Putting Your Profits On Paper

The executive who is changing companies - whether or not he employs professional help - usually must put himself on paper. This may mean a personal resume, or a short biography if he's a senior executive. Or he may decide on using several well-placed personal letters instead. Whatever the choice, this presentation on paper is one of the least-understood - but most important - aspects of changing jobs.

The biography or "bio" - a brief, low-key, personal history - has its merits. And there's the standard resume that openly "sells" and mainly details your business career. The finely tooled personal letter - directed to the directorof a company - also has its place. The question: What form to use and how to use it.

The resume, of course, is a basic tool at the junior executive and middle-management level. It should start with a short but effective statement of career objective (often left out), followed by a section of personal and educational facts. Then the main part: A chronology (or maybe an essay treatment) of your job history. This account probably should name all employers, including your present one. The idea, of course, is to point up your capabilities. A very short covering letter should go out with each resume, the letter always individually typed and tailored to the particular company. If you state salary requirements, do so in the letter, not the resume.

The resume, frankly, is largely the device of the man on his way up - who still feels the need to "sell" himself. But sometimes it is useful to a top executive with a smaller or medium-sized concern when he wants more aggressive exposure than a bio provides. One of the reasons why a top manager of a larger company would need a conventional resume is to have a piece of paper to file with a professional executive recruiter. Such firms as Heidrick & Struggles, Ward Howell, Canny-Bowen-Howard-Peck, and Boyden Associates, plus some larger management consulting and accounting firms, rely at least partly on resumes. The resume, though, has some limitations.

A senior executive in a known company - assuming that his move will rest largely on personal business contacts - may prudently decide to use a biography. The reason is apparent: The bio - one page tops, compared with two for a resume - is a little like a Who's Who entry. In fact, it's done in pretty much the same style. Unlike the resume, it has no "career objective" section; and if it does list all your past companies (though it needn't), it won't expand on your various jobs and responsibilities to show what you can do. The bio says, in effect: "Here's a summation of my personal history." It makes no pitch.

When you use a bio you assume that the facts will speak for themselves. The bio reflects an attitude of success - a man who knows his status and needn't rely on the more promotional resume. It is straightforward and discreet. And it is used discreetly. Unlike the resume, the bio goes to only a few important business contacts; it is not mailed out to a list of people. In a subtle way, though, the bio does some selling, of course. Its very air of self-assurance is low-key salesmanship - but this will come off only if matched by the man who (often casually) presents it.

The personal letter, individually written to the chief executive officer of a company, can be the preferred approach (assuming you're well past the junior executive level). This is the best appointment-maker you can find, says Carl R. Boll, author and placement chairman of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. But, cautions Boll, send your letter to the top man in the company - never to the second line. Have a bio or short resume on hand when you are invited in for a talk.

Finally, all leading advisers in this field stress two points to keep in mind: Take time for careful preparation of a resume, bio, or letter; and above all, write it yourself and keep it brief. "A professionally written job usually has a false veneer," says one.


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Some Tips On Smart Job Bargaining In The year 2013

These days, notes Princeton (N.J.) consultant Robert Sibson, job-changing among top executives and middle-rank managers is a fluid affair. It is big and important, and never-ending. Sibson adds: "Today, the bargaining thrust is on the side of the qualified executive who wants to make a change. But the question may be, does he know how to bargain for pay?" Sibson, along with most employment specialists, feels that too often the answer is "no."

Basically, a manager's bargaining power is determined by his skill and past performance, and the new company's need for his skill. But what he does with this built-in leverage depends largely on his own savvy. "A key question is whether the new company... see: Some Tips On Smart Job Bargaining In The year 2013