Success Insights

I recently worked with a very talented marketing professional on your executive job search; while she was on the executive track within her company, but wanted to explore other opportunities and ensure she was making the best decisions for her career.

After working with her on her resume and other career marketing tools, I was happy to learn that she received an “on-the-spot” job offer at a networking event with the first unveiling of her resume. (Wow!) Talk about preparation meeting opportunity.

Her situation reminded me of another client who successfully negotiated a 30% salary increase after submitting a revised resume that included recent, quantifiable achievements.

What do these stories have in common? Preparation + hard work + persistence + branded career tools = job offers, salary increases and/or access to new opportunities.

In both scenarios, these women were more motivated and confident about their skills, experience and qualifications after working with me to enhance their career documents. I have met too many professional women and men who want better career success, but who are literally “sitting” on top-notch talents and unique capabilities that they undervalue and underestimate.

  • Have you been in your current position for a long time?
  • Has the recession given you a distorted view of your true career value?
  • Do you avoid advocating for a promotion, raise or new job opportunity?

Your own results may surprise you , but even if you are not going to make any career moves until the economy improves, here are a few strategies to consider:

Don’t wait for annual performance reviews to determine your skills’ worth. Make it a practice to peruse new external job opportunities and compare your career background and experience against your industry colleagues.

— Make the extra effort to quantify your efforts, impact and contributions. If you reduced turnaround time on report development from seven days to two days, calculate the time savings. There is a big difference between saying “improved monthly report turnaround time” and “increased report turnaround processing time by 70%”

— Solicit objective opinions and hire a career professional if necessary. A lot gets overlooked when you are the primary person reviewing your resume; get different perspectives and pay close attention to what others are saying about your career background.

— Evaluate and compare your technology expertise. Can you be classified as the sole expert at internal, customized company tools and software programs? Avoid becoming become so specialized at your company that you are little value to other employers. Stay current on technology and industry trends and improve your competencies through evening or online courses.

— Address any expertise gaps. If your skills are outdated then you are inefficient in your industry or marketplace. Maximize every learning opportunity so even if your current position requirements change, you are still valuable to your company and other prospective employers.

Like a new home or new car, your executive career can lose its “value” or “worth” if you are not proactively making efforts to improve and upgrade your skills and experience. What’s the market value on your career experience?

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Abby Locke is an executive resume writer and career transformation coach who helps emerging leaders, executives and professional women to craft compelling career narratives and standout brand profiles.

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