Executive Resume & Job Search Tips: How to Get a $70,000 Raise

After a combined 17 years as an executive recruiter, award winning job search coach and certified resume writer, I have had the honor of working with thousands of executives, and thus, have amassed quite a few “stories” about the executive job search. Working with, coaching, watching and learning from my clients has helped me to identify trends and correctly teach what and what not to do. This is information that I can now “give back” to my clients and readers; not just theoretically, but as accurate reflections from the front lines. Which leads me to the following story…

But before I begin, I should note that I have many similar stories. The star of this one, Tom, is not the exception to the rule, but rather an excellent representation of what happens when a professional – trying to better himself by leveraging himself in the market – takes a deep breath and begins to approach his career by seeing himself and the opportunities available to him in a whole different light. Planning and preparation equal empowerment and control of your destiny. The opposite of this is the all-too-often reactionary or passive-receiver roles that even top executives get duped into from time to time, causing them to jump on anything that comes along.

Now back to Tom…

Tom was a top senior executive in his “small world” industry and many of the key players knew of his skills and strengths. Which is why when Tom went searching for another position, he didn’t think he needed to do anything special to his resume. After all, everyone knew what he could do. Or so he thought.

After 3 months of sending resumes to friends, colleagues and contacts, he called me angry and frustrated. I listened to his tale of woe and after reviewing his resume I told him to let me rewrite his resume and fix this issue he’s having. When I shared his investment would be over $1,000, he hit the roof and needed a very thorough explanation of the marketing and labor that goes into crafting such a document.

In short, he was not convinced.

But in the end, knowing the alternative was not working for him either, he reluctantly enlisted my help. The key to Tom’s resume was laying out the design to help the reader quickly organize his strengths, specialties, key accomplishments and project stories. His old resume was written over a decade ago and thus did nothing to reflect the multiple promotions and leadership status he had attained. There was no detail, there was no focus, and there was no design.

When Tom saw his new resume he was pleased, but the payoff truly came when he sent it to the original five key contacts that he had sent his old resume to with no success.

Long story short: he landed 4 interviews and soon had 2 offers in hand. Then came a 5th interview and even a bidding war. In the end (a total of 30 days later), he had an offer on the table that was $70k over his then current salary.

I like this story so much. Not because of Tom’s nice compensation increase, but because it sharply illustrates what often happens in a job search when three simple things are aligned:

  1. A clear focus of direction.
  2. The best marketing collateral possible.
  3. The right job search techniques.

There are many things that you can do to advance your career; there are just a few that have this kind of ROI. My challenge to you would be to think about one thing you can do before the end of this year to advance your own career so you too can rise to the fullness of your potential.

Oh, and stay tuned – more stories to come!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com 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.