Alex Douzet had many online profiles, but no written resume; Certified professional resume writer Irene Marshall swept his Web trail to create an effective executive resume.
Alex Douzet had no need for a resume in many years. He still worked at Ladders (the company he helped to found in 2003), he wasn’t looking for a job, and his LinkedIn profile was all the career promotion he cared to pursue. But he decided he needed to put together an official resume to represent his career and achievements.
Turns out he already had the makings of a resume and so do you and nearly everyone else. Scattered across the Web are the details of your career in bits and bytes that in are the pieces of a comprehensive resume. To an experienced resume writer corporate biographies, alumni sites, countless social network profiles, news coverage of your personal and corporate achievements, even regulatory documents and corporate collateral can comprise a thorough accounting of your professional career.
Using your online profiles as semi-raw material can save a lot of time and effort in creating a new resume, but consider it a skeleton, said Irene Marshall, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders and helped Douzet fashion a resume. A scattered online presence lacks focus and won’t represent who you are or what you can do, she said. It also presents the risk of misrepresenting or embarrassing you.
From the “about us” page at companies you no longer work for to negative news articles and social network sites with embarrassing photos, the data track you left during your high-profile career will not only lead recruiters and potential employers to your gate, it may scare them away.
Marshall, an experienced career coach and resume writer who spent four years as a recruiter at Robert Half International before teaming with Ladders, was able to fashion a full resume for Douzet based on those documents and a brief conversation.
The result: “I look good in that resume,” Douzet said. “I felt that Irene had done a great job at presenting and positioning my achievements over the past 15 years. Hiring Irene was like hiring a top-tier advertising agency to produce my marketing campaign.”
Meat on the bones
Marshall began reconstructing Douzet’s career by reviewing his LinkedIn profile, which she said was detailed but not resume-ready. It served more as a timeline and added some meat to the bones of data she found on the Web, she said.
It’s often a good idea to write a resume from the bottom up – starting with information about education, early career and other information that tends not to change or be drastically restated to show how they apply to a current job search, Marshall said.
“Whether it’s your resume or someone else’s, you have to know how to ask the right questions,” Marshall said. Since the assumption was that the resume should reflect the most valuable things he does now for Ladders, his role in managing operations was just as important as his role as co-founder.
“Co-founder and president are two very different roles in a company; the strategy was that we had to address both,” she said.
“His profile said he helped establish Ladders. ‘What did you do?’ I had to ask him. He wrote the business plan and raised $800,000 and then another $7 million. That was good. Did you hire and manage the key staff? Well, yes he did. That’s important.
“A startup can be two guys in a garage, but when you look at the rapid growth of Ladders, he and Marc (Cenedella, Ladders founder and CEO), must have hired the right people around them,” Marshall said. “In Silicon Valley, especially during the dotcom crash, you saw a lot of companies coming down because there were all these guys who didn’t know how to hire the right people around them.”
If Douzet had been looking for a job as chief strategy officer or rainmaker for another startup, it would have been more important to focus on the ability to put together a credible business plan and raise money, Marshall said. As president, Douzet has the head of every business line reporting to him, responsibility for all the company’s 300-plus employees and full profit-and-loss responsibility.
Marshall also added Douzet’s fluency in several languages and his history working in France and England, items she would normally omit or conceal, because they speak to his role directing Ladders expansion in Europe and Asia.
A dispassionate eye
The finished product impressed and even surprised Douzet.
“Even if I had used tips and guideline for resume writing I could have never produced such a great marketing document on my own,” he said.
But the true value for the executive was the power of a dispassionate and critical eye on his personal history; someone to edit and delete the pieces of his personal history he himself might have been unwilling to dismiss.
“The key for me is that resume writers are emotionally detached from the product they are promoting and therefore can be more objective in positioning yourself and highlighting your main achievements,” he said. “This resulted in a higher quality resume!”