On October 28, 2016, in Executive Resume, by Rosa Elizabeth, CMRW

What the heck are you doing to your resume?


Trick-or-treating isn’t only for youngsters. Many executives are, unintentionally, scaring away job opportunities.

Just imagine: I’m at my desk, I open a new e-mail with subject line “My Resume For Your Review.”  Here is what I see far too often…


Top ‘not-so-well-played’ resume tricks


Old e-mail addresses. Your e-mail domain is disclosing your age and not at all in a magnificent way (that was coincidentally rhythmic).

Nothing—well almost nothing—screams, “I am antiquated” than an e-mail address that ends with @aol.com, @hotmail.com, @juno.com, or any others formed in the 90s. Replace those e-mail accounts ASAP. Possible replacements include @gmail.com or better yet @yourowndomain.com.

Photos on your resume. Yes. I know. I’ve said this before. Just in case you missed the memo —no photos on resumes.

International careerist: If you must have one, please choose a high-resolution image.

Scary resumes

Reason for leaving your last job. Yikes. Really? Why? TMI (Too Much Information). This sensitive topic should not be disclosed on your resume—even if it was due to a restructuring. Please wait for that interview.

Salary history. Boo! See above.

Missing LinkedIn address. Don’t make them Google you and wind up on the wrong profile. I’ve done it and found very disappointing profiles. You never know who else has a similar name and what on earth they are doing with it. Control your online brand.

Death by bullets. The number of bullets, while unpleasant, isn’t the biggest problem. The weakness here is that a sea bullets usually means you have shared too much; that you are desperately attempting to appear qualified; and that you didn’t take the time to distill, prioritize, and position.

No cape? Whether you like it or not, and even if it makes you uncomfortable—your leadership resume is a marketing tool. Therefore, you are the ‘hero’ of your career tale. So, own it!

What?! Have you ever read a resume that sounds amazing at first, but as you keep reading you realize you have no idea if this person delivered anything?

Qualitative writing is essential. Sure you must ‘sell yourself’ and market your candidacy, but it cannot be fluff. What specific and quantifiable examples would show them that you are the real deal? Which of those substantiated accomplishments is unlikely to be matched by another?

Move beyond accomplishments. Your executive resume should be evolving along with the shifts in our job search market. Your resume must reveal triumphs amid changes, conflicts, restructurings, globalizations, crises, consolidations.

A backdrop intensifies the value of your accomplishments.

Political affiliations. I applaud you for standing behind what you believe. I caution that this is risky. Whenever you ask others to pick a side—they usually will—the side they choose may not be yours.

The only time I would recommend political affiliations listed on an executive resume is when it’s relevant and instrumental to the job.

Focus. Where are you going and what do you want? I can always tell when a job seeker is trying to widen the net. This is very tricky, and if not pulled off well, your executive resume will leave hiring authorities confused and with more questions than they care to present.

Family e-mail. I love my family. I really do, but you need to have your own e-mail account. Employers need to know your partner is not the one making decisions for you; and that you can be trusted with confidential information.  Don’t hate me. I am just direct.

Formatting inconsistencies. This one really scares me; perhaps because I am so designed focused. However, I don’t think I am alone on this one. Inconsistencies in fonts, colors, dividers, and text boxes all exude sloppiness, haste, and neglect.  If you are computer challenged, stick to a simple and clean layout.

There are many resume revamping strategies to turn your executive resume into a real treat, carving a path toward a new and fulfilling career.

Resumes don’t have to be boring—and certainly not scary.




How To Safely Job Search On LinkedIn

On March 21, 2016, in Executive Coaching, Job Search, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, by Rosa Elizabeth, CMRW

linkedin-cracked-150x150Want to job search on LinkedIn without making people cringe or report you as a stalker? That’s a good idea.

By now you probably already know that LinkedIn has become a vital passageway to a new job. If you are like most job seekers, you have done very little beyond opening a LinkedIn account and populating the summary. Yes, a passive LinkedIn profile is better than no profile at all. However, you are the driver of your career, and that means you need to be in the driver’s seat with some gas in the tank!

Here are some techniques that will activate your job search on LinkedIn without making you seem, well, desperate or alert your current employer. Let’s start with low risk and work our way up. You choose, depending on your risk tolerance and employment status.


Low Risk: Brand yourself a ‘must-call’ candidate. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Right? That includes recruiters. 



Job-search oriented LinkedIn headline: Your headline is prime real estate. Use this opportunity to improve your search results with a great keyword and on-brand tagline. Headline examples:

  • Chief Information Officer – Delivering scalability for the next decade
  • Chief Nursing Officer – Quality healthcare through holistic leadership
  • Registered Nurse – Advocate and healthcare partner with a compassionate hand


Make sure your LinkedIn summary does the talking: Infuse your LinkedIn summary with keywords, too, and position some of your top achievements here versus under the experience section.


Populate the skills section and prioritize those competencies: You will begin to attract endorsements for these skills. Therefore, prioritizing them is key. Don’t place your strongest skills last; they will garner few (if any) endorsements. 


Complete your entire profile: The more complete your profile is, the better your visibility in search results.


Use the interest section to strengthen your keyword density: Sure, it is nice to include your hobbies in here and you should. However, including a few more work-related keywords/skills that will attract others in your industry to your profile will help fuel your job search traction.

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What if I said most executive resumes that cross my desk don’t share a leadership philosophy — although they should!

Why should they? Your leadership philosophy offers a window into your executive character, work ethic, personal principles, and leadership approach. When you offer a defined leadership philosophy, it means you are crystal clear about the value and culture you will bring to an organization.

Bottom-line: A leadership philosophy separates leaders who manage—from leaders who inspire.

So what are the ingredients for a well-marinated leadership philosophy and where can you get some?

Here is the recipe:

  • WHY do you lead?
  • HOW do you lead?
  • WHAT is your leadership impact?


Ok. I’ll go first:

Why: Create other leaders, causing a ripple effect that reaches beyond my scope.

How: By inspiring new ways of thinking.

Impact: Raise the standards on innovation and collaboration, surpassing individual, customer, and company goals to make wonderful things happen.

My leadership philosophy: Lead through the kind of leadership I would resoundingly follow.


Need more help? Your favorite leadership quote is often in alignment with your undefined leadership philosophy. Below you will find inspiring quotes that my clients have shared with me during their personal branding discovery sessions. These quotes have served them as a compass in alignment with their leadership vision. Do you spot one that resonates with you or unleashes your inner philosopher?



“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard


“Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman


“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald McGannon


“Option A is not available. So let’s kick the sh** out of Option B.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg


“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” ~ Mary Kay Ash


“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ~ Steve Jobs


“A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.” ~ M.D. Arnold


“Face reality as IT is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” ~ Jack Welch


“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field or endeavor.” ~ Vince Lombardi


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney


“Change before you have to.” ~Jack Welch


“To lead people, walk behind them.” ~ Lao Tzu


“Doing more of what doesn’t work will not make it work any better.” ~ Unknown


“People who think too much before they act, don’t act too much.” ~ Jimmy Buffett


“Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.” ~ Winston Churchill


“Successful people never ask if things will work. They are willing to try and find out.” ~ Brad Gosse


Why not share your leadership philosophy or your favorite quote with your LinkedIn network? Comment below.


Writing A Board-Level Resume


Thinking of throwing your name into the hat for a coveted Board-level seat? Great! First, make sure your resume is Board-level ready! Yes, there is a difference between you corporate executive resume and your Board CV.  To compete with other Board nominees, you must consider—and promote—the contributions your candidacy will bring as a member of the Board and not just the accomplishments you have delivered thus far for your corporate employers.

executive-boardThe following is a partial list of key value drivers you must weave into your Board worthy CV/resume.

  • What is your unique value offer as a Board candidate?
  • List committee and Board experience first.
  • History delivering value to shareholders and describe the improvement.
  • Share soft/people skills such as relationship building, decision making, consensus creation.
  • Create a highlight section with high-stakes and top-level collaborations and results from strategic advisement.
  • Promote your industry expertise by referencing speaking engagements, community involvement, and mentions in publications.
  • Speak to your experience driving company vision, shaping corporate identity, risk management, and protecting/strengthening company brand.
  • Delineate career progressions with concise strategic initiatives.
  • Note breadth of leadership through transformations, M&As, restructurings, exits, turnarounds, consolidations, rebranding efforts, etc.
  • Quantify ROI: EBITDA growth, stock value, etc.


Bottom-line: You must brand yourself as a Board Director. You need to help them visualize you in a Board setting as a valuable, strategic member for that specific opportunity.  Here are two great videos I sourced for you on this topic. Good luck!



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