Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
Here I am in beautiful Baltimore, Maryland at the 2011 Career Thought Leaders ( #2011CTL )conference, the professional conference for certified career coaches, professional resume writers, and other leaders in the career industry.  We seek to update our knowledge base to provide the absolute best practices and techniques for our clients.  The energy in the room is brilliant as I network with coaches from all over the country (and the UK, too!) and share information to bring the very latest news about job search, career management and development back to my clients.

I have been tweeting on and off all day when I can because I want to make sure that as soon as I know it you know it! Today was all about “The Journey of a Job Seeker.”  For the most part, clients come to me with their resumes already prepared. However, periodically I have clients walk through my doors grunting in frustration,  lamenting to me how much they feel that their resume is lacking.  For all of you as well as those of you who think your resume could use a tweak, this post is for you!

The Ladders shared with us that out of 4,000,000 jobseekers, 3,200,000 need new resumes. Your resume is the billboard that stands in the forefront of presenting your brand.  Start by thinking about the trend that you want your resume to reflect so that you can weave that trend into the fabric that is your resume and the collateral marketing materials that you will present as you go through search.  As you think about this trend, remember that you need to present it in such a way as to differentiate yourself from the crowd.  If you have held a number of positions and are afraid that you may be pigeon-holed as a job-hopper, use this to your advantage to show a trend that makes you unique.

Utilize power verbs that elevate your accomplishments.  You can say that you “created” a program or “architected” it. Yes, this can actually be used as a verb! When I work with my clients, I provide them with a list of power verbs to use as they review and tailor their resume, draft cover letters and other materials.  By having a list already prepared, you have a “go to” place that helps to zero in on what you need while maximizing your time.

Make sure that the resume you are preparing is loaded with the keywords that are applicable to the position you are seeking.  The Ladders (one of our major sponsors) advised that 79% search for key words.  In addition, if you have ever wondered whether or not a 3 page resume is acceptable, the “buzz” here is that a resume of this length is fine for the executive earning $100k or higher.  Also, T Letters are back in vogue matching your accomplishments with the requirements of the position.

It is always nice to share a new technology with my clients.  Today we were provided with information about  This is a company that provides a service to individuals and businesses alike by helping them be more easily and accurately found in a Google search.  It is common knowledge that recruiters and HR people alike Google potential candidates to find out more about them.  Why not make it an efficient and accurate process?  This is what does.

If you are still unhappy with your resume, you may consider using a professional resume writing service.  Candidates with professionally created resumes experienced TWICE the response (as told to us by Ware Sykes of The Ladders).  When you think about it, for a small investment, a professional resume provides a big return on investment.

As the day has progressed, our focus has turned to clients presenting themselves on LinkedIn in the way that continues to reflect their brand.  If you are transitioning your skill set, re-weight and re-focus your resume to emphasize the polished skills you bring to the position. Your LinkedIn Profile lets you reveal the intangibles to give the reader a feel of how you do what you do (and it allows you to to get past “Digital Dirt” as coined by the illustrious Robyn Greenspan of ExecuNet).

In the section where you can put in highlights of your professional life,  write in the first person. For example:  “The following are highlights of results I deliver…” Your brand theme should be the same across the board even as you write about your interests. For example, speaking of his or her interests, a salesperson might say “Competition of any kind”  “Marathon Running”  (Wouldn’t you want to BUY form a sales professional like that?)

Consider other material to send to a Hiring Decision Maker like a Professional Bio. This exudes “Here’s more information about me” versus a resume which says “Hey, I’m looking for a job.”  They both provide information about you but in a different way, showing you have the confidence to be bold and not follow the pack!

As always, I hope you find this to be informative and helpful.  Please leave me a comment either way.  I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow about #2011CTL.  As always, I wish you every success.