Every time I start (kindly) haranguing my CIO friends about the lackluster state of their LinkedIn profiles or steer the conversation to the touchy topic of “personal branding,” the litany of apologies rolls out like thunder. .
“I’m not looking for another job, I like the one I have!” “I don’t have time to pay attention to that stuff.” “I’m really not into self-promotion.”
That quaint excess of modesty about your career accomplishments might seem like an endearing trait — a refreshing lack of vanity in a world awash with social media noise. But as career strategies go, it works against you.
Whether intentionally created or not, you already have a personal brand wrapped around your professional reputation. It’s what others think of you, say of you, and expect of you. This should be especially relevant for CIOs who want their IT organizations to be magnets for tech talent, as increasing the visibility of your own career amplifies that magnetism.
Michelle Dumas, CEO, Distinctive Career Services
“The truth is, personal branding can help you be more effective and visible in your current job, or wherever you are in your career right now,” says Michelle Dumas, CEO of Distinctive Career Services. “Your resume, biography and LinkedIn profile – these three components make up your brand career portfolio and work together to promote a cohesive brand image.”
The most visible of these three is, of course, your LinkedIn profile. With 800 million members worldwide (including 180 million based in the United States), this Microsoft-owned social network dominates the business landscape.
“No matter what stage of your career you’re in, having a complete LinkedIn profile gives you a big head start,” says Brenda Bernstein, founder of The Essay Expert and author of two DIY books on executive resumes and LinkedIn. “Doing a half-baked job” on LinkedIn might actually be worse than having no profile at all, she adds.
In the updated 2022 edition of the best-selling “How to Write a LinkedIn KILLER Profile,” Bernstein lays out 18 common mistakes and provides step-by-step fixes, writing tips, and how-to examples any serious do-it-yourselfer can follow. She also blogs about the latest updates and features appearing on the platform.
Assuming most IT managers don’t have the time (or writing skills) to tackle a career portfolio project, I turned to these two branding experts for advice on how to successfully outsource this work and what to expect in the process.
Here are their answers to the most frequently asked questions about working with resume writers.
How to find a good resume writer?
Word-of-mouth is always the best approach, Bernstein and Dumas agreed. But if asking for recommendations seems too inconvenient, check out the searchable database on the National Resume Writers Association website. The 700-member NRWA is the only national non-profit organization for professionals in this space and contains extensive information on selecting and working with certified resume professionals. The best resume writers are well versed in the latest trends in sophisticated resume design and will produce powerfully written copy. (Feel free to request samples of their work.)
What does the client-side process look like?
Your current resume will be collected as a starting point, but the real heavy lifting comes with the extensive questionnaire that clients fill out before being interviewed by the author. The questionnaire is designed to collect a wealth of detail about your company’s achievements and impact.
“When working with clients, we look for three areas of clarity,” says Dumas. “The first is their current career goal and where they want to go next in their career. The second is their unique skills and qualifications related to that goal. What sets them apart? Third, there will be the needs and expectations of the job or industry they are targeting.
All of these help resume writers understand the authentic personality and passions of the client, adds Dumas, “so that we can infuse it into the brand’s career portfolio.”
What kind of questions will I be asked?
Brenda Bernstein, Founder, The Essay Expert
“The main thing we are looking for are the ‘CAR’ stories: Challenges, Actions, Results. We want to bring out those details,” says Bernstein. “These days we are also asking about the impacts they may have had during the pandemic.”
Beyond the specifics of your job performance or positive business results, resume writers look for stories that demonstrate your value proposition while expanding on the resume’s overall theme. “One of my first clients wrote something in her questionnaire about how she engages ‘when the game is on.’ That line hit me right away,” Bernstein recalls. “So his tagline became ‘Leading teams to performance when the game is on the line.'”
How long will it take?
Plan to spend 2-6 weeks taking a deep dive into yourself and your ability to define and articulate your value. “You have to do a lot of self-reflection throughout this process,” warns Dumas, who refuses urgent projects. “I don’t want our spreadsheet back in 8 hours. I want them to research and find the numbers to back up their stories. Using these stories in resume copy stirs readers’ emotions and encourages you to keep reading, she adds.
How much do resume writing services cost?
For a coordinated set of career portfolio documents – a director or board resume, full-page biography, and updated LinkedIn profile – the cost can range from $3,000 to $5,000 for a top job. of range. Other lower-cost creative options have also emerged during the pandemic, Bernstein notes. For example, it offers a $695 one-hour strategy session via Zoom for senior executives whose resumes are already in good shape but need a few updates. “I really enjoyed these – they have a personal, collaborative feel – and a lot of senior executives appreciate this option.”