Resumes & LinkedIn Profiles: Powerful Positioning within an Organization
By Wendy S. Enelow
When you hear the word “resume,” you instantly think job search. However, a resume can be just as powerful when used within an organization – to substantiate a request for a promotion, raise, special project assignment or new opportunity, or as evidence of successful contributions to the organization during the annual performance review process. This article will outline best-in-class resume writing strategies and actions for employees when writing resumes for use with their current employer.
- Be 100%+ honest and accurate, and don’t overstate your participation in a particular project, function or role. As a professional resume writer, it’s my job to “assertively merchandise” each client’s talents, achievements and more as they relate to their current job search objective. Sometimes I’ll re-weight qualifications, move them to the forefront and emphasize them even though they were just a small portion of the client’s responsibilities but they tie directly to the current objective. However, when writing resumes for internal use, I never do that! There is no re-weighting and no shuffling of information; only 100% honesty.
- Focus on what’s most important to the individual’s goals AND the company’s goals. Things are always best when it’s a “win-win” for both parties. As such, carefully consider how an individual’s current job responsibilities or achievements support the company’s short-term and long-range goals. Making a goal-based connection between the employee and the employer communicates an instant message of value and collaboration, both of which are essential when evaluating an employee’s true worth to an organization.
- Keep a running log of achievements. Whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, it is imperative to “write it down” so it’s not forgotten. This includes achievements, project highlights, honors, awards and all other successes. A person might think that their employer will already know all of that and, in fact, an employer might remember some of it, but only some. The onus is on the individual to document everything and keep current records that are easily accessible at a moment’s notice if need be.
- Load resumes with professional achievements. An internal resume should be comprehensive and include all relevant information and achievements. If an individual directed 10 different computer system installations in different locations for different business units, list them all – in the summary, in the job descriptions and/or in a separate section – Notable Achievements – at or near the top of a resume. If an individual won 12 awards for sales and sales leadership, list them all prominently as they are the best evidence of that employee’s capabilities and value to the company. If the bulleted list of achievements is long, consider breaking them into sub-sections with headings to enhance the visual appeal. No one is going to read a resume with a list of 20 bullets, all in a row, crammed together on one page. Instead, “lighten” the resume with subheadings (e.g., Financial Performance, Sales & Marketing Achievements, Technology Project Highlights), each with 3-5 bullet points showcasing relevant achievements.
- Include achievements beyond the work environment. Although not always germane to an individual’s professional life, notable achievements beyond the workplace give a more well-rounded perception of that person. Achievements in this category might include leadership positions on a board, notable fundraising efforts for a non-profit and/or volunteerism within the community. This information substantiates a request for a raise or promotion as it further demonstrates that individual’s talents, commitment and capabilities.
- Don’t be concerned with resume length. When using a resume within a company, length really doesn’t matter. Whether 1 page, 2 pages, 3 pages or more, the focus is on showcasing important information, achievements and credentials. This is not a document that’s going to be posted on online job boards or emailed to hundreds of contacts. That’s the job search resume. The internal resume should be as long as it needs to be to communicate the necessary information.
- Looks do matter. Internal resumes, just like job-search resumes, must be aesthetically pleasing and inviting. Use an easy-to-read font, space things out, and make it easy for an employer to quickly review the resume and identify key tasks, skills and achievements. The quality of the resume is reflective of the quality of work that the individual performs for an organization. If sloppy, unattractive or filled with grammatical errors, it can halt an individual’s efforts to move forward within that organization.
LinkedIn profiles are the other must-have career tools for today’s online community and global business market. Whether actively engaged in a job search, building your online presence to support your long-term career management plan, networking to find new customer leads or participating in LinkedIn groups to enhance your professional profile, LinkedIn is vital for just about every professional.
Key points for writing LinkedIn profiles include:
Make them rich with keywords for ease in keyword scanning and keyword searching.
Fill job descriptions with substantive content, achievements, project highlights and more.
Include quantifiable results whenever possible as numbers always capture attention.
Highlight additional information beyond just the resume – associations, publications, public speaking engagements, honors and awards, technology skills, foreign language skills and any other distinguishing qualifications.
Showcase information that is unique and distinctive to gain a competitive edge.
Update LinkedIn “status” on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly) to enhance visibility.
Achieve 100% profile completeness ranking from LinkedIn.
Employers should pay special attention to the value of LinkedIn profiles for their employees. When talented professionals are active on LinkedIn, it gives their employer a strong online presence and a great reputation for top-flight talent within their organization. As such, employers should encourage all of their employees to build strong online identities for themselves which, in turn, will continue to bolster the company’s online identity and visibility.
Career management is a lifelong process and includes activities both within and outside of an organization. Although many consider career management to be synonymous with job search, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, job search is part of a lifelong career management plan, but only a small part. The bigger component is how an individual manages his or her career within an organization. That’s where the resume, LinkedIn profile and other career communications can be of such remarkable value in moving a career onward and upward.
Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
Enelow Enterprises, Inc. – www.wendyenelow.com
Resume Writing Academy – www.resumewritingacademy.com
Career Thought Leaders Consortium – www.careerthoughtleaders.com
Wendy Enelow is a well-known executive resume writer and career coach widely respected for her pioneering efforts and contributions to the professional careers community. In addition to her private practice, she is the Executive Director of the Resume Writing Academy and of the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, a think tank for the now, the new and the next in careers. Wendy has authored 25+ career books and scores of articles, and has been quoted in major media nationwide including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune. You can reach Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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