Great CV Writing Is More Than You Think

“Because we all know the story of Minnie the Moocher…”

Great CV writing is more than you think. A well written CV must influence and persuade because we all know the story of Minnie the Moocher. Like most professionals, I have written more resumes than I can shake a stick at. I’ve read more CVs than I care to mention. Frankly, knowing what to put on your CV is an invaluable asset. Just think, search engines will pick up your credentials more quickly if you build a targeted profile on LinkedIn.

Learning how to write simple honest prose is almost a lost art. Most people cannot write well, let alone convince in a concise space. I admit, it is harder to let your personality shine through when you reduce your life to a series of bullet points. So why not take some pointers from the masters of content marketing?

Each time I assess a hard copy CV, I start shaking my head. Why the usual chronological list of events? Why do I not feel the person and the power the person can execute for a particular job? Where does this person’s UQ (read uniqueness quotient) stand out?

The reason is clear as moonshine: most CVs resemble cookies bought at a supermarket. They use the same tired words, share an identical structure, and read like the warning notices stuck in pharmaceutical products. Can you show how you react under adversity on a CV? Can you communicate the challenges you have overcome? What are your real accomplishments?

“Sometimes a stiff drink is indicated…”

Think carefully: Do you own your career decisions (honestly)? How does a future employer interpret the usual catch phrases: team player, motivated, hard working, or innovative?

Why not try another approach? Examine the 4 Ps before putting pencil to paper: personality, performance, persistence, & persuasion. Pretend you’re Bill Clinton. Snake charm and seduce through tightly controlled prose. Make someone want to meet you. Short sentences work wonders. Support strengths with concrete outcomes. Write with no fear of rejection. Forget apologies. Do not be defensive.

Each stage in a person’s development will include and/or feature a different template to sell your expertise. Forget most online or book models. This is bog standard, and will not get your profile noticed.

Hard Copy Options
Which is better: a one or two page CV? Both have their advocates. Unless demanded, go for two. It will give you room to move. Assume the role you want to play. Express key attributes that are emotive and compelling. Use terms that prove that you can sell snow to the Aleutians. Forget the competition. You cannot control what someone else writes, but you can control what you do.

Take control. Reducing your life story to two pages might seem demeaning. Note however, that this is a game. Play the game, make a strategy, and keep the freshly squeezed OJ going.

Show your CV to people you trust. Get objective feedback. If you can obtain professional assistance, do so. Don’t stint. Career management is about gaining the tools to empower yourself. It is a perfect path to self-reliance. By doing so, your profile will stand out of a pile of rubbish like a diamond in the mud.

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Article Title: Great CV Writing Is More Than You Think
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

Why Innovative Leadership Shakes The World

“When you have your audience by the tail feather…”

Good management focuses on evaluation and performance. Innovative leadership “gently shakes the world”.

To find out, what makes great leaders v. mediocre managers, I chaired a seminar on business leadership. Participants chose to discuss CEOs for their charisma, accountability, and legacy. Many of these leaders are known throughout the world, and are role models. They are admired for their accomplishments at work and contributions to their societies.

Every participant agreed that leadership is more than just posting good quarterly results. Best of all, the leadership traits we value, can be learned and mastered.

“Because leadership demands you change your prescription…”

Often the most neglected leadership skills stem from not understanding emotional intelligence. They are intuitive. Take for example, the issue of motivation. How can you get staff to reach beyond their limits? It is a question of encouragement.

Some managers just focus on mistakes made. Why drive errors into a state of culpability? Innovative leadership points out mistakes. It is called constructive criticism. Remember, nobody sets out to fail. The best corporate cultures build initiative and mentorship into their working practices.

However in risk-averse environments, team players remain cautious. They never step out of the box. They do not want to be penalized. Senior management can be so hard pressed for bottom line results that they establish a set of “red line” rules. Such rules never generate effective results.

Managerial intentions should be clear. Resolve issues when they arise so that they do not become handicaps. Benchmarking milestones should keep most projects on track. This is the hallmark of nurturing innovative leadership.

The Roving Electron Theory
Call this procedure “detection and resolution”. Negative thinking patterns will alter the ambiance in any work environment. Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset where individuals are praised when it is deserved can reverse this process. Corporate culture can sometimes be debilitating. Why not inculcate aspirational values rather than despair?

Ever notice that negativity is contagious? One colleague of mine referred to this dilemma as that of the roving electron.

A roving electron is a concept from physics. By nature it is unpredictable. Because it can not be controlled, it generates positive or negative outcomes. From an organizational standpoint, you can see why weak leadership would fear such individuals. For example, if someone suggests trying out a new idea, the typical response is: “That is not the way we do things at Yoyo Inc.”

Firms that nurture this psychosis become hidebound and sclerotic. New is seen as threatening to the power structure. Creative talent will run away from such organizations. Problems under these conditions do not dissipate. They only expand in equal proportion to the negative “cannot do” environment.

Real business leadership knows that positive practices are the right way forward. Under this form of stewardship, optimism and gratitude prevail as the key elements of team building practices. The leader’s vision should be to embody and feed the collective creative spirit with the right thinking. It gives the group understanding, value and purpose. By doing so, you will be able to taste the spirit of engagement.

Please note however, that leaders do critique. They do so with an eye to positive growth not to chastise. The acknowledgment of errors is important. Then, the group moves on. Why? Because they know that there is a shared sense of objectives. The positive aura can be felt. Everyone recognises that whatever his or her input, there is appreciation.

The power of gratitude comes from a deep spiritual understanding of leadership. This does not prevent players from striving to better tackle challenges.

“Because the best leaders set an example…”

Avoid The 4 Ps
How many of us have shown deep gratitude for all that we have? How many of us have given thanks to our team members for their contributions? Or better still, given thanks for an invisible but guiding hand helping us make the “right” choices?

You see, at a deeper level, genuine appreciation is beyond the level of the self. It is “spirit” and manifests as genuine concern. Great leaders know how to use this quality. The concept of “I” is dropped. In fact, it does not even enter into the equation. It is about giving without even thinking of “return on investment”.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Many business practices stress the 4 P’s: power, prosperity, pomp, and pedigree. This has always been the case, and given the context of human behavior is what drives people most. Self aggrandizement becomes the catalyst to action. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you are motivated to make a genuine difference to your organization, why not choose a different path to leadership?

By changing your leadership prescription consider these terms: sat, chit, and ananda. Although I broke up this Sanskrit term on purpose, it means: being, awareness, bliss. It is a term never breathed in business school although it should constitute a class just by itself. In certain cultures its value resonates. It represents the basic striving of all human beings inside and outside the workplace.

Why is this so? Because every wants to be happy. That’s right. Inside and outside the workplace. However, it eludes our grasp because we are looking in the wrong place. “Satchinanda” represents your inner state of completeness beyond the balance sheet. It contains a profound sense of integrity, which should be a core value of leadership. In our highly cynical world, most people would state that this is idealist and not feasible. You would be wrong to think so because all it would prove is how you undervalue your self as well as others.

Why not prove the naysayers wrong. Show your team the true value of “optimism” as a vehicle to success. Great leaders not only know this, but have used this principle for millennium to achieve incredible goals. So can you.

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Article Title: Why Innovative Leadership Gently Shakes The World
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

Why You Should Cherish Self Respect

“Because everyone loves to be kissed…”

Cherish self respect and you are on the road to navigating career insecurity. Without a strong sense of self respect, and you loose the plot. Here are several career options you can pursue.

Working Overseas
Projections for Europe look disheartening. However, be courageous. According to L’Express, 25% of new grads cannot find meaningful employment. In Mediterranean countries, the situation is worse.

L’Express also points out that Generation X is voting with their feet. Key career destinations for European youth are Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. In France, self respect is at an all time low. In a recent WCW micro-survey of 125 college students, 15 were headed to Hong Kong, 13 to Shanghai, 20 to New York, and a clutch to Montreal. Quebec is attractive because young French professionals are more comfortable on cultural grounds. Emigration was the preferred career choice for those we interviewed.

For Entrepreneurs
For entrepreneurs, there is good news. Certain countries are soliciting immigrants by giving start-ups financial and fiscal incentives. Canada and Australia offer the most attractive options. If you would like to start up your own venture, investigate the sector and country in which you plan to start. Certain cultures are more entrepreneurially friendly than others.

“The language of cool has no rules…”

Further Education
Another career catalyst is education. Classic choices include doing an MBA, EMBA, PhD, or LLM. Which ever career path you select, make sure your plans are grounded in reality. This is important for your sense of self respect. Take for example, the MBA application process. It is akin to the FA Cup challenge. The competition plays to knock out rounds. Goal scoring is low, and you need to be as keen as mustard. Despite the vicissitudes of prep, be deliberate and calm.

“If you don’t respect your self, nobody else will…”

Personal Brand Management
There comes a time when you must switch off the mental chatter. Get down to business. Do not let yourself be shadowed by doubt. All you need is a state of calm where the mind does not talk to itself incessantly. Sell your personal story as a unique adventure. This lies at the heart of all personal brand management.

Do not begin by comparing yourself to Nelson Mandela. Start your action plan with an objective assessment. Make a road map. If possible, seek out professional counsel for emotional and intellectual support. Respect your your talent and your self respect will shine forth like the sun breaking through a net of dark clouds.

OK Aretha, turn up the volume!

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Article Title: Why You Should Cherish Self-Respect
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

How Heritage Brands Remain Relevant

“Because good taste never goes out of style…”

Heritage brands can loose the plot. Some go bankrupt. Still others manage to reinvent themselves. Success depends on mixing the archival DNA with the creative pulse of our times. Just look at what happened to Holland & Holland. This English heritage brand built its reputation on bespoke guns and the perfect clothes for going on a safari. By the mid-1990s, the firm was on the rocks. New ownership hired fashion designers, which feminized the brand with disastrous results.

They were not the first nor will they be the last heritage brand to meet this challenge. A great success story in heritage brand management is Burberry. Management gave the firm a face lift by hiring Maria Rose Bravo. Her role was to inject youth into a tarnished brand. Her first move was to hire Christopher Bailly. The end result was a collection labelled, New Brit. The target was no longer the sedentary set. Was this a gamble? Of course, it was. However, given the trends in the fashion industry it was deemed a better business model to foster growth.

Former clients abandoned the brand and felt betrayed. The trendy and more urbane market segment adored the changes. Clothes and classics became refreshingly alive. The trench coat was reinterpreted to be contemporary and slimmer. Better still, it captured celebrity allure. To enhance the new positioning, new adverts were sexy and engaging. To further enhance the new Burberry mystique, a new flagship was a opened on Lower Regent Street. It encapsulates the Burberry brand to perfection.

“When grey is your favorite color…”

The second brand I would like to discuss is Brooks Brothers. Like similar heritage brands, this firm was plagued by challenges. During the 1980s Brooks was under the direction of Marks & Spenser. Fast expansion beyond Madison Avenue saw the brand cheapened to shopping mall aesthetics. Brooks had lost its soul. The brand became so battered that it was hard for anyone accept vintage aficionados to remember the cocktail charmed glamour.

Fortunately for Brooks, they were re-bought by an Italian group. The owner was a close friend of Giovanni Agnelli. He appreciated Brooks Brothers heritage and recognized the time had come to reboot the glory. The firm has strived to bring back the luxury quality on which the firm was renowned. The board also selected Thom Browne as the Creative Director. He is known for his sophisticated takes on Ivy classics. Furthermore, Brooks has also been favored by the Gods. They have taken advantage of a surge in appreciation for preppy clothes favored by a young target audience.

Although the terms heritage and vintage continue to get much fashion media coverage, other heritage brands have managed to leap into the forefront of avant garde style trends. Considering the fickle nature of fashion trends, this is easier said than done.

Two firms, which do this rather nicely, are Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Last season, Chanel used Keira Knightly to feature Chanel No.5 clad in black suspenders. This was a very Helmut Newton moment. Clearly, the original Coco Channel would never have went around without a shirt no matter how revolutionary she was. What Karl Lagerfeld does capture brilliantly is the element of fantasy. Every man and woman loves to dream.

Every generation has its’ own vision. Harnessing that vision and making it relevant to a contemporary audience is not straightforward and demands adroit savoir-faire. Karl is clearly a master at this game. He is brilliant at handling style, quality and attitude. What the example of Chanel proves is that a firm needs inspiration. Genius and creative power are essential.

You can never copy because then you are really recreating museum pieces. This is the perpetual dilemma for all heritage brands founded on personality. Even the business model must adapt if it is to generate revenue and growth without degenerating its brand equity.

If you take the case of Yves Saint Laurent, you can see the dilemma in action. I have been recently trolling certain vintage boutiques looking for original Yves Saint Laurent pieces. When you touch these pieces you are struck by the cut, fluidity, drape and color. Last year, Paris showcased a retrospective of his work. There was even a cinematic homage.

Nobody however, can be YSL. He was unique and tied to the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the vintage scene is robust, what do you do if you run this institution? Copies of classics are not the answer. A T-shirt campaign stating that “It’s not Saint Laurent without Yves” made a big impact in fashion circles.

“Because you don’t need a disguise…”

Luxury brands need more than a voice. They need relevance to people’s lives to succeed. In 2011, Ralph Lauren announced that his dream was made real by the fact that his public “bought” into the brand psychology he created of Americana. Look at the firm’s principal marketing tool published as a coffee table book. It stands as a testament to luxury brand management. It works because RL created and captured authenticity.

Authenticity however, is an ethereal concept. When it is captured, you feel it glow. Clients become brand ambassadors. There is never a false note in the marketing campaigns. One stroll through RL European flagship in Paris and you taste the collective consciousness of Ralph’s dream writ large in stone, décor, and clothes.

Working for heritage brands is an exciting phenomenon. However, meeting the challenges is like walking on the edge of a knife.

Article Title: Are Heritage Brands Relevant
Photographs: (1) archival (2)curated (3)burgtjohn

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

Luxury Branding Demands Dreamtime

“Because the substance of style is timeless…”

Luxury Branding online demands dreamtime. To grow your venture, give your potential customers a call to action. Study key players. Shop their online store. Deconstruct the pleasure and service you received. Formulate a model suitable to your own activities. It’s as easy as that.

Anyone can build an online store. However, if luxury is where you want to be, you will need to carefully review how to proceed. The first place to start is content. Give your audience relevancy. Although content marketing is crucial, you need to set up an attractive and engaging site. Keep the design simple, user friendly and actionable. Don’t overwhelm with too much of a good thing. These rules apply to firms selling either goods or services.

Before you issue your call to action (CTA), identify What is your potential customer looking for?

Is it the visuals of thrills and chills? Perhaps, it’s allure with bags of sex appeal. Before you get hot under the collar, studies indicate that online audiences shop and share content because you have delivered something relevant. Knowing what somebody wants to know is not witchcraft. It formulates the basis of luxury brand management. Let’s explore some of the essentials.

The Luxury Audience
The luxury audience is searching for the best products and services they can find. Price is not an object. It is also not limited to age. Clients prefer to pay more to get the product or service they demand. This target group loves exclusivity, pampering, and great service. Given the dynamics of this sector, there are opportunities to be exploited. It will just take a bit of initiative on your part to carve out your own niche.

Examine current advertising campaigns of hot luxury brands. The visuals and the videos target young professionals. They are aspirational. They love to dream that they are celebrities. They crave glamor and are highly educated. Price conveys prestige, and they are not adverse to showing their social status.

Unlike prior generations, Millennials and Generation X spend a significant time of their lives online. Multitasking to these groups has a twist. Therefore, if part of your luxury brand strategy is to reach out, you will need a proactive support team to adroitly handle your online presence.

“When a reliable support team is more important than office space…”

Consistency and constant engagement count. The terms of engagement relate to the shopping experience you want to create and the content marketing strategy you have put into place. It enhances the power of your brand equity. Notice the structure of content rich sites. Videos are commonplace. Focus your investigations on relatively new sites. Start with the blond salad.

“When you can offer rotating license plates…”

Far from your classic luxury brands, the market has given birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs who are style savvy and know how to speak to their generation. Many start as bloggers and fashion people. They use their lives to template a brand. By building a strong social media following, they leverage their business skills into creating an online store of must haves. It is an exercise in conversion rate optimization. Best of all, it works.

As one colleague of mine states: “Online shopping is another form of entertainment and not just consumption. To entertain does not mean overwhelm. It means to guide. Make the experience easy and direct. Not complicated and convoluted.”

“Making your clients enter into another realm…”

If you just focus on selling you will not succeed. Generate a vision and make the client feel that they are sharing your adventure. This will lead to more purchases and higher profitability.

Examine the case of Nickelson Wooster. He is a former merchandiser and buyer for leading department stores. Today, he creates his own collections in partnership with major brands. Why does this work? Two reasons: Nick has great taste and is seen as a style icon. His persona has become his brand. He is unique as well as authentic. Not everyone can be Nick nor could anyone be Yves Saint Lauren. However, if you focus and understand the nature of aspirational living and have a powerful sense of aesthetics, you are half way there.

Because of new technology married to tested marketing wisdom, you can learn to break the rules, set new trends, and influence thousands to march in your footsteps. There was never a better time to actualize your dream.

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Article Title: Luxury Branding Demands Dreamtime
Photographs: (1)longingforlovely (2)enversdudecor (3)airows (4)gn-a

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

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