
SCOPE: Executive Board member since 2004. Direct global marketing (advertising, creative services, PR, CRM, e-commerce,
social media, events, internal communications) and product lifecycle management (PL for 8 product lines, 400 products).
Lead 125-person team through 5 VPs, 10 directors, 5 sales managers and 8 department managers in U.S., Canada and
Mexico. Negotiate agreements and manage vendor/agency relations with Evans Group Americas, and other strategic
IMPACT: Returned company to market dominance after recessions in 2004 and 2010 and built a marketing and
product management organization recognized as the preeminent industry leader.
Reorganized field sales and service organization and North America headquarters. Delivered $55 million in cost savings
and improved morale despite 30% headcount reduction. Market share exceeded 50%.
Outperformed all competitors in social media results, including integrated online/print with QR-code advertising
programs, YouTube channels, Facebook subscribers, SEO, Twitter accounts and followers.
Invented the “Magalog,” a combination magazine and product catalog which effectively decreased direct mail
expenditures 85% while increasing participation levels to over 35,000 subscribers.
Delivered 35% reduction in overall advertising, marketing and trade show event costs without negative impact and
reduced expenditures by more than $12 million. New PR strategy yielded annual audience reach/impressions of 33
million, 500+ articles, and the industry’s highest favorability rating at 66%+.
Led team that set the industry standard for ROI tools utilization to create quantifiable success metrics for advertising,
PR, event-based programs, and internet search and advertising activities.
Chapter 4: Career Marketing Documents: The Tools That Open Doors 41
JOHN JONES Page 2
SENIOR V.P., PRODUCT MANAGEMENT (2009 to Present)
SCOPE: PL and strategic leadership for the industry’s largest and most successful product portfolios consisting of hardware,
software and consumables with 35% to over 67% market share. Oversee the industry’s largest Customer Experience Center
(NAPPTC), a 55,000 sq. ft. facility offering 2,500 customer demos per year, as well as product training and testing, where
success ratio of demo-to-close exceeds 73%.
IMPACT: Restructured the product management organization, driving tactics and partnerships that solidified
company's reputation as the technology-dominant market leader in hardware, software consumables and
services. Launched 28 hardware, software and service products; opened industry’s largest demonstration facility.
RESULTS: Reduced time-to-market of new product launches 32%+. Six products received the InterTECH Technology Award,
the industry's most prestigious honor for major industry impact. Led team to create the industry’s largest and most successful
customer events – Packaging Event, PMDC Launch Event, and historic launches of the XYM and CMC products.
SENIOR V.P. – CONSUMABLE SALES / DIVISION MANAGER (2002 to Present)
SCOPE: Pioneered Consumables business line from inception to a $45 million per year division. Created sales organization,
opened a national call-center, developed an online store, and implemented a nationwide logistics/delivery network. Managed
PL, overall operations, product development and testing, logistics and vendor relationships for the highly profitable division.
IMPACT: Strategically grew consumables/supplies revenue and margins making Austin Tech Systems more
than just an equipment supplier for the first time in its history.
RESULTS: Web Store performance surpassed $165 million in sales, 125,000 orders, and over 48,000 customers. National Call
Center has generated over $165 million in product, accessories and service sales since 2004.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING (2005 to 2007)
VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING (2002 to 2005)
Completely reorganized a fragmented Marketing department, renegotiated long-term vendor agreements, developed an in-
house Creative Services department, and established formal budgets and procedures.
IMPACT: Elevated company's image, brand reputation and recognition as the industry's leading solution
supplier while improving marketing cost structure and efficiency.
RESULTS: Reduced staff 37% while improving efficiency 77% to deliver $15 million savings over 5 years. Trade Show
department managed 75+ events annually with budgets ranging from $1.5 million to $24 million, including the single largest
trade show booth ever constructed in the US. In-house Creative Services department saved over $1.65 million per year.
CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT DIRECT MARKETING SALES (1999 to 2002)
IMPACT: Established both a National Development Sales Organization and company's first direct marketing call
center. Designed a complete sales training program and recruited 16 sales reps and 5 sales managers.
RESULTS: Successfully placed 100% of first recruitment class into field sales positions. Call center generated over 3,200 leads
annually resulting in $50 million in equipment sales.
DIVISIONAL V.P. INTERNATIONAL SALES, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT – PUBLISHING SERVICES (1996 to 1999)
IMPACT: Redesigned U.S. sales, technical support and marketing organization into an efficient global sales and
distribution company. Opened 190 distributors in 90+ countries. Negotiated 3 strategic vendor relationships and led vital
patent rights purchase.
RESULTS: International sales grew from $7 million to $15 million in 3 years making company the global leader in its space.
New software sales increased 53%+ in 2 years. Decreased time-to-market 40% to fewer than 16 months.
PRIOR (1991 to 1996): Progressive sales and marketing experience with Johnson Linotype (acquired by Austin Tech).
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, International Law University of Texas at Austin
Business Administration and Marketing Georgetown University
International Executive Development Program Austin Tech
Board member of numerous leading industry associations and frequent invited speaker (see addendum)
42 WIN Interviews
JOHN JONES Page 3
Industry Leadership / Board Memberships:
Chair, Board of Directors: Smith University Majors Institute of Packaging Graphic Design (2010–Present)
Advisory Board Member: Cal Poly University (2006–Present)
Chair, Supplier Advisory Board: Printing Industries of America (2009–Present)
Executive Board Member: Printing Industries of America (2008–Present)
Executive Board Member: Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (2006–Present)
Treasurer: Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (2008–2009)
Board Member/Treasurer: Graphic Arts Show Company (2008–2009)
Board Member: Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (2005–2006)
Keynote: The Call, Click, Print -- Marketing Concepts – International Print Week – San Jose University (2010, 2011)
Guest Lecturer: Integrated Marketing Strategies –MBA School of Business, University of Austin (2010)
Guest Lecturer: International Brand Management – MBA School of Business, Stanislaw University (2008, 2009)
Keynote: The Business of Marketing to Millennials – Mexico Bureau of International Tourism and Trade (2008)
Keynote Panel: Value of Print in the New Marketing Mix – Chicago Print Production Association (2005)
Executive Instructor: Executive Time Management - Franklin Covey (1996 – 2009)
Clemson University Award – Corporate Appreciation Award (2011)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2010)
Clemson University Award – Corporate Appreciation Award (2009)
Induction into the Soderstrom Society (2009)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2009)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2008)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2007)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2005)
PREMIER Print Award – “ Speedmaster Book” (2006)
PREMIER Print Award – “ Passion For Print” (2005)
Printing Industries of America’s – InterTECH Technology Award (2005)
CINE Golden Eagle – “Extraordinary Performance in Video and Filmmaking” (2004)
TELLY Award – “Premier Performance in Video and Filmmaking” (2003)
Profile/Summary – Consider a headline
that tells readers instantly who you are.
For instance: “VICE PRESIDENT: Sales
and Marketing.” The summary should
clearly communicate who you are and
what you have accomplished in your
career. It helps to clearly set you in the
of you in that context as they read the rest
of the resume. This area is a good place
to showcase the keywords that relate to
The profile section is a valuable
tool for you. It helps you tell a
perspective employer exactly
who you are professionally
and how you fit into their
organization. When you have
a strong profile section on
your resume, an employer can
immediately start to visualize
you working for the company.
Chapter 4: Career Marketing Documents: The Tools That Open Doors 43
your expertise and industry. Languages, degrees, or certifications may be
mentioned here as well. Details should remain in appropriate sections.
Experience – Highlight the last twelve to
fifteen years in the Experience area of the
resume. Whenever possible, include “context”
information to help readers understand
your value. A rich context lets readers better
understand and absorb what you did.
• What was going on at each company
when you took the job?
• Why were you hired or promoted?
• What goals were you given?
• What challenges did you face?
• What obstacles did you encounter?
After a brief summary of job scope and duties, a bulleted section should
follow that highlights your achievements. Do not mingle job scope/duties
with accomplishments. This is confusing to the reader and diminishes the
impact of your accomplishments. These bullets are the most important part
of the resume because they contain your specific and unique achievements.
The content in a bullet should show result, action, and challenge if possible.
Front loading the bullet with the result will help the reader grab the essence
of the bullet at a glance. How you achieved the result is important as well
and can be stated after the result because, ultimately, the reader will want
to know how you did it. Of course, the challenge is a contributing factor to
the whole picture because, in itself, the challenge can be overwhelming
circumstances that give more weight to the results.
This section should include your college degrees, certifications, licenses,
or anything that contributes to your ongoing professional development.
Professional and Community Activities – List your roles in leadership, on
committees, or general contributions to the organizations.
Honors and Awards – List professional recognitions you received
that include honors, awards, and recognitions. A few of these can be
highlighted in the career profile area and details stated in this section.
Technology Qualifications – In most resumes today, a brief listing of
technology expertise is listed in the career profile; however, if your
industry is technology, there may need to be a lengthier section to list
additional technology knowledge.
If possible, visually
separate and emphasize
contribution you’ve made
to your organization
for each job. That way,
recruiters can see at a
glance the standout value
you bring to the table.