Most of the executives I meet with know they need an effective resume and LinkedIn profile to conduct a smart job search in this day and age. But very few recognize the need for a portfolio of career communications tools.
Here is a run-down of the career communications tools most executives should have in their portfolio. Whether you create these on your own or hire an expert like myself, the imperative thing is to recognize what you need for your search and your overall career management and to get it.
CAREER COMMUNICATIONS TOOL
HOW IT’S USED
|RESUME||Resumes used to be prime networking tools, however the ever-increasing need to tie their content to specific jobs means resumes are no longer effective for this purpose. Rather, the resume’s primary use is to demonstrate your match or apply for open positions. As a result, they are generally not smart tools to share with executive search consultants unless and until a specific job is being considered.|
|LINKEDIN PROFILE||96% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their key candidate-sourcing tool. This is how they find candidates and verify the quality of their experience. Hence, LinkedIn is a must-have career management tool regardless of whether you are in an active or passive search or no search at all.|
|GOOGLE+ PROFILE||This social network is on the rise in a dramatic way and may at some point even replace LinkedIn. For those who like to anticipate trends, the smart action would be to establish a Google+ presence long before you need to rely on it.|
|BRAND BIO||A brand bio is more than a paragraph or 2 about your work history – it’s the story of your career in narrative form. Generally a 1-page document, brand bios share your career progression by presenting the “golden thread” of your achievements, pedigree, and experience. In short, a brand bio sells your candidacy in a different way than a resume can. And please don’t confuse brand bios with the mini-bios you’ll see on About Us pages – these are a whole different (and much more powerful) animal.|
|BIO SUITE||While a full-page bio is great tool, sometimes you need shorter descriptions of your brand, achievements, and experience. A bio suite contains an array of ever-shorter bios which can be leveraged in emails, LinkedIn introductions on group discussion boards, bylines, videos/audios, media interviews, and so on. If you’re building evidence of thought leadership, a bio suite will be a key career communications tool you’ll benefit from having.|
|1-PAGE NETWORKING RESUME||Also known as a Personal Marketing Brief, this tool is a 1-page synopsis of your work history, credentials, achievements, and brand. It’s the ideal tool to network with and to use to introduce your candidacy to executive recruiters, influential contacts, and target companies. This tool opens doors and launches discussions about career possibilities.|
|LEADERSHIP CASE STUDIES||Best used by senior executives with a strong achievement record, this document profiles one or more achievements in greater depth than resumes or LinkedIn profiles can. This allows you to shine a light on your turnaround successes, say, or your strategizing and execution of a multifaceted change initiative.|
|E-NOTES||E-notes are emailed communications. As such, they should be shorter than cover letters traditionally are. Having a template, say, for an e-note to recruiters is a valuable tool. E-notes can help open doors via email or LinkedIn messages, but to work they must be brief, highly targeted, and to the point.|
|EMAIL SIGNATURE BLOCK||Never overlook the branding power of your email signature. Always use a dedicated email address for all career communications. This also allows you to use the email signature as a catalogue of links relevant to your career – your social media profiles, an online portfolio, multimedia presentations, and much, much more.|
|VOICE MAIL MESSAGES||Throughout your search you’re unlikely to reach many recruiters or hiring executives by phone, which means you’ll be leaving voice mails. It’s therefore critical to strategize ahead of time what you want to say when you do so. The right voice mail message, after all, can invite or deflect a call back. Why not have one scripted that covers a range of scenarios you are likely to encounter?|
|LINKEDIN INVITES||Never send a generic LI invitation to connect. The ideal solution is to craft a new one for each invite customized to the person and the circumstances, but the truth is that many such invites can be re-used. Having several in your hip pocket helps streamline your LinkedIn communications.|
|LINKEDIN INTRODUCTIONS||The same goes for LinkedIn introductions. You should be introducing yourself periodically to fellow LinkedIn group members, though hopefully without using the same intro each time you do so. Again, you can streamline your LinkedIn group communications by having several intros to choose from.|
|LINKEDIN MESSAGES||One of the strategies I recommend to my executive clients is courting recruiters and key contacts within companies. This “give to get” approach helps your candidacy stand out, but requires you to create multiple custom messages for sharing via LI.|
Which of these executive career communications tools do you use the most and why? Which are you most interested in taking for a test drive?