Imagine the following scenario...

You come up with a breakthrough idea that will disrupt your market or sharpen your company’s competitive edge. You hire the most reputable researchers to meticulously analyze the potential market and its challengers. You recruit the best prototype engineers to labor over features and design. You partner with acclaimed product-testing labs to ensure that you get it right the first time. You invest heavily in high-price-tag Big-5 consultants to scrupulously plan every detail of the supply chain to optimize performance from Day 1. executive resume

Your product is ready to hit the shelves. It’s been a long ride. Fortunately, you’ve invested in the best professionals to guarantee a successful launch.

The only thing left is to develop your marketing collateral.  You decide NOT to spend valuable resources on expensive web development and content creation. After all, there are many cheap website templates available. And besides, who better to write about your product and company than you? You decide to forgo watching television that evening so that you can spend an hour brushing up on the latest SEO techniques, and another hour drafting your web copy. “This isn’t rocket science,” you tell yourself.

Wait …what?!

Absurd, right? Most executives wouldn’t dream of trying to go it alone on any one of the above initiatives. Nor would they dream of trying to plan their estate without financial advisory support, be their own legal representative in court, or perform surgery on themselves. They know they need to surround themselves with people who are sharper than they are in the technical areas in which they are lacking.

However, when it comes to executive job searches and managing their career marketing campaigns, many attempt to go it alone. They think (or are told) that a couple of hours one evening with the help of a quick-fix webinar or two should suffice in giving them the expertise needed to develop the career literature that their very future depends upon. They conclude that a common executive resume template is as good as any. They assert that resume writing strategy and LinkedIn optimization can’t be rocket science. They ask, “Who better to write about myself than me?”

They embrace the DIY career-marketing approach for their executive resume, perhaps a wise choice for the executive who:

  1. Is deeply in touch with his or her executive brand and who understands exactly what makes him or her unique within the competitive marketplace as it relates to a laser-focused career objective.
  2. Is an exceptional writer, skilled at crafting very concise and persuasive editorial prose, and possesses the trained eye of a finicky proofreader as well.
  3. Has extensively studied resume-design strategy and knows how to create the layout that is ideal for his or her industry, function, and unique career trajectory.
  4. Is 100% confident in his or her ability to create a document that will pass through ATS keyword filters, HR gatekeepers who skim quickly for key information, and decision makers who need to immediately identify business value.
  5. Is willing to invest the inevitable, extensive time commitment necessary to painstakingly create a document that is expertly formatted, visually balanced, strategically written, and editorially polished. (Reality check: a couple of hours one evening is not a realistic time investment for such an all-important and career-defining document.)

For everyone else, I recommend doing what you always do when your strong leadership intuition tells you that you need help navigating an area in which you are technically lacking; partner with an expert—in this case, an executive resume writer. And choose wisely who you partner with, being as carefully selective as you would be if you were choosing a collaborator for a mission-critical initiative you can’t afford to get wrong.

It’s your career, after all.


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