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A Two-Letter Word That Heightens Your Brand

Let’s explore a two-letter word that heightens your brand, résumé, and LinkedIn profile. Yes, there are a lot of opinions about résumés, and it can be confusing. We all have our reasons and you ultimately have to decide which reasons most align with you and how you do things.

So, this advice may not resonate with you. However, if it does, applying it will enable you to attract like-minded employers, which increases the chances that a company that matches your values, approach, and cultural preferences will invite you to interview, positions you more competitively throughout the interview process, gives you leverage in compensation negotiation, and, once hired, reduces friction, and accelerates assimilation with your new company’s people and processes. This is not just résumé advice; it’s career management advice. This doesn’t just set you up to be invited to interview, it sets you up to be invited to interview by companies at which you would thrive, where they get you, they appreciate you, and you can bring your whole self to work.

**Next time you get advice on your résumé, LinkedIn profile, or company website, find out the reasons, qualify the source, and make sure that the advice has produced consistent desired results.

You may have heard to keep your résumé short – get to the point – the results.

By all means, results are not just important, they are critical. They do establish a track record of success that employers need to feel confident you will achieve at their company.

That being said…

Your brand isn’t just what you accomplished. It’s not just your results; it’s your unique way of achieving them. The “by.” How did you accomplish them?

This advice is for people who don’t just want to work at a company that pursues profit no matter what the costs and casualties are. This advice is for people who care how a company achieves profit. It’s for people who want to work for managers that don’t drive performance any old way, but by genuinely engaging their team in the mission, providing the needed resources, and eliminating potential and real obstacles.

If you care about how your company achieves their results, take a few words wherever possible in your résumé to succinctly (yes, we still need to accommodate business bandwidth) explain the methods, tools, approaches, modalities, and best practices you used to get your results!

Bullets need variety to keep the reader engaged, so not every bullet will have the actual word “by.” Where it is included, it likely will be within the bullet, though when the HOW is the part of the accomplishment you want to be noticed most, put it first.

Here are some examples:
  • By applying lean principles, eliminated 3 hours of administrative processing, which increased customer response time by as much and elevated customer satisfaction scores by 68%.
  • Nearly eliminated turnover by identifying issues and resistance early through initial onboarding assessments, weekly one-on-one meetings, and monthly team alignment meetings.
  • Increased revenue 300% in six months with a monthly webinar series featuring breakthrough tips and tricks available with advanced product features.

Here you see “with a” is another way of saying “by.”

You see in the second bullet, “through” is also a way to include the how – especially when there is more than one or a deeper level of how to portray.

Here are some other helpful phrases that elevate your brand in different ways.

Overcame – Sometimes the challenges you faced to achieve are part of what makes the achievement so impressive.

E.g. Overcame client objections to the new user interface to achieve 99% adoption by demonstrating how the team applied human factors engineering in the design.

Even though – Is another way to describe a challenge that stood to prevent you from achieving results.

In order to – With this phrase, you don’t establish that you succeeded, but this can get across your intention. If you achieved it, start the bullet with the verb that best describes the achievement. Examples are raised, lowered, mitigated, contained, etc. However, sometimes forces beyond our control prevent us from arriving at the desired result, and sometimes the results are not in yet.

E.g. Established matrixed reporting structure and 7-point metrics in order to create staff redundancy and accountability that is expected to keep the team on task, on track, and on time.

So that – Another way of saying “in order to”.

If you want your résumé and LinkedIn profile to do more than generate interviews, then engage Epic Careering for conscious career branding.

Conscious career branding will:
  • Increase the chances that a company that matches your values, approach, and cultural preferences will invite you to interview.
  • Position you more competitively throughout the interview process.
  • Give you leverage in compensation negotiation.
  • Reduce friction once hired, and accelerate assimilation with your new company’s people and processes.
  • Put you on an accelerated path for career growth.

Schedule your complimentary consultation now.

Gerry and the Pacemakers – How do you do it (HQ Audio)

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Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

3 Formulas for Powerful Achievement Stories

Day 102-365 by Markgranitz of Flickr

Day 102-365 by Markgranitz of Flickr

 

After you have defined your distinct brand and clarified your target audience, you are tasked with creating content and messaging that will resonate with your target employer and position you as a competitive candidate for jobs of your choice.

I know that résumé writing doesn’t come naturally to most people, even writers and marketers. In fact, a lot of us go to work feeling like we are merely fulfilling our functions and collecting a paycheck for our efforts. We are completely unaware and unawakened to the value we bring to an organization and the greater purpose and impact of our work. Yet, identifying and articulating this is what will enable you to inspire your next employer to offer you the job.

At a minimum, you must set up some context for what you did, and prove that you did it well or better than someone else who might have filled that role.

At a maximum, to excite the employer, you want them to be able to easily visualize you succeeding in the role by using an approach and being a personality that meshes with their culture. The impact is the extra step most formulas are missing. Distinct from a result, the impact is what occurs after a job has been done well.

For instance, writing a résumé that my clients completely love is a result. The impact of the résumé done well is that it produces interviews. The impact of an increase in interviews is an increase in confidence and hope. This leads my clients to feel a greater sense of empowerment and control over their professional destiny. I may not include all of these impacts in the résumé, but I would most certainly start with the most immediate impact on my client, and then in my LinkedIn profile go into greater details about the most fulfilling part of doing a job well, which is the trickle down impact and cascade of further positive outcomes.

To just get started with the basics, here are some formulas that can help you build the bullets of your résumé and prepare anecdotes that will validate you have the skills to do the job throughout the interview process.

Most achievement story templates tend to be two to three paragraphs that fit on one page. They may be included in a portfolio or binder that you bring with you to interviews. However, most people do not easily recollect details buried in paragraphs, and you will not want to read your achievement stories in an interview. At the end of the last formula, we will tell you how to remedy this.

 

Beginner formulas:

 

  1. PAR/CAR – Problem/Challenge > Action > Result

Problem/Challenge – This becomes difficult for someone who, say, closes the monthly financial books.  Ask yourself, what are the consequences to the business if this job is done poorly? Within the answer you will be able to find the value. It is what you may prevent from happening.

Action – What you did, specifically, to resolve the problem or overcome the challenge.

Result – The proof that what was done was effective.

 

  1. STAR – Situation > Task > Action > Result

Situation – Includes Who, What, When, Where and How

Task – What had to be done and what the challenges of doing so were

Action – What YOU did, specifically, your individual contributions

Result – What was the measurable outcome? How do you know you took the right actions?

 

Advanced formula:

  1. SCPDASTRI – The EPIC formula

My formula is not as simple an acronym, and you would not necessarily use all of these components in a bullet in your résumé. Use this formula to lay the foundation of a cohesive story that your résumé, LinkedIn profile, interview and other venues compliment and supplement, building greater and greater excitement.

Situation – the conditions that existed that necessitated a change or some kind of action

Challenge(s) – what made this an impressive feat

People impacted and the impact – who was experiencing the conditions AND who was engaged to address it

Decision made – and who made it/them

Actions taken – and by whom (“we” is not specific enough.)

Skills, talents applied – “hard” and “soft” skills

Tools used – technical tools, as well as approaches and methodologies

Results – what outcomes did the actions produce in as many measurable terms as possible. Think about showing PROOF that the action was taken or that it was successful

Impact – how that trickled down to other people

 

For a résumé intended to be concise, you would pick out the most impressive components, and start to build bullets from the bottom of the formula and work upward.

For a LinkedIn profile, you would include more of the backstory and use natural language, versus concise résumé speak.

In an interview, you would actually want to break the story out into bullets, and, depending on how you best recollect details, associate these bullets with something memorable to you. (More in a future blog on this.)

It can be quite a leap from thinking of your job as fulfilling your daily, weekly, monthly duties to seeing clearly the impact that you had on an organization by doing your job well. I recommend that you start with the basic formula. Build it into your résumé to have something effective that will help you present your skills, knowledge and experience. Make sure your LinkedIn profile converts your bullets into a compelling story, and then convert your story into even shorter bullets that will be easy to remember when you network and interview.

Then, as you master that, start to expand your awareness of your value and impact. Look past your duties to the reasons you were chosen to do the job, and why your bosses and co-workers should be grateful that you were the one in the position (whether they were actually grateful or not).

Fill in the additional details from the advanced formula. Re-craft your bullets and LinkedIn profile. Enhance the achievement story bullets that you have already been recalling with ease with additional details that paint an even more vivid picture of what it looks like to have you in the job.

 

The better your interviewer/future boss can visualize this, the harder it will be for someone else to come in and make a stronger impression.