Your Career as an Investment

Taking control of your career trajectory is a trend that is becoming more prevalent with each year. But how exactly do we “take more control” of our career? The answer is: the same way businesses take control of their growth and profitability.

Many of us spend a considerable amount of money on education in our specialty. We attend classes to obtain certifications, or business schools for advanced degrees, all in an effort to rise to the fullness of our potential, make ourselves more “viable,” maximize our income, and hopefully secure positions that we enjoy.

Most agree that investing in education will pay off – and even investing in our personal appearance, such as purchasing an expensive suit, can offer payback – but many professionals stop there, thinking that job search coaching or investing in a new resume is “an additional expense they cannot afford.”

Unfortunately, those who think this way end up holding themselves back as they fail to make the mental shift from “expense” to “investment” and completely miss looking at their career ROI.

I often hear executives say, “I have never had to look for a position before because they have always come to me,” or, “I have never needed a resume before.” Understandably these executives have yet to experience the multifaceted benefits of having really powerful marketing materials professionally developed for them – and even though the fact that they are sought after validates their uniqueness and market viability, when it comes down to it, they are still making decisions about their career moves one opportunity at a time – and this is not a leveraged or controlled job search.

Thus they venture out into the market for the first time, and after several months of frustration, finally call someone like me.

The truth is, no executive really has to go through those agonizing months of trying to figure out what is working in today’s job market. All they need is access to the right information. And the willingness to embrace that there are marketing investments that can and should be made that yield impressive returns.

The bottom line? Where a business may spend 20% annually on marketing, individuals should be prepared to at least invest 1% to 4% of their annual salary every 3-6 years in their marketing efforts.

And what do executives get for that? Each case is different, but shorter job searches and significant increased earnings for the “prepared and educated” executive are just two of the major benefits. Less frustration, more control, and thus more energy and enthusiasm to perform well in interviews they really wanted, are additional bonuses.

A top US-based construction executive recently came to me after sending his resume out for 6 months. Being one of the best in his field with an exceptional reputation, he didn’t put any energy into making his resume look good or telling the story of his success – it was basically just a list of companies he had worked for. Honestly, I think he may have been a little offended that he was ignored by the people that should have been fortunate to interview him, and ticked off he had to “spend money” on a resume and LinkedIn profile (my words not his).

But not two weeks after completing his resume, he had four interviews and two offers on the table – one represented a 20k raise and the second a 70k raise over what he was previously making. It was then that he made the shift in thinking from “expense” to “investment” and understood that he basically just “profited” 69k on his 1k career investment.

It is often said that 7 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 3 years and I would bet money that those businesses that survive have a solid understanding of Marketing 101 and invest accordingly. Job seekers today need to realize that to step up and play big requires an investment in their marketing – in addition to academic and other professional expenditures that help with career optimization.

Professionally designed resumes, value proposition letters, LinkedIn profiles and job search coaching pays off!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.