BRANDING, RESUMES AND GETTING HIRED

SELLING YOURSELF

ARE YOU A BRAND?

Coca ColaWhen we think of brands, what comes to mind?McDonalds

Are the Kardashians a brand?  You think of them in a certain way and they are distinctive.

Is Donald Trump a brand?   As an up and coming young real estate developer and entrepreneur, President Trump was branding himself even before the term “personal brand” was coined.President-Trump-Official-Portrait-620x620

WHAT IS A BRAND?

  • How you are viewed by others
  • What qualities and attributes do they associate with you
  • What kind of emotional connection or reaction do they have when they see you, your name, or your image
  • What are their expectations about you

WHEN YOU THINK OF MCDONALD’S, WHAT COMES TO MIND?

  • Inexpensive food
  • Fast
  • Predictable
  • Easy to Find
  •  CleanMcDonalds Meal

Its typical fare is flavorful with all of its salt, sugar, oils and fats that humans naturally crave.  Customers know exactly kind of experience that they will get.

WHAT ABOUT TIFFANY & CO.?

  • Expensive
  • High quality
  • Distinctive
  • AuthenticTiffany Ring

It makes you feel a certain way knowing that the ring you are wearing is from Tiffany.

YOU ARE SELLING YOURSELF EVERYDAY

  • When you ask for something, you are trying to persuade
  • When you ask someone to do something, you are trying to persuade
  • When you ask someone not to do something, you are trying to persuade
  • When you try to get someone to like you, you are trying to persuade
  • When you try to get someone to buy something, you are trying to persuade
  • When you ask someone to vote for you, you are trying to persuade

We sell every day, all day.

HIRE MEWoman being interviewed

*Looking for a job is selling yourself*

How do you differentiate yourself from other applicants?  You don’t necessarily have to be the best, but distinctive.  You want to stand out.  When all is said and done, an employer is buying you and your bundle of attributes.

EMPLOYERS LOOK AT YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

Flying Woman

Employers evaluate you by your personal brand and then make a decision about you.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT THE EMPLOYER CAN DO FOR YOU

  • What do you bring to the employer’s table?
  • How do you add value?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Are you conscientious?
  • Are you punctual?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • Do you follow through?
  • Are you helpful?
  • Do you have a good attitude?

Let me repeat it another way: When looking for a job, it is about what you can do for the employer.  Please remember that the prospective employer does not “owe” you a job nor do you “deserve” a particular job.  A job is first and foremost an economic relationship and transaction.  The employer seeks the benefit of your services while you seek the benefit of compensation.

The Employer is not going to pay you for nothing or for little in return. The Employer seeks value.  The initial assessment of  your value is in your brand.

A RESUME IS AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR YOUR BRAND

Billboard

Your resume is your mini billboard.  It is to tell the employer customer who you are and what you have to offer and why the employer should buy your services.

EMPLOYERS WILL USUALLY SEE YOUR RESUME BEFORE THEY SEE YOU

  • Resume is the first impression you make and may be your only opportunity
  • Resume is gatekeeper for first interviews
  • Resume counts a lot
  • Must get resume right

SHOULD TELL A STORY

  • Deep bucket of experience or expertise: For example – computer networks
  • A Leader: For example – you held officer positions, led teams, executed initiatives, solved major problems, generated creative ideas, or organized events
  • A service oriented person: For example  –  raised funds for charity, tutored kids or mentored individuals

Everyone has a story.

You want yours to be  readily understandable and compelling.

ELEMENTS OF A RESUME

  • Concise, not wordy
  • Major accomplishments (not a ribbon in second grade for having the neatest desk)
  • Use examples: “I supervised the acquisition and installation of a  new computer network for my company.”
  • Use active voice: “I prepared corporate tax returns” and not “the corporate tax returns were prepared by me.”

TAILOR RESUME TO EMPLOYER

  • A resume to be a managing director at a management consultant firm is going to look a lot different than a resume to be a CFO for a technology firm
  • One size does not fit all

Think  carefully about who your employer audience is and what they want to know.  Your having a boxed paragraph detailing your direct, relevant experience for the particular job is extremely effective.

CAVEATS

  1. Triple check for typos, misspellings, punctuation and grammar; better yet, have another person copyedit your resume
  2. Formatting should be readable and neat
  3. Use good paper if mailed or hand delivered; it’s called bond paper  (not copy paper); using bond paper is more elegant than copy paper and a sign of respect
  4. No smudges, smears or fingerprints
  5. If emailing resume, convert it to a PDF
  6. Use month/year for start and end dates for previous jobs: May/2016 to June/2017
  7. Always send cover letter with resume briefly highlighting why you want and are qualified for the job
  8. No photo
  9. Use key words in your resume that are obvious criteria in the job description so that your resume gets past automated screening

In sum, work to develop a brand and capsulize it in your resume.

 

Copyright © 2019 by G. A. Finch, All rights reserved.

OBSERVATIONS OF A HEADHUNTER: G. A. FINCH INTERVIEWS EXECUTIVE RECRUITER THOMAS HAZLETT

Copyright © 2010 by G. A. Finch. All rights reserved.

Hazlett Associates  through its principal, Tom Hazlett, has provided search consulting services on a national basis to a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, privately held firms across a wide range of industries, with an emphasis on consumer products and business to business direct marketing companies, agencies and financial services organizations.   Assignments have included senior and upper mid-level positions.

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FINCH:

Tom, you’ve been in the high-level executive search consulting game for close to two decades now.  2008 and 2009 were tumultuous years for our economy.  How has the recent recession affected job turnover in senior executive suites?

HAZLETT:

In this recession, as in past ones, normal executive job turnover has been seriously disrupted.  During a contraction, many companies restructure and consolidate their organizations—either voluntarily or involuntarily–to survive; other companies go under or are acquired.  This leads to considerable one-way turnover and the well-documented unemployment figures, across all levels of management.  Remaining executives tend to hunker down and remain in place to ride out the storm.  Employed senior executives are less receptive to potential career moves unless there is a great degree of familiarity with the situation, the board and/or the hiring manager.  The severity and breadth of this downturn clearly have magnified the situation.

FINCH:

Will we see more or fewer executive searches in 2010?

HAZLETT:

We should see more searches in the coming year.  The paralysis and fear of a year ago have morphed into an uneasy uncertainty about what the new “normal” will be going forward—but with the understanding that it must be addressed.  The draconian cuts made by many corporations and service organizations have led to the realization that replenishing the ranks will be necessary to begin growing again.  The past year has also uncovered weak performing executives needing replacement.

FINCH:

Because of the bonus controversies in the financial industry, think Merrill Lynch and AIG, are you seeing different allocations of salary versus bonus in compensation packages?

HAZLETT:

Performance based compensation still appears to be preferred by both hiring entities and strong executive candidates.  Companies are less willing to offer large guaranteed salaries or huge signing bonuses.  Performance bonus targets are being refined and more carefully calibrated.  Clearly more rationality has taken hold (on both sides) in compensation negotiations.

FINCH:

Is compensation in the form of stock or equity becoming more or less prevalent in the current employment market?

HAZLETT:

Cash is king.  The equity craze has abated, at least for the foreseeable future.

FINCH:

Wall Street, like Washington, can be insular and sometimes obtuse and may not have a real handle on how its actions and behavior are being perceived by Main Street.  Do you think corporate America has failed to explain to and educate Joe Six-Pack as to why senior executives are so well compensated?

HAZLETT:

The short answer is corporations have not explained compensation issues because they have not been pressed to do so. The extraordinary income numbers coming out of  Wall Street have become grist for the populist mill.  These figures seem to be setting off alarms in the boardrooms of public corporations.  Typically, senior executive compensation is buried in the pages of 10-K statements.  When times are good, revelations about upper level pay are generally greeted with envy or mild consternation.  When times are bad, and many are hurting financially, seeming inequities are magnified in the minds of many.  Whether or not more transparency will occur, likely will depend on the attention span of the public, the politicians and the media.

 

FINCH:

Because some corporate reform activists see generous severance packages for senior executives as “failure pay,” are severance payment provisions in employment contracts getting harder to negotiate and obtain?

HAZLETT:

Board Directors, especially those on Compensation Committees, have become more aware of their legal fiduciary responsibilities in overseeing the compensation packages of senior executives.  This has led to more scrutiny and conservatism in negotiating all aspects of employment contracts, including severance agreements.  That said, the ability to attract a crucial executive away from his or her current job, may require the offer of a substantial “safety net” in the event of change of control or other trigger events.

FINCH:

As your parting advice, what are the three most important tips you would give to an executive recruitment candidate for the candidate to successfully navigate an executive search process?

HAZLETT:

  1. Be completely honest in every aspect of your endeavors, from resume facts, dates, compensation, degrees, etc. to answering interview questions.  You must assume that everything will be checked—because it will.
  2. Do your homework—before and during the process.  Not enough due diligence about the company’s situation, prospects and agenda,            and   honest self-appraisal about your role, the cultural fit, and personalities of prospective colleagues can be a recipe for serious problems.
  3. Be patient and rational during the process.  This is easier to do if you are currently employed, but necessary in any case.