John Hadley's Career Accelerator Blog
Seek Answers to Your Career / Career Search Challenges

October 2008
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Résumé Writers
Filed under: General, Résumé
Posted by: John Hadley @ 8:44 pm

I’ve several times responded to people posting requests like this:

“I need assistance in writing a successful résumé for a mid-senior management level position in the finance/operations area. I am looking for a finance or operations professional who can sit down and work with a mid-senior level manager to write a winning résumé.”

My response?

I would recommend you think of your needs beyond the résumé, as that is just the tip of the iceberg. A career search is a sales campaign, and your winning résumé is your sales brochure. You still need to be able to sell your product (yourself) in your cover letters, thank you letters, networking meetings, interviews, etc. If you are struggling to write a winning résumé, it suggests you need to also work on the stories that back up that résumé, on your 30 second elevator pitch, on your extended 2 minute pitch, on the various skills and techniques you should perfect to be an outstanding marketer of your ‘product.’

When I work with clients on their résumés, it’s a collaborative effort.  I interview them on exactly what they accomplished, why it was important, what challenges they had to overcome, and what results they achieved.  We explore what possible metrics can be included that will best reflect their contributions.  I suggest wording that I believe reflects the achievements in the most compelling way, but expect my client to be the final arbiter of what should go into the résumé.

Whatever you decide, please consider working with someone who is not just a résumé writer, but offers the full range of services you might need, and who can bring the perspective of those other aspects into how the résumé is constructed.

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Presenting A Powerful Message
Filed under: General, Résumé, Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 8:45 pm

Posted to a networking group to which I belong:

“I was recently consulting in finance for 8 months and got let go. My position was in marketing, but now I want to explore other opportunities either outside of finance or other marketing or possibly even sales outside of finance. I need a new challenge and stability at the same time. Does anyone have any suggestions? I posted my resumes to numerous different job posting website and sent it out to headhunters and also applied to a few jobs…I have also joined Linked in and have been networking. I don’t have the money to pay for career counseling or anything like that. Any ideas?”

My answer:

Here’s one thought - post messages that clearly lay out your target and what you can accomplish for that target - a very results-oriented statement. For example, what did you accomplish in marketing? What are the types of “other opportunities either outsitde of…” that you want to explore?

Look at your resume and make sure it is very results-oriented and communicates “what’s in it for me?” to the hiring manager. This is the difference between, for example, a meaningless Objective statement at the top of a resume like

“Financial Analyst”

and a marketing headline like

“Financial analyst who identifies, develops, and implements innovative process improvements and cost controls that transform productivity levels.”

For more on results-oriented messages, see this article:

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Elevator Pitch vs. 2 Minute Pitch
Filed under: Networking, Interview
Posted by: John Hadley @ 4:12 pm

I was asked to write on the difference between the “Elevator Pitch” and the “2 Minute Pitch”, and the elements that go into each.

An “Elevator Pitch” is the short, engaging statement you are going to make to draw someone into conversation with you. The term comes from the idea that it should be short enough to deliver between floors on the elevator where you’ve run into a potentially influential contact. The typical time frame people think of for this is 30 seconds or less.

In fact, my experience is that 80% of the Elevator Pitches delivered are fairly ineffective. (When I give workshops on the “Killer Marketing Message” to business networking groups, where people are very experienced with giving such pitches, and ask how many they just heard that they found truly engaging, I STILL get an answer like 10-20%.)

The reason is that most people get stuck in their titles and duties, instead of focusing strictly on answering the fundamental question, “Why Should I Pay Your Salary?” or “Why Should I Pay For Your Product / Service?”

Here’s a short article that talks about this a bit more:

The “2 Minute Pitch” refers to the story you want to tell at the start of any interview, and often at the start of an extended 1-on-1 networking meeting, to help frame the discussion. Here the idea is to give the interviewer or networking contact a more complete picture of the entire package you bring to the table, in no more than 2 minutes.

Just as with the “Elevator Pitch”, Your “2 Minute Pitch” needs to be engaging. It needs to communicate selected results you have delivered or could deliver to keep it interesting and to provide the ‘hooks’ for further conversation and questions. There are many ways you can approach this, and I have developed one format for this has proven very effective for many people, which I refer to this as your “HERO Story.”  Here’s an article on putting together your HERO Story:

Your Message: Focus On Results
Filed under: Résumé, Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 8:43 pm

This is excerpted from a posting to a group to which I belong:

I have been searching for a few months, and have not found a really good management recruitment firm to work with.  At the suggestion of a member of the group, I figured I would come to you folks and see if I might have some luck.  Below is a quick synapses of my skills, experience and abilities. If any of you know of or have an opportunity that you feel I might be good for, please let me know.

Here was my response:

One of the reasons you may not be getting the attention your experience deserves is your message. You do a good job describing the experience and qualities you bring to the table, but you haven’t addressed the most important “attribute” you bring to a prospective employer - the results you can produce for them.

For example, look at this excerpt from the introduction letter you attached:

“last several years managing the IT Operations group for a large division of a well known international software company, while also performing as the CIO for an IT consulting firm. The prior several years were spent as a senior analyst/architect leading large and small teams of professionals on a wide variety of IT projects.”

This gives no indication whether you actually accomplished anything for either the division or the IT consulting firm, just that you managed one and performed as CIO for the other. And a jaded hiring manager is likely to assume that since you didn’t say more, you probably didn’t accomplish much; not to mention wondering if you really did a very good job for either since you were splitting your time and focus.

Then you talk about leading teams on IT projects. But were any of those projects delivered on time? Within budget? In a way that accomplished anything of consequence for those companies?

The ONLY reason someone hires you is because of the RESULTS they expect you will produce.  Your elevator pitch, your 2 minute pitch, your resume, your cover letter, and everything you do needs to clearly communicate results you can produce.

Here’s a short article on this relative to your Elevator Pitch:

Oh, and with regard to seeking to work with recruiting firms, see this article:


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