I often hear from executives and business leaders, expressing their frustration that a business, or more often than not a Search and selection organisation, hasn’t acknowledged their call or approach. And as they have made contact specifically about a role that they feel is perfectly suited to them, they are dismayed that no intereste has been expressed in themselves or their resume.
Whenever I have these conversations I find I am in a fortunate position to consider this from an “informed” position and one that places no blame or negativity on the recipients of such an approach. My starting point is always the same and more often than not, following a brief conversation, not necessarily a full consultancy engagement. By the end of the call, the individual exec has clarity and usually a different outlook which then puts a stop to their initial angst.
Although I engage and work with an exclusive number of business leaders, on career consultancy and personal brand development projects in a retained manner, when I’m faced with a frustrated executive at their wits end, it’s difficult not to offer a snippet of free advice.
Most conversations of this kind end up with a similar revelation. It will become apparent that the CV is generic and most certainly not written with an insight into what the prospective employers hiring rationale. There’s also nothing which identifies what the immediate challenge and problems are and ultimately what the solution looks like to them?
I’ll then analyse the requirements made for the position before they go on to evidence and outline what they’ve done to date; how they’ve undertook similar projects, hold the necessary network, business acumen, gravitas etc. and so the conversation goes.
It’s then that I find individuals reach the point of realisation. Your resume must provide the desired solution to the problem and be meticulously tailored and created for each approach if you want to improve the chances of gaining the first meeting. Only then is it that the resume becomes secondary and culture, competencies, personality and the untold details come to the fore. But if you don’t know the specific challenges facing the business of interest, how can you provide the solution? If you don’t know what they are seeking to achieve, how do you know what to evidence in your career to date? So how do you identify the challenge and business objectives and thus truly outline that you are the right person for the job? And most importantly, without this understanding, how can you begin to highlight the relevant behavioural characteristics you have, that have served you well to date?
As I said, I work with executives and provide a variety of career consultancy services. To those not seeking a move, those assessing if they should move, what could they do if they chose to move, those frustrated and at a cross roads in their careers, victims of stifling environments and how to tackle this, as well as those who are seeking a new challenge. I chose these partnerships carefully and unless I feel I can add value in each case and address specific problems/challenges, my involvement is of no value.
So before you make an approach or consider engaging with an Executive Recruitment firm, consider your resume from their perspective and when reviewing it, ask yourself:
• What’s in my profile for the employer? What is the problem I am addressing?
• What behaviours do I communicate through my details?
• What is the solution the business requires? What do they need to know?
• What specific detail will they want?
• What do you know about the target business and have you evidenced it?
• Where have you added value in your career? What was the context of this success? Is this articulated in a way that relates to the business?
• Is your resume concise, to the point, powerful in description and uncomplicated?
A valued contact of mine once said, when asked to produce a resume he gave it the same thought and effort he did when producing his organisation’s board report. He would utilise the expertise he had available to him, collate the relevant data and outline how things where and are now. He showcased the successes and the value that his strategic decisions were making to the bottom line. Where appropriate he would go outside his remit to gain further expertise if necessary. So when producing a resume, he would follow the same process. In both cases, he could therefore display his natural behaviours and approach to specific challenges. After all, his resume would ultimately be something that could shape his future.
It was just a bigger board report.