Elite Resumes has been providing successful executive resume writing and job search coaching since 1993. Martin Buckland, Principal of Elite Resumes, is one of North America’s leading authorities on highly effective executive resume writing, high impact cover letters, successful job-search strategies, executive coaching, personal branding, interview tutoring and social media career strategies.
Every year I am privileged to work with the most amazing client who is actively engaged in managing his career and online reputation. Who might that be? Well it’s the Ho Ho Ho jingler himself, Santa!
With only weeks to go before executing his most demanding annual project, Santa always performs an annual review of his resume. This year, we updated Santa’s executive resume to include his engagement on social media. Santa might be a jolly old fella, but he’s learned to stay current and interact with the Millennial and Gen Z generations on both Twitter and Facebook.
Santa is an ideal executive role model who has never lost touch with his audience, young and old, continually reinventing himself to sustain his brand reputation.
Is your resume current or is it time to rejuvenate your resume and reap the rewards in 2018? Submit your resume for a free resume critique from Martin Buckland, one of Canada’s leading executive career management professionals.
The more experienced executive doesn’t ask me why they need a professional resume, they understand that it’s worth hiring an expert to get the best product. I am, however, asked why my process takes about 2 weeks and what makes my services worth the extra time and effort.
Anyone can take your old resume, add new information, and give you back a neat, professional, and ATS-friendly resume. Just as someone taking a quick swim-over tour of a Caribbean reef might see the brightest-coloured fish and the biggest coral formations. What I do is akin to a deep, leisurely scuba dive, exploring all the nooks and crannies of the reef that is your career. By the time we’re done, you’ll know who you are, what you’re seeking, why you’re the best candidate, and you’ll have an exciting, seductive resume that makes hiring influencers want to find out even more about you.
An Elite Resume:
Free critique. Many clients begin by using the offer of a free resume critique. I read over your current resume and give you feedback in a phone call on where it falls short or what else hiring influencers are seeking.
If you decide you are interested in Executive Coaching and a Professional Resume, we come to an agreement on terms before we begin.
You’ll have to do the front-end work. This is where you map out your career, your goals, your skills, and your experience. More than a list of jobs, I’ll ask you common behavioural interview questions as well, such as “What one word describes you best?” and “What is your leadership style?”, and many more. This is your home turf, your coral reef with a myriad of fish and creatures to explore, and all kinds of rocks and caves to investigate. I’ve been known to return the homework and ask for more detail, so don’t be surprised!
Once you’ve giving me the background map of your career journey, I interview you in depth. This is where you take me on that scuba tour. We take the dive together to explore your career and your future, to create the resume that will delight the right hiring influencers and make them eager to interview.
I write the first draft and submit it to you. You have the chance to give feedback, ask questions, and react.
Then we begin the process of editing and rewrites until you’re happy and comfortable with the results. Your resume is more than a list of skills and jobs that must be readable to ATS software. It’s your career marketing, representing you before you can be present and interviewed. It sells you and represents you.
I’m always available for a quick question or concern. It’s important to me to retain my clients, some have been with me for over 20 years! So, my door is never closed simply because your resume was finished weeks or even years ago. And if you find you have more extensive questions or are looking for more intensive career coaching? I’m happy to set up a coaching package built around you.
Almost all major companies use an ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, in their hiring process these days. Recruiters do, too! So, learning how keywords can unlock the ATS and make it work for you can be crucial to landing your dream job.
An ATS is simply a software that pulls keywords out of a resume and evaluates the match between the desired characteristics for an open position and that resume. It makes searching thousands of resumes very fast and easy for hiring influencers. Despite having many different ATS programs on the market, they all do the same thing.
Here’s how you can increase your chances of being a great match for the job you want:
ALL the skills. List all the skills you want to use on your resume. Don’t list your expertise in Java if you’d rather work in Ruby or Python.
Duplicate. If you list a keyword in your skills section, then again in your job history, then again in your summary, the ATS will see that keyword as more important than others which are used just once.
Relevance. ATS technology has the ability to determine how relevant a term is to the position by analyzing keywords in relation to the words around them. If the keyword “Java” appears in a sentence about your first job in a coffee shop, it’s not going to rate as highly relevant to a software engineer position. If “Java” is surrounded by technical keywords (Ruby, Python, system programming, dev programming), it will rate as highly relevant.
Required vs. desired. Check the job posting. Make sure you customize your resume to match all the requirements and many of the desired traits. Stay honest, but lean in to marketing yourself as the most perfect candidate for this job. Also consider your own preferences. Make sure you emphasize keywords for tasks you want to do, and remove or lower emphasis on what you have no desire to do.
Pursuit is relevant to requirements. If you are pursuing the required degree, say so. If you are studying for the certification test, say so. Don’t leave this information out! Having those keywords on your resume can be the difference between your resume being a “maybe” and being tossed on the “NO” pile!
Warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to my clients, colleagues, and friends in the U.S.!
This is the perfect time of year for a simple reminder that giving thanks isn’t just for holidays full of family, friends, and comfort food! It’s important to convey gratitude for those opportunities and favours offered to us by hiring influencers and network contacts throughout our careers.
Here are a couple of frequently asked questions I get from clients about the classic thank-you note:
When should I write a thank-you note?
When someone has chosen to give you an opportunity or done something for you that you couldn’t have done for yourself: Suggesting you as a candidate for an open position, interviewing you, referring you to hiring influencers, writing a reference, or introducing you to a key hiring influencer or employer are a few that come to mind.
Can I write an email instead of a paper note?
Yes, most of the time a thank-you email is sufficient. However, at the Board level and for very meaningful favours, I would advise the more formal handwritten note. It shows appreciation for both the significance and the effort involved.
How soon do I send a thank-you note?
Right after the interview, opportunity, or good deed is done. When you’re in the midst of a job search, consider having a draft thank-you note on your phone or computer. Plug in the details to make it personal, copy-and-paste into your email, send, then save the draft without the changes. A software engineer I know does this and sends the thank-you emails as soon as he gets to his car after each interview. He never worries about forgetting to send them!
Do I send a thank-you note to my recruiter?
When you are hired, yes. The best thank-you for a recruiter is when you become a solid network contact who adds value to the relationship by offering information about open positions, industry news, and referring good candidates to them.
When should I send thank-you notes outside of a job search?
An email or paper thank-you is a great acknowledgement of an effort made on your behalf: A mentor helping you bridge a skills gap, a colleague who tells you about an opportunity for promotion, a leader who helps you grow professionally, are a few examples.
Managing your Career - Martin Buckland Executive Career Management - YouTube
Many people I meet aren’t familiar with the term ‘career management’ and the ones that are familiar, often don’t appreciate its importance or relevance. The best example I can give is to compare career management to financial management. Excellent financial management greatly increases the odds of attaining your financial goals. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to apply the same logic, diligence, and attention to detail when it comes to managing your career and your potential for increased earnings?
Here are some of my tips to help you manage your career. First and foremost, be visible. Be visible to decision makers through networking in-person and online even when you’re gainfully employed. Don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile while you’re employed as it will continue to be a resource for new opportunities down the road.
Have you thought about your personal brand or the value you can bring a potential employer? Like it or not you’re constantly being assessed for your personal brand, both in your business and your daily life. Make the effort to be aware of what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Last but definitely not least, have a resume that is frequently updated, telling a compelling story about what a great solution you are a to a future employer. Managing your own career can be arduous and time-consuming. Putting in the extra effort can bring significant rewards and lead to your next opportunity.
When you attend a job interview, it’s not just your words that are speaking for you. Your body language is adding a great deal to the conversation, too! What can you do to make sure your nonverbal interview is as great as your verbal interview? Here are 10 tips for showing your expertise, skill, and confidence with your body language as well as with your words!
Prepare. Practice these tips so they feel natural. Role-playing, or even just putting them into practice while going out for coffee, makes this body language feel like your own. This is important to making it look natural. There’s NOTHING natural about constantly double-checking where you are placing your hands, or having to adjust your posture.
It starts early. Before you leave for the interview, make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to get there, so you don’t need to rush. Then, once you arrive, put on your confidence as you step off the train or get out of your car! You never know who is watching and taking note.
Sit with style. Sit straight up, shoulders back, and try to sit in profile to the receptionist or secretary where you are waiting. This makes you look alert and ready, and allows the employee to observe you without discomfort. Make sure you don’t pull your arms or shoulders toward the centre of your body, which is a defensive posture that broadcasts nervousness. An open frame (shoulders back and hands in your lap or holding reading material) shows patience and confidence. Beware of “manspreading”, the habit of sitting with knees spread wide and/or throwing an arm over the back of the neighbouring chair. You don’t need to aggressively claim extra space to look coolly confident. No tapping of fingers or feet, please, this can look impatient and nervous.
Lose the phone. Yes, we all carry our phones and tablets with us, but this is not the time to be sitting head down, hunched over a little screen. A hard habit to break, pulling out your phone may cause you to lose track of your body language and slump over the screen as you usually would. Review a paper copy of your resume, any information about your prospective employer the gatekeeper employee may provide, instead. If you must check your phone, make sure your posture stays upright, your shoulders are back, and that you raise the device or reading material rather than bending your body over it.
Have a great handshake ready. Practice the perfect handshake and smile with a friend or family member. Practice introducing yourself or acknowledging an introduction while you shake hands to make it look smooth and effortless. You’ll use that handshake throughout your working life, so it’s a wise investment in time and energy. Return the favour and help your friends practice theirs when they enter the job market again.
Follow the leader. When you follow your interviewer to the room or area where the interview is held, walk with good posture and mimic the pace of the hiring influencer so you keep up, but don’t run into them if they slow or stop to show you something.
Set up for success. Once you reach the interview environment, you may place a slim portfolio, envelope, or resume on the table or desk; but a briefcase or purse should go on the floor. Your coat may be draped over the chair next to you, or folded and placed over the bag on the floor. Greet any other interviewers with your handshake (5) and sit in the chair with style (3).
Gesture gently. While being interviewed, it’s fine to put your hands in your lap, or gesture gently, keeping hands between the table-top and your collarbone. You want your gestures seen, but keep them subdued. Even if you’re describing a chaotic work experience, gesticulating wildly with your hands above your head is too much. It should go without saying, never use rude words in an interview, in speech or body language.
Nod. Nodding your head while listening to your interviewer is a sign that you’re engaged in this important conversation, although it’s important not to overdo it. You can also lean forward briefly in emphasis to agree strongly with a hiring influencer, but always return to an upright, open posture.
Eliminate distractions. Any habit of body language that distracts from your message of confidence and competence should be noted and suppressed for your interviews. Invite a friend for coffee, or sit with your spouse, and ask “Do I have any distracting habits when I’m in conversation with you?” You might be surprised at the answers. Playing with hair, mouth, nose, or ears is a common habit, as are shaking your head while your conversation partner is talking, tapping feet and fingers, picking teeth, mouthing the words someone is saying to you, and rapidly bouncing your knee. You may not even be aware you’re doing these things, but they can distract and distress interviewers. Break those habits with some practice, and your interviews will all be the better for it!
Resume Keywords - Martin Buckland Executive Career Management - YouTube
Here’s how it works. You see a job, you send in your resume. The decision maker reads it. It resonates and they call you in for an interview. Right?
Wrong. The reality is the first thing that sees your resume is a computer scanner, known as ATS. An ATS is scanning for keywords, or buzz words, to decide if your resume moves forward. These buzz words are your functional level and industry specific words. They are what a decision maker expects to see when searching for talent.
Having the right buzz words will boost your resume’s chances of being chosen by the scanning machinery and passed on for human eyes.
Each level, each industry, and each person needs a customized, comprehensive, table of buzz words in their resume. Without these words, your resume will be hidden away in a database for infinitum.
It’s essential that you have a buzz word filled skill section on your LinkedIn profile. Without a skill section, your profile will not populate in a LinkedIn talent search. Do you know the buzz words applicable to you? If you don’t, visit my website and download a free eBook containing buzz words used in 22 different industries.
Another valuable resource for buzz words are industry and professional associations. You can also try job postings or take a look at a LinkedIn profiles of others with a similar job title or profession.
With some research, the right buzz words will sharpen your competitive edge and increase your chances of going to the next step. The interview.
Remembrance Day, November 11th, is a time to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives protecting and defending our nation, and to honour veterans and those in active service. Evolving out of Armistice Day (also celebrated on November 11th), the red poppy symbol was inspired by “In Flanders Fields”, a poem by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae which used the red flower as a symbol for the blood spilled on the battlefield. Once, real poppies were worn on the holiday, today, they are usually stylized paper poppies.
In addition to paying tribute to others this Remembrance Day, if you are a veteran, please take a moment to check that your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other personal branding makes note of your status as an honourably discharged or retired veteran. It’s not about boasting of your service, but a simple mention of your status as a veteran tells a story about you as a candidate for any position. As a vet, hiring influencers know that you have additional skills and experience that are unique to those who have served, and highly desired by employers.
On Remembrance Day and every day, thank you for your service.
LinkedIn Tips - Martin Buckland Executive Career Management - YouTube
If you aren’t on LinkedIn, then you are committing career suicide. LinkedIn helps generate leads, ignites excitement from recruiters and HR professionals, and is a wonderful job search tool that enables you to have or heighten your Google presence. Here are my five tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
Number one: have a professional picture on your profile. Did you know that the moment you post a picture on your profile, your Google ranking is elevated by 1400%? Yes, 1400%. That’s an amazing uplift. A picture will definitely help you elevate your candidacy when recruiters or HR professionals are scouting for talent.
Tip number two: customize your LinkedIn address. The reason for this is twofold. It’s more professional to have a customized LinkedIn address and it advances your Google ranking by a further 300%. Not to mention the condensed URL looks better on your resume. Now, how can you tell if your URL is not customized? Well, if there are a sequence of numbers and letters after your name, then you need to customize it.
Tip number three: complete your profile to the maximum. Today there are many bells and whistles and sections you can use to increase your profile strength. A very vague profile can suggest you don’t have too much to offer. The platform as evolved to allow to share all the facets of your career and life. Take advantage of every section that LinkedIn offers. Here’s something that’s really cool, really cool with your LinkedIn, you can use it as a platform to display all your presentations, from videos to slideshows. What a great way to entice a viewer conducting a talent search. All of these options boost your profile strength, and that’s how you become a LinkedIn all star.
Tip number four: update your business keywords to maximize your Google ranking. These are the keywords contained in the skills section of LinkedIn, and they must match your resume. Here you have the opportunity to broadcast all the buzzwords that talent hunters would use when looking to hire. LinkedIn allows you a maximum of 50 keyword skills. Think about what keywords a hiring influencer would search on, and ensure your profile comes up.
My last tip revolves around recommendations. As a rule of thumb, a decision-maker is looking for a minimum of three recommendations per job. Preferably, they’re looking for recommendations from a boss, from a vendor, a customer, or an employee. So cover all bases when soliciting recommendations from your network. That’s my five tips for maximizing LinkedIn.
You’ve been told that it’s important to catch the attention of not only your Boss, but THEIR Boss as well. You can’t simply bypass your own boss without impacting his or her relationship with their boss, so you need to be sensitive to the hierarchy, but you still want to get noticed by the Higher-ups! Here’s how to do it the right way:
Job performance is the first step. You want your superiors to notice your expertise, work ethic, generosity, and leadership qualities, so make sure they’re front and centre. Work hard to do your very best and ask for constructive criticism. Build your communication skills. A great relationship with your boss and your team leads to positive reviews and gets noticed, so be sure to grow your job performance and the relationships that support it.
Make contact. Make the effort to say hello in the hall, greeting the Higher-up by name. Prepare to contribute in meetings where your Boss’ boss is present. Step up when there is an opportunity to do more (such as train new employees, or learn a new skill). Be ready for opportunity if it comes your way, while you don’t want to brag, do confidently state your value if the subject arises.
Keep an eye on the forest. The old saying that someone “can’t see the forest for the trees” is a good way to describe employees who are siloed; only focused on their own division or team and not including the knowledge of what’s needed for the organization as a whole. If you know that becoming cross-trained in another area of the business would benefit the organization or your own team’s performance, step up and suggest it. Promote your company whenever possible, as that promotes you, too.
Stay loyal. Make sure that in whatever efforts you make, you remain and are perceived to be loyal to your boss. Getting noticed isn’t about upstaging your manager, it’s about making both of you look good to the big boss. If you throw your boss under the bus, it doesn’t take long to make the logical leap that you’re willing to treat everyone else that way, too. So, stay loyal, stay positive, and make sure your boss knows that your interest in advancement is a great reflection on his or her leadership skills.
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