Tag Archives: online branding

How to Write a Resume Summary Statement That Brands and Sells

8 Dec

An effective introductory Summary statement at the opening of your resume is a critical component of effectively branding yourself to a prospective employer.  This is the first part of your resume that a potential employer will read, and the goal is to communicate clearly what your

Photo by Brent Nelson (Flickr)

expertise is and why you are qualified.  Often an “Objective” statement tends to focus  more your own interests as the job seeker, while a “Summary” statement communicates what you can bring to the table in the targeted role for the organization.  Why should they hire you, essentially?  This is communicated by highlighting the most relevent strengths, skills & core competencies that are unique to you as a candidate, versus a trait or skill that’s an industry or professional standard (i.e. “multi-tasker” or “team-player”).

A cover letter basically addresses similar points, but in more detail, and allows for a certain amount of personalization to shine through.  The Summary statement should be approximately 4-6 lines and speak only to your professional background, and not address any outstanding circumstances (employment gaps, change of career, personal experiences, etc.). Continue reading

The Importance of the Details: 7 Critical Ones for the Employee-To-Be

1 Dec

I’ve had the flu, or something of the like, for the past two days.  Neither my wit, nor my mental acuity are operating at peak levels right now, but I’ll try my best to offer something of value here. Nonetheless, the gratitude-subscribing coach within me realizes, “Hey, at least I wasn’t sick for Thanksgiving!”  Glass half full my friends, glass half full.

Speaking of both gratitude and optimism, I found my pants.  The laundromat, trying to be helpful, removed them from the rest of the pile after they realized they were still damp, and tossed them into the dryer for an extra cycle.  Unfortunately, they forgot to take them out, and they ended up in some other Brooklynite apartment, someone who was nice enough to return them to whence they came.  So thank you, whomever took the time to do that.  It’s the smaller gestures that can truly brighten someone else’s day, or your own.

Little things are important indeed.  Little ways in which you communicate, in which you present yourself, in which you brand yourself – they’re little, yet they can make all the difference.  For example, I hate when candidates have “Objective” statements on their resumes.  I tell everyone to remove them and replace them with a 4-6 line “Summary” statement.  Why?  Because an objective statement communicates what YOU want out of a company, as if they’re bringing you into their office to interview you so that they can fulfill a favor for you.  A summary statement communicates your strengths and core competencies, and instead presents the idea of “Here’s what I can do for YOU…Mr. Hiring Manager at Company X”.  It seems trivial, but sometimes a trivial detail is what separates you from the  new hire.

Here’s another one. When you’re thinking about communication, especially in the professional sense, remember this: Only 7% of your message comes through via what you actually SAY.  The other 38% is intonation and the remaining 55% is body language.  So you might have most well-crafted answers to every interview question in the history of man, but if you’re going to look down at your interviewer’s shoes, or around the room, speak incoherently  and lace all your sentences with “like” and “um”, you might as well throw in the towel right there.  Same deal if you walk in smelling like smoke or heavy perfume.

Because sometimes a trivial detail is what separates you from the new hire.  Details are important, and unfortunately ten years of fantastic experience and accolades won’t necessarily overshadow 1 hour of careless, hasty  judgment.

Here are a couple of details to keep in mind whether you’re starting or already knee-deep into your job search:

  • Invest in at least one interview-appropriate outfit, and make sure it fits in with whatever the standards of dress are for your industry.
  • Do a quality-control check on your resume Summary (or Objective) statement – what message are you communicating?  Is it about YOU, or about THEM? (Hint: It should be about how You can HELP them.)
  • Do not use BCC or CC fields when emailing your resume. You should be sending it to one person, if possible, and tailoring it to fit the company and role to which you are applying.  Yes, it’s more time and effort-intensive, but far more likely to yield a positive return.  No decent recruiter or hiring manager will ever reply to an application that is generically blasted to multiple people at once- it shows lack of initiative.
  • In addition to attaching your resume and cover letter as documents, include them in the body of your email.  I realize computers never fail and the chance that the file might not open correctly is slim… but you never know.
  • Creativity is great, just not when it comes to fonts and formatting on your resume. Likewise, unless you’re Stan Lee, keep Comic Sans out of your professional email signature.  Ariel, Courier, Times, Verdana or Calibri are all safe bets.
  • Set your Facebook profile to private, for God’s sake.
  • And then Google yourself. Be fully aware of what information about you is available to the greater public and what messages are being communicated.  This effects your personal brand as much as your LinkedIN profile does, so keep it professional.

Creating Awareness Around What We Never See Coming

23 Jul

The other night I joined some friends for leisurely activities in the Lower East Side.  After completing our “20 minute walk” from Washington Square Park, which realistically was more like 45 minutes in 90 degree weather, we arrived to find the restaurant we were planning on going to closed.  So while we formulated plan B, we waited for another member of our entourage to arrive.  When she did, she was frazzled and distraught.

On the way to the restaurant I had been informed in bits and pieces what had happened earlier that day to my friend-of-a-friend.  She had been traveling several weeks earlier in South America, and feared that while she was there she had forgotten to log out of her email account while in an internet cafe, and now someone had hacked her email  account, changed her password, and emailed all of her contacts soliciting money.  Posing as the young woman, the assailant contacted friends, family and work colleagues explaining that she had lost her wallet whilst traveling in London and needed immediately to be wired money from the US, so that she could pay her hotel bill and fly home.  And the worst part?  While perhaps it’s reassuring to know that she had a number of contacts willing to help her out financially, several of them were all but a keystroke away from divulging their own credit card and bank account information to a third party thief.  Including the CEO of her company!

Unfortunately, be forewarned that it is close to impossible in a situation such as this to convince your email carrier that your account has been hacked.  She tried.  Several faltered attempts.  And without sufficient physical evidence of these activities, which she couldn’t provide because she no longer had access to her account, GMail would not shut off the account.  A complete stranger with less than innocent intentions now had complete access to her friends, family & employer’s contact info, her personal emails to and from her ex-boyfriend, contacts for which she was utilizing to apply to new jobs, and her online bill pay information.  In other words, all the relevant ingredients for a professionally crippling case of identity theft.

In an age where many of us take for granted our enormous range of access to information at our fingertips, we also take for granted the security of everything we put out there.  Whether it’s your contact information, your personal life plastered all over Facebook, or your credit card information with every online transaction we make, we so detrimentally assume the “it can’t happen to me” attitude.  Ladies & gentlemen… NOT TRUE!

I had to leave shortly after our acquaintance joined us, and so I’m not yet privvy to the details of any kind of resolution to the situation, but I can imagine she’s in no easy spot right now as far as damage control.  And you – are you aware of what you’re putting out there to a bevvy of virtual strangers on a daily basis?  Does all of New York City know that you’re on vacation for the next 6 days in Cabo and not even your dog is at home because your best friend is taking care of him while you’re away?  Are you opening up the doors to your apartment and welcoming the neighborhood to come in and snoop around wherever they want, so to speak, because you left your Facebook account logged in at the bubble tea cafe? Or maybe it’s just your jealous coworker emailing your less-than-appropriate IM conversations to you boss because you rushed out of the office to meet Cindy for drinks at 6 without logging off of your computer.  Wait- wait- one more- how about the TIME STAMP on your blog post that your coworkers and boss can access from your online profile.   Did you every think that might throw a red flag out there and screw you over?  Don’t laugh…it happens.  (Okay, you can still laugh, so long as it’s not happening to you.)

Let this be a lesson to all to create complete and total awareness around everything we do online, where we provide access to our information (internet cafes, work, other people’s computers, etc.) and how we present ourselves to the digital universe.  Whether or not you’re in the market for a new job, needless to say, it can all come back to bite you in the…

Have a great weekend!

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