This is Part Two regarding career changes. Part One, Are You Ready for the Next Big Opportunity? is here.
Polish up your image – Before you may need to …
Invest a little time to create an impressive image for your professional career. The opportunity of a lifetime may happen tomorrow. What if that company or person searches for information about you online, on social media or elsewhere or asks you to provide them with some professional branding materials: CV, Resume, Professional Bio or references, etc…? Will you be prepared to present your best image, now?
The following are some Professional Branding A, B, Cs:
A) Add some life to your resume
I have seen hundreds of resumes and CV’s over my professional career and I could count on one hand the number that have jumped out at me and left an impression. When working on your resume, some of the suggestions I offer are as follows:
ACHEIVMENTS: People don’t care (generally) where you have worked, they care about what you have accomplished. Focus on what, not where. Identify your achievements and quantify them. Petro offered a great suggestion: “update or document your accomplishments, monthly.”
PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Instead of an Objective at the top of your resume, add a Professional Summary or elevator pitch of who you are and what you have accomplished.
RESUME ASSISTANT: Microsoft just added a cool new “Resume Assistant” feature in Word, which leverages the power of LinkedIn. The Word-LinkedIn Resume Assistant includes examples of suggested skills and work experience summaries matched to your resume profile, to help you polish up the text and key words.
BENEFITS: Think about why someone would want to hire you, then communicate the benefits you would deliver to them by highlighting signature strengths, skills and abilities that would be valuable and interesting to your prospective employer.
STAND OUT: Add some color to the resume, or nice paper, to make it pop and stand out a little.
HIRE A PRO: Hire a professional resume writer. You can invest a few hundred bucks to hire a professional resume writer to make you look like a million bucks. The investment you make in your resume and other professional branding can easily pay for itself by helping you to get the job (and compensation) you are looking to secure. A note of caution that there are a lot of scammers out there, so try to get a recommendation from someone you trust or a trusted resource: Search on LinkedIn, Monster, or google “Resume Writers” and you will find countless resources to explore.
B) Be Professionally Visible. Most of us have subjects that we are passionate about. Start writing and get the ideas out of your noggin and onto paper or online. There are many great opportunities to share your brilliant ideas or advice with others: you can publish free articles or “posts” on LinkedIn and other media platforms. Contact your favorite trade publication or newspaper and start creating some content to market yourself in your profession or industry.
Act as a volunteer for your organization; host a training course on a subject you are passionate about, which may be interesting and beneficial to your peers.
Any of these activities can be used to further market yourself as a professional in your industry and help to build your network.
C) Create some impressive professional branding tools:
Invest some time polishing up your LinkedIn Profile. In many industries LinkedIn is broadly used and a very powerful platform to network and market your professional brand. There are incredible free articles available with LinkedIn Profile tips. A few basic tips are as follows:
Sign up for the 30-day LinkedIn Pro free evaluation. This will allow you to edit your background banner and add a custom header which you can keep after the 30-day free trial period is over.
Add a Professional Headline and Background. See my LinkedIn page and just copy the format I used (and copied from another LinkedIn pro).
Post an article or two about a subject you are passionate about. It is very easy to do on LinkedIn and it doesn’t cost anything. This can help position you as an expert in your field. You can check out my articles on LinkedIn and my website: www.thebigcorp.com/whats-new.
Add some visual content. Any marketing materials you have created, images of you in action selling, receiving an award, giving a speech, etc…are great selling points.
Include honors, awards or certifications you may have, in the awards section, even if they are more personal than professional, like Scuba Diving for me. This just shows that you are an achiever.
Create a Professional Summary or Bio to help you stand out from the crowd further. This should include a photo and focus on career highlights, accomplishments and signature strengths. It can be used in addition or instead of your resume for less formal opportunities or communications. Maybe a door opener with a company you admire or a consulting project, etc.
The bottom line, you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression … maybe tomorrow. Make sure you are prepared for the next BIG opportunity!