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Book Excerpt: Graham's Manual of Style for Resumes and Cover Letters

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On July 14, Kathy Graham will bring her knowledge and expertise to NYSSA's Career Day. Ms. Graham, principal of HQ Search Inc., has more than 15 years of experience as an executive search recruiter. The following is an excerpt from her book, Graham's Manual of Style for Resumes and Cover Letters, which is included in the tuition for each workshop.

Marketing yourself within your organization results in more promotions and less risk of having your position eliminated in downturns. Many of the individuals who are cut from a company’s workforce are not the worst performing. Unfortunately for them, these individuals were just not as politically savvy in being recognized for their contributions. They were the “heads down, get the job done” worker bees. In addition to acceptable work performance, career success requires developing strong networks of like-minded co-workers, assistants, and bosses with complementary skills to be promoted and/or retained.

Marketing yourself outside of your organization entails developing an external network of contacts that can connect you with your next career move upwards. Yes, recruiters are a significant source of career progression but executive search has always been the number two source of job changes. The number one source has always been personal referral. Increase the number of people in the right level positions who like you and respect your accomplishments equals you increasing the likelihood of your career reaching stellar heights. Having a well developed network also provides a safety net during economic downturns when recruiters become less effective because the number of searches they’re working on declines significantly…

External and internal marketing techniques haven’t changed. Effective marketing has been impacted, however, by technology. Companies now need great websites and more polished promotional materials to sell their goods. 

Individuals now need resumes that sell them better, that are more effective as marketing material. If someone requests a resume from you today, and what you give them is not a phenomenal resume, they are likely to think less of your capabilities. You have not demonstrated your ability to sell your product, which is you.

Also, the world for the internal marketing of you needs a better selling vehicle (which is what a resume is) at an important point you know well—compensation review time. Show up at that session with all your achievements spelled out clearly and the odds are that your raise will be positively impacted by that new and improved resume information. If it isn’t, you’re ready to find some firm elsewhere that can show the appreciation for your talents that you have earned.

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