No, Virginia, the Resume Is NOT Dead

We live in a digital age. We can get all our information delivered instantaneously on a mini computer right in the palm of our hand. Personal branding in 140 characters or less. Immediate gratification. Followers, likes, shares are metrics for success. Detached, instant communication seems to be the way of the world.

I recently read an article about a young man who attempted securing employment through the “old-fashion” method of sending out resumes with not one bit of success. He got creative and launched an online campaign including videos, a website, Twitter feed and all the technology available.

His results were impressive – garnering incredible visibility and numerous inquiries from highly sought after organizations. It was a fun article to read and I congratulation him on his success. He is also the exception, not the rule.

For the majority of job seekers or career changer a resume is a necessity. To understand why, we first have to understand the purpose of a resume and how it factors into your entire job search and personal branding.

Before we get to the resume, let us set up the foundation: if you are looking to move in, up or on in your career you are officially in sales.

Welcome to Sales

Your product is you. Before you can be successful selling a product, you must first understand it inside and out. Your target market is essentially making a major purchase in hiring you. For intelligent buyers, they want to get all the information about a product: benefits, strengths and comparison to the competition – why it is the best of the best and what it can do for them.

Welcome to Marketing

Just do it. We’ll leave the light on for you. I’m lovin’ it. Think different. Can you hear me now? Because you are worth it. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Marketing is essential to sales. It incorporates knowledge of target audiences with what is important and resonates to them. A tag line is great, but it takes a lot of knowledge, research and writing about the product in order to create something so succinct.

Your tag line is your elevator pitch or networking speech. The in-depth research and specs about your product is your resume.

The Foundation of Your Sales Campaign

A dead resume is one that only gives facts without value. Facts are telling the reader what you were hired to do. Value demonstrates to the reader what you did. A good sales presentation allows the reader to see the value in their world. It excites them to learn more.

Hired to do vs. what you did

Stating that you were responsible for all operations for a division is stating what you were hired to do. It does not mean you were successful at it. Stating that you oversaw the operations for a number of years also does not demonstrate value. Length of time does not equate to value.

Value is demonstrated by a combination of stating what you did, how you did it, whom you worked with and how they benefited. Take just one element of that operations role and answer those questions, for example, “Utilized key metrics and analysis of P&L, key location opportunities, customer service and operations as blueprint to align and mentor territory management which strategically increase revenues.”

The Importance of Writing

Writing a resume forces you do to the research on your product and interpret it into the important criteria of your target market. It is not easy writing about yourself. It is not easy writing value based statements. It is however an excellent exercise to strengthen your sales skills. It allows you do dive deeper into the value and present it from different perspectives.

The resume also serves as a tool to tell your story the way you want the reader to understand it. If you are transitioning industries, it is important to focus on the skill set and how it transfers to the new industry. Skills sets transfer from industry, company or position. Skill sets include relationship building, marketing, sales, communication, organization, problem solving, leadership, presentation, training etc.

These are all important conceptual reasons for a resume; however, there are reasons that you need a resume to provide to your market.

A Glance vs. an In-depth Look

LinkedIn is an incredible tool for moving in, on or up in your career. The summary is more of a one-on-one conversation and snapshot of you with a brief history of your career. This is a glance. The resume provides a more in-depth look for the reader. For a major purchase, buyers want more details, specs, examples, not just a mailer.

$6 Billion Dollars is Not a Whim

That was an estimate in 2013 of what companies spent on online recruiting tools; this includes ATS or applicant tracking systems, the systems that scan resumes for keywords and phrases. Many large organizations depend upon these systems to narrow down the candidate pool based on hundreds of resumes submitted for one position.

Do You Have Something I Can Take a Look At?

This is a question often asked to candidates by their network. Those in their network may know them from their previous experience; however, they want to know more. They also realize that if they are going to refer a candidate, those that they are referring to will want more than a verbal recommendation, they want to see a list of specs for the major purchase. You would not buy a car just because your neighbor said it was a great car.

Rebranding Campaign

Every once in a while a major corporation rebrands itself a bit, either a new logo, tagline or going after another target market. When they do this, they launch a new campaign. The purpose is for the audience to see them in this new light.

This is exactly the same principle when changing careers or industries. You are rebranding yourself to align with your target. Your network may know you from your past career or position, rebranding allows them to see you in a new light.

The resume allows you to provide them with this new campaign, selling your skills from the perspective of the position you seek, rather than the positions that you have held.

You Have Got to Get In Front of Them First

Very often I hear, “if I could get in front of someone, I can sell myself.” Undoubtedly so, but how are you going to get in front of them? There are many options: a personal referral, a LinkedIn connection or a good sales piece.

This sales piece is your resume. It provides them with all the most wonderful information about you while leaving room for a conversation. It gets them excited and interested in finding out more about you. It is a more in-depth, demonstrated presentation that provides them with assurance that meeting with you is worth their time.

Talking is Not the Only Form of Communication

Pick a job, any job, and I would bet dollars to donuts that the phrase “good communication skills” is listed in the requirements for the position. Communication encompasses both in oral and written skills. Candidates are evaluated by online, written and personal presence. They are all important factors and should all align in presenting your personal brand.

I personally know people that if put in front of a polar bear could sell it ice. They are great talkers. But they could not interest a polar bear with a flyer. Your resume is a communication piece. You have to be able to sell your audience with both written and speaking persuasion. Writing will be a factor in a position. Like I told my son during his teenage years, you cannot talk your way into or out of everything.

Interview and Networking Preparation

In writing a resume and having it presentation ready, you are also preparing yourself for networking and interviewing. By demonstrating the hows, whos, results and values you are setting up the most wonderful statement of all for an interview or network: “Tell me more.”

Doing the research on how you reduced costs and getting it down to a bullet point soundbite has prepared you for the conversation of what was going on before you took it over, how you approached it, how you implemented the changes, who you worked with in doing so and the results beyond the reduction of costs. This is a great interview discussion.

Composing value based bullet points on a resume gives you a broad look at your brand and value. From there you can create that tag line or networking speech. You will be able to see the consistencies in where you have been and be able to summarize it in a short, poignant introduction. You will be well versed in your value and easily adapt it to the situation.

It is a digital age, no doubt. With just a few clicks, you can search for a new job, car and house in a desired location across the country all within a matter of moments. You can connect with a prospective employer through LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media streams and form a 140 character connection.

Even with all this instant connection and connectivity, do not be surprised if you hear the words, “Great, can you send me your resume?” Take the time to do it right, it will improve your ability to generate new leads, sell your product within desired markets and capitalize on opportunities quickly by being able to say, “Yes, I can email it right now.”

How to Create a Twitter Campaign

Twitter needs no introduction – we all know that together with Facebook it’s the social network that attracts most brands and marketers. Twitter can help your brand in many ways, but it’s an especially effective social media tool for building a large group of followers and driving quality traffic to your website or blog, when used properly, that is. Like all social media, Twitter requires that you invest time and effort into connecting with others.

Don’t let Twitter’s 140 character limitation deceive you into thinking that the network is easier to use for marketers than other networks. On the contrary, the character limitation can actually make it harder for you to master Twitter, because it doesn’t leave any room for filler content. Still, it is possible to create an effective Twitter marketing campaign even if you don’t have at your disposal a dedicated social media team, or the resources that big brands have. The step-by-step guide below will inspire you to get started.

Analyze your industry and competitors

This will help you 1) figure out what your audience wants and 2) what your competitors do with Twitter. Although it takes time, you should try to perform in-depth research to discover what people in your industry discuss on Twitter, which individuals or groups are influential, and what they have done to achieve their current status. Compare the profiles of your competitors, keep track of their follower growth, and identify the topics that attract people’s attention.

Decide what to focus on

Will your Tweets consist mostly of links to your blog posts and other social media content? Will they be shares, that is, links to interesting non-competitor pages and resources relevant to your industry? Or will they be attempts to directly interact with your audience, by asking questions that invite participation or answering questions asked by followers? Ideally, you will want to mix all of these.

Tweet regularly

Tweeting several times a day will make your Twitter campaign a lot more effective. Do remember, however, that posting too often can dilute the value of your tweets, and even make you look spammy. Tweets may be short and easy to post, but they must have value if you want to attract a large following. Make sure you prepare a list of tweets at least a day in advance. TwitterFeed is one of several services that enable you to schedule tweets. However, don’t let automation services replace your presence on Twitter – you have to be there, interacting with followers if you expect them to engage with your brand.

Stay fresh

While you can use Twitter to bring to light older content from your blog or website, most Twitter users are on the lookout for hot news and fresh content. For this reason, it’s important to focus on what is important now, and to try to tie that with what your brand is currently offering.

Answer questions promptly

The convenience of Twitter encourages many people to use tweets to ask their favorite brands questions. Some questions are about upcoming products and services, others about locations and contact information; most tend to be the kind of questions your customer support team is used to receiving. That’s why it’s important to answer them accurately, and quickly. If you don’t, if you ignore questions or are not helpful, the whole world will take note of your indifference towards your customers, and that’s bad.

Monitor replies, retweets, and mentions

If you are active on Twitter, your brand will be mentioned by others, by followers, non-followers, industry experts, organizations, even other brands. Not all mentions require your intervention, but there will be some that do, and it’s good to be prepared.

Interact with influential users

Twitter isn’t just about interacting with your followers – it’s also about connecting with influential people and creating affiliations with them. You can do this by retweeting their messages, directly contacting them, exchanging views, and starting conversations.

Reward your followers with special offers

Once you have a large Twitter following, a highly effective marketing strategy is to create special offers for them – give them vouchers and discount codes or invite them to Twitter-only image-based or Q&A-based contests with interesting prizes.

Finally, don’t forget that building a Twitter following takes time. Don’t expect people to just flock to your Twitter profile, because it’s not going to happen. Tweet constantly, be relevant and interesting, and try to interact as much as possible with others, and your Twitter marketing efforts cannot but succeed.

The Basics of Taxation and How a Tax Planning Lawyer Can Help

With all the different types of tax, it’s no wonder people would regularly consult with a tax planning lawyer to help them strategize how to minimize their tax liability. In Canada, taxes, tariffs, and duties are collected by different levels of government to fund their programs and services. The three levels of taxation include Federal, Provincial/Territorial and Municipal. Understanding the differences and which types apply to you as a regular working citizen or as a business owner is very important. This is where tax management and strategizing becomes truly helpful in terms of making things easier and complying with provisions of tax laws and its allied rules.

The most common type of tax is the income tax which is derived from a person’s salary or from the revenue of a specific business. Most of us are familiar with this type and in most cases, a corporation will withhold an employee’s income tax to ensure it is filed regularly.

Another type is the consumer and excise tax which is for the production, sale or consumption of goods and services. This is a form of indirect tax. Excise taxes are collected by the producer or retailer and not paid directly by the consumer, and as such often remain “hidden” in the price of a product or service, rather than being listed separately.

Property taxes are charged on the sale and transfer of ownership on different kinds of properties or assets. In general, properties are classified under land, improvements to land (fixed assets like buildings), personal property (moveable assets like vehicles), and intangible property. Many provinces levy property tax on real estate based upon the current use and value of the land. This is the major source of revenue for most municipal governments. While property tax levels vary among municipalities in a province there is usually common property assessment or valuation criteria laid out in provincial legislation.

Another common type of tax is import/export tax. Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into the country whether by a private individual or a commercial entity. In addition to duty, imports may be subject to other taxes such as GST (General Sales Tax), PST (Provincial Sales Tax), or a combination of both known as HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) depending on the type of importer and province. The amount of duty and taxes due depends on the place of residence of the importer rather than on the location where the goods enter the country.

These are just some of the basic types of taxes people normally pay in Canada. It can get confusing and even overwhelming when you start calculating and even detailing all the different taxes a person needs to pay. This is why it is advisable to consult with a tax professional and seek their assistance in both managing and strategizing how to pay and minimize your taxes. This is not in any way evading your taxes. You are just making sure you do not need to pay anything over and above what you are required to pay. This is where a tax planning lawyer can be of great help.