A Guide to Developing Your Unique and Highly Impactful Professional Brand
As an Executive Resume Writer and Founder of Resume Professionals, I have more than a decade of experience writing Resumes, Bios, and LinkedIn Profiles for the top C-Suite Executives from Fortune 500 and Future 50 companies, including:
Microsoft, LinkedIn, Starbucks, Tesla, JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, SAP, Samsung, Dell Technologies, Boeing, HP, Oracle, USAA, Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, 3M, Palo Alto Networks, VMWare, Workday, Morgan Stanley, Cisco Systems, Accenture, Oracle, Deutsche Bank, UnitedHealth Group, Siemens Energy, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and U.S. Bancorp.
My specialty is helping clients determine their unique and impactful professional brand and career narrative that give recruiters and companies a clear, complete, and concise picture of what you can do for their organization.
What is Your Professional Brand?
At the heart of your brand, is what you bring to an organization. Clients are often uncomfortable talking about their accomplishments for fears they appear like they are bragging or don’t appear humble. It’s important to remember, it’s not bragging if it’s on a resume and presented factually. Now, if you find yourself talking a lot about your YoY growth, without being asked, then we can talk. But, for a resume, accomplishments not only expected, they’re required.
“Resumes are marketing documents. The goal is to highlight your skills and elevate your specific results, impacts, and achievements.”
With this value in mind, I created a step-by-step guide to determine your unique and powerful professional brand based on your goals, what skills are in demand, and what you excel at achieving in an organization.
Step 1: Research, Research, Research
If you are looking for positions that typically get posted, spend a few nights scrolling through LinkedIn Jobs or Indeed to see what stands out or looks interesting. Start with 3-5 postings that are most similar to ones you would like to target and make a list of all of the main job duties and key skills listed in each posting – paying specific attention to the required qualifications sections and any skills or experiences that are mentioned as a bonus. Note the skills, duties, and impact points that you see repeated across postings to use later to help inform your value proposition.
If you are pursuing Board roles or senior-level CXO positions, you won’t necessarily have job postings to guide you but there are a handful of key executive skills to keep in mind such as executive leadership, growth, strategic planning, business and digital transformations, optimizations, organizational leadership, and strategic partnerships.
“Pay extra attention to experiences surrounding rapid growth, M&As, integrations, pre- and post-IPO experience, and any reporting, presenting, or serving on committees and Boards.”
Step 2: Focus on Results
The next step is to figure out what you bring to an organization, almost like a summary of what you do for a company and how you add value.
Start with your current or most recent position and write down all of your achievements, results, and impacts. Focus on leadership roles, projects, and opportunities, how many people you led, whether you had budgeting or P&L responsibility, cross-functional collaborations and strategic partnerships.
“Keep the skills you researched from your target roles in mind as you write down your impacts, achievements, and results.”
At this stage, the goal is to you write down everything you think is important and, essentially, data mine all your past roles for the most impactful experiences to highlight.
More often than not, you’ll notice that themes start to emerge with your skills across each role. Themes are usually surrounded around your industry as well as your role or function, but, not always, so stay open to what you skills and impacts you see showing up multiple times across different positions.
Step 3: Define your value proposition.
Finally, you get to put all your research to good use. Combine the emerging themes from your past achievements with the research on key skills from your target position to determine 4-6 key skills that will form your value proposition, career narrative, and headline for your resume.
Adding descriptive adjectives like strategic, innovative, and transformative or great to add but stay away from soft skills, personality traits, and traits that define your work ethic for your professional brand. Those are valuable to include in your resume, but not impactful enough for your professional brand.
Here are a few examples from past clients.
For a Consumer Marketing VP of a major social network company, the professional brand was an “Innovative Leader Who Drives Engagement & Revenue Growth Through Innovative Marketing & Product Strategies for Consumer Businesses”. Making sure to highlight the rapid growth achieved through subscription services, performance marketing, digital transformations, and customer-focused engagement in each role.
Your professional brand can also be more conversational in tone. For the VP of a industry-leading Fortune 50 technology company, the professional brand was “High Tech Executive and Board Member with 20+ years of experience driving growth through innovation and marketing, leveraging a unique combination of B2B and B2C experience.”
You can also use first person to create a more personal touch with your professional brand. For an early Tesla pioneer, we changed the professional brand to “I am a strategic, driven, and proven IT Executive who aligns strategy, technology, GTM, and product innovation to drive business and digital transformation at startups and established companies” and then went on to list all of the technology companies worked for.
“Remember, as you define your own unique and impactful professional brand, the goal is to clearly and concisely convey what you can do for an organization and what your bring to a company. “
Katie Stewart is a highly sought-after Executive & Board Writer and the Founder of Resume Professionals with 12 years’ experience writing Resumes, CVs, LinkedIn profiles, and Bios for Executives, Board Members, and senior leaders looking to elevate their careers to the next level.