The Road to Executive Level Leadership

The Road to Executive Leadership

With there being a lot fewer executive positions than mid-level management roles, the road to executive leadership is highly competitive. Therefore, it’s abundantly more difficult to climb to this next rung of the corporate ladder. 

However, with the right attitude, work ethic and connections, you can prove your value and earn that coveted executive title and responsibility.

1. Understand And Embody ‘Executive Presence’

It seems as though the concept and practices of executive presence have tremendously increased in value over the years.  Last week we dove deep into what EP really is and found that, at the roots, executive presence is the powerful ability to inspire confidence.

Executive presence includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  EP consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

Technical skills might have landed the job, but an executive presence moves a manager up. 

 2. Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Lower levels of leadership focus on the day-to-day execution of the strategy. Executive levels focus on developing a broader view of the organization.

The development of strategic thinking allows you to become aware of the big picture.  Develop more skills in seeing the interconnections between the operating systems and long game strategy. Lean into thinking more strategically and from a systems perspective.

3. Maximize your Influence.

Given that great leadership is about influence, and not authority, you have to learn how to maximize your influence. Your ability to influence others is impacted by how you are perceived. Therefore, you have to figure out how to increase the perception of your value. The single best way to do that is to solve important problems for influential executives. 

4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – Network with the Entire Team

To lead at the executive level requires comfort outside of usual routines.  It’s relatively easy to limit our office interactions to those inside our sphere of expertise, however, to build confidence as a leader you’ll want to connect with the entire team.  Start expanding your tribe outside your core area.

Network with people from different parts of your organization in order to learn different business functions or program areas.

Build your reputation outside your comfort zone.  This way if/when opportunities open for advancement, decision-makers already know your name, and know it well.

5. Work With A Leadership Development Coach

As professional athletes know well, a trusted coach can soften the learning curve dramatically. A coach will guide you to clearly see your strengths, blind spots, and competencies. They will also show you how to identify the people and roles that will enable you to thrive.

Some coaches are focused on skill development, others are sounding boards. Find a coach who can do both and make the investment. 

6. Build Self-Awareness For Growth.

This is a big one. It can also be the toughest one to chew on. Building greater self-awareness about one’s leadership presence and effectiveness is a key piece to preparing for an executive-level position. If possible, participate in a 360-degree feedback process.

This process can uncover your leadership strengths to build upon, as well as, identify others’ perceptions of your efficacy.  Disparities included.

7. Be Clear in Your Goals.

If you have a clear goal for your career, let it be known. Ask your immediate supervisor to craft a skill plan for you on exactly what you need to do to get to the level you want. Then start executing. It will take a combination of building relationships, professional training, results you’ve achieved, and lots and lots of emotional intelligence. If you really are in it for the long haul, let it be known.

8. Develop Executive Courage.

It’s usually the tough decisions that move the needle. Therefore, executive courage around action, communication and trust is a critical leadership skill. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. You cultivate executive courage by trying new strategies (even if some fail), engaging in crucial conversations and confronting challenging situations that trigger discomfort.

9. Manage Up

Managing up is a common challenge for emerging leaders. It’s important to manage your own boss, as well as extended relationships with your boss’ boss, board members, C-level executives, etc. These relationships directly correlate with the level of influence you have. Knowing what to communicate, when and with whom, will increase the visibility of your impact as a leader. 

10. Think About What The Company Needs

The end result, on the road to executive leadership, you want to build your business acumen. By showing you can make good judgments and quick decisions, you show preparedness toward the next step in career growth.

An executive is accountable at a whole new level. If a manager wants to move up, they need to think about what the company needs. Have the team you manage to be outstanding. Be known as someone who helps other people succeed. Be someone whose word is impeccable.

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence - What it really is.

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

Will Resumes Be Necessary in 2020?

will resumes be necessary in 2020

There has been a lot of talk about resumes becoming less important in the future. We understand things change rapidly in the world of hiring practices, but could this be true? Will resumes be necessary in 2020?

It has been said that resumes really only account for about 10% of the hiring process and that social media accounts are replacing resumes. While it’s true, hiring managers are using social media platforms to investigate and vet potential employees, the idea that the resume is going away is not actually supported by career experts.

Social Media vs. Resume

Undoubtedly, recruiters are turning to platforms like LinkedIn, when they connect with potential candidates, what do you think is the first thing they ask for? That’s right, a resume!

LinkedIn is a great place to build your “brand” and strategically develop your profile to reflect your professional interests, experiences, and what you have to offer. Additionally, a great advantage to LinkedIn are the recommendations and multi-media options. All of these are great tools to entice recruiters, and once they are interested, that’s when a resume will always be necessary.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

More than 98% of Fortune 500 companies are utilizing the benefits of ATS these days. In the past decade, only the larger companies were using ATS. Now, it’s common practice for smaller companies to also be using ATS. This means that the chances of your resume being scanned for keywords and phrases are even greater. This allows the recruiters to filter out potential candidates and theoretically make sure their candidate is a good fit for the position.

The responsibility is really on you, the applicant, to be sure that keywords and phrases are in your resume. The success of your resume will be totally dependent upon ATS.

Resume Formatting for 2020

Knowing that ATS is so valuable and will only grow in importance in the future, how can you be sure you are ready for it? One of the most important things to consider is the fact that, while word processing details can make your resume fancier, ATS prefers very simple text-based documents.

Applicant Tracking Systems are very particular about formatting. There are many fonts they can’t “see”. They cannot “read” what’s in a text box, and pictures or graphics do not mean anything. However, bold, italics, underline, and shading is fine.

It’s one thing to hand out fancy resumes, but when it comes to applying online for jobs, simple, text-based, .doc resumes are going to increase your chances.

Beware Social Media Self-Expression

Now that we live in a world where it’s easy to google another person, recruiters too have adopted this ease in their candidate research. Knowing you will be researched, use it to your advantage!

Create social media accounts where you can develop your brand. Allow these accounts to reflect who you are, what you’re about, and what you have accomplished. As always, carefully consider if your accounts are reflecting the kind of information that you would want recruiters to find. While it’s fun to be impulsive and passionate about our social profiles, to maintain professionalism remember to consider future perspectives.

2020 Job Search

Not a lot is changing when it comes to the job search. While there is an increasing role for social media platforms, the resume is still essential. Another “old school” idea that still, and will probably ALWAYS be important is NETWORKING. In truth, someone who is referred to a hiring manager is more likely to get an interview and with the potential to be hired.

So, don’t be shy, network with your friends, in-laws, and other folks you know in your industry. Referrals always have an advantage compared to someone the hiring manager has no reference for.

If you have any questions about your resume or job search, reach out for a free resume review and consultation. Our team at PWC offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Coaching and Recruitment services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



How To Negotiate Salary and Benefits

When it comes to hiring negotiations employers rarely make their best offer first. Like all business practices, the negotiation process is strategic. Additionally, candidates who intentionally negotiate salary and benefits generally earn more than those who don’t.

Plus, a well-thought-out negotiation shows the strength of your character which, in turn, portrays the powerhouse employee you plan to be.

Prior to the interview, make time to do research. Know the industry salary standards and learn about the company’s current salary and benefits ranges. These understandings will be valuable when asked for your ideal salary.

During the interview, hold off on the money talk.

Honestly, discussing financials too early can be a major cooling point. The time to talk about money is when they’ve fallen in love with you. Once the employer has decided you’re right for the job, then all focus can move to the big money.

Inevitably, of course, you will be asked about salary expectations. It’s a common tendency for people to lowball their salary range. We get it.  Everyone wants to stay in the game when this question comes into play. It helps to specifically know in advance what you want from the position.

Know your worth and consider not just your short-range salary goals but also your long-term career momentum.

The Offer Is On The Table: 3 Tips for Next Steps

Don’t Commit Too Quickly: Employers often offer the job and salary simultaneously. Never say yes right away — even if you like the offer. Tell them you’ll give them an answer within a certain time frame. There is nothing wrong with coming back to try and get more.

Articulate Your Expectations: Consider whatever has a perceived value to you.  This could be time off, flexibility about where you work, autonomy or ownership over a specific area or the basics of job title. Tell the employer what you want from the job, in terms of salary, benefits, and opportunity.

Negotiate Extras: If the employer can’t offer you the salary you want, think about other valuable options that might not cost as much. Remember, education is a great benefit which not only costs employers less to offer but can make a big difference in your long-term marketability.

You also can add a few contingencies showing your confidence in your performance.

You could ask the employer to give you a salary review after six months rather than a year. You could open the discussion for a year-end bonus if you achieve certain goals. It shows that you believe in yourself and are committed to bringing significant value to the organization.

Now, the first step is to get yourself out there! Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn optimization, our team at Power Writers has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

7 Reasons LinkedIn Is Your #1 Job Search Site

7 Reasons LinkedIn Is Your #1 Job Search Site

When used properly, LinkedIn can be a job-seekers best friend. With an optimized profile, you can send a broader message of your skills and achievement to gain an endless amount of connections. Making LinkedIn Your #1 Job Search Site.

However, LinkedIn profiles are not to be used as a copy and paste of your resume. Remember, this is a networking tool.  The aim is to showcase more than your resume can while still using mandatory keywords and SEO optimization

1. Make Your Headline Count

Your LinkedIn headline is your online brand. Along with the profile picture, the name and headline are what impact those who view the profile.  Keep that headline tidy and on-point to stand out from the crowd.  Consider how these 2 headlines sound:

“Marketer seeking next opportunity”

or

“Consumer Products Marketer Looking for Small Brand to Make Big”

No brainer, right? Make your headline count! 

2. Follow Your Target Companies

First off, if you haven’t already, create a list of ideal companies that align with your interests and skills.  Use this list as your go-to for snooping around LinkedIn with intent. 

Now, go follow those specific companies.

This way, you’ll hear about anything new they’ve got happening. from a new branch office opening to a new product release or possibly even a hiring push.

3. Broaden Your Network

If you haven’t been meticulous about inviting new networking contacts and old colleagues to join your LinkedIn network, get caught up now! You can download your address books from any webmail application or Outlook contacts.

Consider this, one new first-degree contact with 100 connections of their own can expand your first-second-and-third-degree network by tens of thousands of people.

That’s good at any point, but especially in a job search where you’re looking for as much visibility into your professional ecosystem as you can get.

4. Get That Intro!

If your first-degree connection knows someone you’d like to talk to, ask for an introduction.

Just browse to your target person’s LinkedIn profile, look for the blue link that says “Send a Message” and click on the arrow on the right of the link.  If you and your target person have a common connection, you’ll see a “Get an Introduction” pull-down menu. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy.

5. Find Your Hiring Manager

You can use the Advanced People Search to find hiring managers in most companies.  Click ‘Advanced’ next to the search bar at the top of the page. Then enter your target company name with the most likely title for your hiring manager as a second search term.

For instance, if you’re a Marketing person, your hiring manager could be Marketing Director or Marketing VP.  Use your instinct and search around a bit.  You’ll likely find the connection you need in no time!

 6. Your Network Is A Fountain of Wisdom

Go back to the Advanced Search page and conduct a search using just your target company’s name as a search term. Who in your network is connected to that company, and how? Those folks can do more than just make introductions. They can offer insight into the company and also who they may know directly.

Remember that a job search is not just about being noticed and making connections. It’s also about learning enough to decide whether a company can use your talents plus grow your skills.  A little research can show whether it’s worth your time to pursue opportunities with your target company.

7. Stay In It!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to using LinkedIn for job search purposes. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

How to Maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles

linkedin

LinkedIn maintains the largest business professional social network and is the prime route recruiters travel to finding talent. However, from what we’ve seen, many clients need help to know how to maximize ROI on LinkedIn profiles.

Sure, it’s a quick and easy way to reconnect with a co-worker from way back when or an old college friend, but LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for lead generation, market research, and global networking.

To maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles, learn about LinkedIn’s little-known and advanced features to help you unlock its potential to the greatest extent possible.

Before you spend money on premium accounts or paid marketing.

Be specific on how you plan to use LinkedIn. For example, are you:

  • expanding your network,
  • promoting your business,
  • contributing to a discussion,
  • or publishing your own content specific to your expertise.

If you’re going to contribute, then put thought into the subject and truly contribute.  The same thing goes for expanding your network or promoting your business. 

To get more out of your LinkedIn account, the simplest thing you can do is to increase your participation and choose your focus. 

linkedin profile optimization resume update

For Owners Of B2B Companies

The keys to using LinkedIn as a tool for lead generation are establishing and developing a strong profile. Make sure your profile containing keywords and phrases. You want to draw leads to you and build up your list of connections and followers.

Your goal should be to convey a strong, professional image supportive of your brand identity. Show people what you have to offer, be confident. Own your voice!

The trick is to be authentic, share what matters to you and your company so the right following can find you.

All types of businesses can use LinkedIn as a lead-generation tool by mining competitor connections and searching for senior leaders and decision-makers at companies they are targeting,

Here are some facts and statistics about LinkedIn:

  • Total number of LinkedIn users: 645 million
  • Total number of LinkedIn business pages:  3 million
  • 88 of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn’s to search for job candidates
  • 97.3% of staffing professionals overall use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool
  • Profiles with professionals headshots receive 14x more views.
  • Profiles with 5+ skills listed get 17x more profile views.
  • Number of standard skills available to list on LinkedIn 50,000

So, how big is LinkedIn today?

Brenda Bernstein, author of How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile writes, “In 2011, 73% of all hires sourced from social media were sourced from LinkedIn as opposed to 20% from Facebook and 7% from Twitter.” 

Today, that number has reached over 90%.

Those are some hefty metrics!  So how optimized is your profile? 

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to LinkedIn. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



Do I Need Multiple Versions Of My Resume?

multiple resume yes or no

It’s a common question.  Do I need multiple versions of my resume? 

This is an important issue to discuss because a lot of professionals tend to develop a background in at least three, or even more, thematic work areas as time and their careers progress. In this article, we show both sides of the equation and the reasoning behind them. 

Spoiler alert:  The short answer is no but let’s discuss all angles.

In modern business practices, job seekers develop a wide range of skills and experiences. It is competitive out there and staying ahead of the game requires diversification. For example, some job applicants have worked in human resources, communications, and event planning. 

“The quote I got from XYZ Resume Writers which says I need 3 different resumes and to focus on one specialization to keep the resume simple. Do I really need multiple versions of my resume?”

This perspective and business model is, more times than not, a reflection of the individual writer’s underdeveloped skill set.  It takes finesse to really shape the context of a work history into a professional format with high success rates.

So, can HR, Communications, and Event Planning all be covered in a single resume? 

We believe in a resounding YES. A professional resume writer with extensive years of experience can formulate diverse history into a keyword-rich resume that exceeds expectations.

It’s not what you’ve done in the past, but rather the direction you plan to go next.

There are always transferable skills that help ease the transition and bridge roles.

A written format that highlights all the skills acquired in these roles and draws a bigger picture directed towards the roles you are aiming for. 

Without the resume reading as cluttered and indigestible to the reader’s eye.

professional resume writer uses keywords for success

It’s about streamlining without losing focus on keywords. It’s about representing your assets with varying themes and keeping it tidy.

Plus, it is time-consuming to keep modifying a major chunk of your resume just to highlight focus. Why pay a writer to create a product which you then have to babysit and micro manage?

All this is assuming you are maintaining your current career path. 

Now, if you’re jumping entire industries or career fields then, yes, perhaps it may be necessary to have more than one resume in your toolkit.

For example, you started out as a roofer and then became a builder and later moved into sales of roofing products. As part of your role, you were very involved in a new software implementation and you’ve decided to go into IT. That sort of transition requires a finely-tuned eye to keep the right content, and minimize or eliminate the (less) valuable content…. relating directly to how the resume performs for you.

Additionally, If there’s too much going on it can be difficult for recruiters to judge whether you are actually good at the role they want you to perform. Again, a really strong resume writer will help direct the keywords and content to be heavy in the direction you want to go.

That being said, if you are looking to change career paths, Power Writers USA is here to help reshape your resume for success across your entire search. Feel free to connect with us for a free consultation and resume review.

Remember, the name of the game is algorithms and ATS filters, which is everybody’s challenge right now.  The past few years, formatting styles have changed and with that in mind, we’d love to take a look at what specifics points our team can do to improve the impact your resume makes across all your ideal job prospects.

Shifting Careers Between Freelance and Corporate

career change freelance corporate


We’ve recently been looking at the double lane highway of shifting careers between freelance and corporate life.  From the perspective of professional resume writers, we’ve definitely seen equal movement between these 2 career directions.

Without question, transitioning from life at a corporate firm to working freelance is a HUGE life change. The greatest technique is in all the individual action steps taken to create a strong outcome. Successes certainly live in the daily grind.

Write a plan of action.

This helps maintain accountability and keep you on track.

If you’re not entirely familiar with the details of a business plan, that’s perfectly fine.  Think of your plan like a map. Begin with goal setting. Outline short-term and long-term goals and place them into a loose chronological order, the specific dates matter less than the actual structure.

Don’t burn any bridges.

Although it’s tempting to skip gleefully out of the door on your last day in the office telling everybody how great your new life is going to be, don’t.  You never know when you might need these contacts again, not to mention references from your employer. Leaving with a recommendation is never a bad outcome. 

Friendly reminder: The world is a very small place. and you never know where your future clients may be. 

Network.

This may sound dramatic but, ultimately you need to make sure EVERYONE knows you are going freelance: ex-colleagues, friends, old classmates, that neighbor with a beard.  Everyone.  Remember, getting work once you go freelance can take longer than imagined so build-up a client base in all ways possible.

Work is much more likely to come through known contacts. That’s just the nature of humans in general. We work with who we know and trust.

Network as much as possible, both in person and on social media.

Speak to friends or acquaintances who have made the leap to freelancing. These people are valuable resources for advice not just on those first few weeks starting out, but for the long haul.

Essentially freelancing is building your personal brand. 

This is a fact. Fortunately, there is ample information out there on the specifics of personal branding.  Quickprout has a nice guide that summarizes the process giving actionable items that help map the route. A quick Google tour will land you in front of some seriously good content for designing and managing your own personal brand.

Utilize social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all useful tools. Additionally, if your LinkedIn profile isn’t yet optimized, get it there.  Our team is highly skilled at LinkedIn optimizations that show clients in their best light possible.  This is mandatory in today’s workforce.

Optimize linkedin profile

94% of recruiters are searching for talent on LinkedIn. Use this tool.

Lastly, consider starting a blog. Yes, they are timely but well-designed search engine optimized (SEO) blogs are a great way to drive attention towards your website. This, in turn, builds an audience and potential client base.

Don’t be shy about putting your business out there.

Now, if you find yourself on the highway heading back to corporate structures then the strategy is dramatically different. At this point, your resume must highlight all the unique skills acquired as a freelancer plus reflect positively on the actual time away from the workforce.

As always Power Writers Canada is here to help guide you through the steps. Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWC. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review! Paragraph

Unquestionably, unless you are a writing wizard, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional resume writer now.  Freelance skills are diverse and translating all the detailed specifics to corporate necessity is key to your resume making it through ATS and recruiter processes.