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Why Humility Is Attractive And Why Arrogance Is Not

Posted in Career Development, Networking | Tagged | 8 Comments

If your elevator pitch is like most, it’s actually repelling people who could become friends, customers, or colleagues.

Recently, I went to a private dinner/event hosted by a friend who is a best-selling author. Twenty people from various industries attended.

After some initial mingling, each person had to describe themselves to the group in 30-60 seconds. Then, we had dinner. To end the night, each person went around the room again to share an idea or resource with the group.

It was fascinating to watch and participate in this process. I created 4 “avatars” for people who stood out to me during this experience, along with key takeaways from observing everyone:

1. “Self-Absorbed Sally/Stanley:” One woman missed the majority of the event because she showed up over one hour late. During the 2nd round of introductions, she started off by saying how busy she is because she runs two businesses. While it drives me crazy when people say how busy they are (note: everyone is busy, so don’t whine about how “busy” you are!), the bigger issue was her behavior when everyone else was speaking. She scanned through her cell phone during everyone else’s time, apparently checking and replying to emails or text messages. When other people are talking, you should be listening… especially if you showed up more than one hour late.

2. “Rambling Ron/Rhonda:” Before the dinner, the event organizer sent everyone an email with a gentle warning that each person would have 40-60 seconds to introduce himself at the event. She reiterated this at the event itself , and she even had a colleague with a stopwatch to time each person. Despite all of these polite ways to tell people to be concise, almost half of the room still needed a warning to stop talking… and, most of the people in the room were trainers or speakers (i.e. people who should have a very strong command of communicating concisely.) There was one person who must have gone on for at least 3-4 minutes, despite several cues from the person with the stopwatch that time was up. Even worse, after speaking for 4+ minutes, I still had no clue what he did for work. The longer you talk, the more likely people will be confused or turned off. Be concise. If you can’t explain what you do (i.e. who you help and how you help them) in 10 words or less, then you need to get more clear on what you do.

3. “Conceited Connor/Connie:” One person in the group stuck to her allotted 60 seconds. However, she spoke 100 mph in order to highlight every professional achievement in her life. She rattled off the complete name for each of her 4 books. She dropped the names of 5 “major” clients she had worked with, and she also felt it necessary to tell everyone her life motto, some cheesy catch-phrase that had something to do with being your best. Yuck. There is no faster way to turn people off than to brag about how great you are or to lecture people you just met on how they should live their lives.

4. “Humble Harry/Harriett:” The introductions were not all bad, however… One person in the group started his “pitch” by saying that he would rather give up his allotted time to hear more about a prior woman’s background. Everyone smiled. Then, he briefly and humbly mentioned that he was a documentary filmmaker and that he loves his job because he gets to spend it with some of the world’s most amazing people in some of the most beautiful places in the world. No bravado. No name-dropping. No “elevator pitch.” No need to ask him to stop rambling. Just a regular guy who was humble, self-deprecating, concise, and who clearly had been listening to the other people in the room. Well done.

Out of these 4 people, which person would you have wanted to grab a cup of coffee with or do business with the most? For me, it was a no-brainer. The filmmaker was the first person I sought out during a break…

Author Bio:

Pete Leibman is the Founder of Dream Job Academy and the Author of the new book titled “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You” (AMACOM, 2012). His career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN, and he is a popular Keynote Speaker at career events for college students and at conferences for people who work with college students.

Note: Content from this article was initially published on The Personal Branding Blog by Dan Schawbel.

Executive Resume Formatting Advice

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Producing a strong resume is both “art” and “science.”  Our senior resume writer – Staci Collins – held an interactive Q & A session in January 2013 to de-mystify the essential resume components for the current job market.  If a career transition is in your future in 2013 or beyond, you will need a strong resume to differentiate yourself  from the masses. This blog post is the last in a 4 part series sharing practical resume do’s and dont’s that will strengthen your resume.  And, if you missed the Part I through Part III posts, just use our blog search tool above to quickly locate them.  You’ll definitely want to have the information from these 4 blogs in your resume refinement “arsenal.” 


Format-related Questions

Q:  Why is there so much contradictory advice about how a good resume should look, or what information should be in it? 

A:  Everyone just disagrees!!!  There is no single approach.  Stay away from claims and assertions, e.g., Visionary team builder. Provide quantifiable, validated hard evidence. Everything needs to be substantiated.  You need to provide proof that you CAN; otherwise you cast doubt on your overall credibility.


-Senior Marketing Director with 20 years’ experience launching branded consumer electronics products for SONY and Panasonic into the U.S. and EMEA markets, generating over $60 MM in revenues.

-Finance Manager with 12 years’ experience in software firms, specializing in maximizing ROI on technology, saving enterprises $120 MM annually.

-Consulting Senior Manager with 8 years’ experience implementing Oracle databases in complex global health care enterprises and government-related fields, on time and on budget.

Q:  Do you prefer a general leadership profile/summary at the top of resume, or a targeted grouping of achievements?  Other?  Is it necessary to have an “Objective” Statement? If so, what goes into a good one?

A: It is not necessary to have an Objective Statement but you must have a Summary Statement.  The Summary Statement has to be very specific.

Other Questions

Q:  Resume writing and rewriting/customizing…do you recommend having it done professionally?  This could be costly. 

A:  Yes…you should have this done professionally.  It is a rigorous process, and it helps you prepare for interviews, too.  But it doesn’t have to be costly.  Your achievements are your achievements.  The rewrites are a matter of tweaking the core resume with industry specific wording after you have done the main body of work.  The history of achievements/contributions is the difficult and time consuming part of crafting a stand out resume.

Q: How do I overcome age bias?

A: This is not easy.  Some companies are looking for more senior people.  Senior people can be viewed as helpful in guiding things.  If you are more senior it’s helpful to “own” a specialty so you can position yourself as a specialist – either working as an employee or as a consultant.  Or, find something that is emerging that you can “own” and reliably deliver.

Q: What if your most recent work experience isn’t what you want to do with your life? For instance, you left a full time position and are doing contract work until you find a full time position…

A: Employers understand 2008 and its aftermath.  They “get” long term unemployment.  You can include your interim work (highlighting contributions), but make it brief so they quickly land on your prior work.  Try to find a way to make what you are currently doing seem valuable relative to the past.  Demonstrate added value as best you can.

Q:   I have a two year gap on my resume as a stay at home mom.  How should I address this gap? 

A: You could put maternity leave.  This is understandable and even admired.  A 2 year gap is not an issue.  7 years is a bigger issue.  A 13 – 14 year gap is problematic.  Meaningful volunteering – “Fundraiser” for a local youth organization generating $100 K, a 30% increase over prior year  VERSUS  ”Class Mom” for your child’s Kindergarten class —  can close the gap somewhat.  There is evidence that the longer one is out of the work force, the harder it is to re-enter, and if you do succeed you often don’t re-enter at the level or salary you left.  That being said, though, strategic volunteering can help you beat the odds.

Q: How do you mention achievements covered under a confidentiality agreement?

A: “Genericize” them.  Demonstrate your contributions by addressing the scope of the project, promotions of team members, on time delivery, on budget delivery, etc. Speak about clients in terms of their industry position, brand position, category (e.g. Fortune 200 consumer package goods manufacturer….)

Have more questions?  Tweet Staci….

Staci has over 15 years of experience partnering with managers at all levels to achieve their career objectives. She has worked at Accenture and Ernst & Young in change management, HR, and strategic planning. She received her MBA from the University of California – Haas School of Business, and her BA from Harvard.

To get personalized advice on your resume from Staci or inquire about Ivy Exec’s resume writing options, please email




Career Advice: Are You Too Busy To Take An Aspirin?

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Bosses who truly want to achieve career success delegate as much responsibility and authority to their subordinates as they can handle. Therefore, they have more time and energy to advance toward their career goals by shouldering duties of greater visibility and value to their employer.

Effective subordinates take on as much responsibility and authority as they can carry. This is the way they can grow into more rewarding jobs.

This dynamic of career rewards is as obvious as the nose on your face. Then, why don’t more people do it?

First off, ambitious careerists rarely want to give up power. Egos get involved. Sharing of responsibility and authority–sharing of power–goes against the grain of what has propelled them forward on their career path. The ambitious manager who really wanted to give up turf is a rare bird indeed. But they do it because they know it is the only way to get ahead.

The Headache Syndrome

Then there’s what I call the headache syndrome, as in “I’ve got a headache, but I don’t have time to take an aspirin.”

It goes like this:

“I am swamped,” the boss declares. “I have to have some help. I’d like to delegate some of my responsibilities, but I can’t find anyone who is ready to take on more work. It would take me longer to find someone willing and capable to do the work than it does to do the job myself. And besides, I can’t be sure the job will be done the right way if I don’t do it myself.”

Down the hallway, subordinates have a different view. “The boss won’t delegate responsibilities.” They are resigned to the situation, so they stop offering to take on more work; their growth is restricted. “Why should I keep trying to help the boss,” they say. “I’ve got a easy thing of it. Let the boss do the work, if that’s what he wants. Just send me my paycheck.”

The Fortress Mentality

These conflicting and self-defeating views result in a fortress mentality where no one wins. But hold on. This siege creates big opportunities for truly ambitious careerists at all levels of the organizational pyramid.

Career Tip: There are six actions you can take to capitalize on this situation if you are willing to act aggressively with common sense as your guideline.

1. Achieve 110 percent of your goals.

2. Make sure your boss is aware of your accomplishments.

3. Delegate responsibility to others who can do the job as well as you can.

4. Work diligently to improve your knowledge and skills.

5. Volunteer to take on more responsibility.

6. Never steal the spotlight from your boss.

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood¹s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned is available from Amazon.

Choosing A Career Coach

Posted in Career Planning, Executive Job Search | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Most of the resumes that I receive nowadays come from job seekers using a career coaching service during their executive job search. They may receive advice from an outplacement company hired by their employer, or they may have hired someone themselves.

We have always received unsolicited resumes, but it now seems like using an outside agency is becoming standard practice. That can be great for recruiters because it allows us to decide whether to hit the delete key with much more accuracy.




If you want to set yourself apart from the pack and enhance your ability to network, you have to choose the right company. Here are some things to look for in a coach:

1. How will their presentation of your credentials set you apart from the pack?
2. Do they offer access to networks that they have nurtured themselves?
3. Would you feel comfortable considering a complete change in the direction of you career, if advised by your coach?

Notice, that I do not refer to resume templates, databases, mail merges and other such basic tools. Talking about those items as differentiators is like saying a telephone and a laptop make you an outstanding consultant.

If you want to reach a new audience in a new way, you will need a creative, well-connected counselor, who you can trust like you would your doctor.

To learn more about working one-on-one with Ivy Exec’s Job Search Coaches or Resume Writing Team, please email: or visit our Career Help Pages.

Webinar: Personal Branding – Part 2: The Mechanics – How An Authentic Personal Brand Produces Specific, Measurable, Trackable Benefits

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Rosemary Davies- Janes

Personal Branding – Part 2: The Mechanics – How An Authentic Personal Brand Produces Specific, Measurable, Trackable Benefits

By providing a thumbnail overview of the Authentic Personal Branding process, this webinar will give you practical insights into the mechanics of personal branding, and an understanding of how an Authentic Personal Brand produces specific, measurable, trackable benefits.

During this session we will cover an Authentic Personal Brand’s:

- STRUCTURE, from foundation to framework, moving parts and optional extras;

- FUEL, the information, insight and actions necessary to drive your brand’s engine;

- APPLICATIONS, both standard and custom;

- OPERATION, its ability to produce specific, measurable, trackable benefits.

After the mechanics of an Authentic Personal Brand have been clearly mapped, we will bring them to life, using real data from our client files (as avatars, of course, for privacy).

Before we conclude the webinar, we will demonstrate how an Authentic Personal Brand can consistently enhance your personal satisfaction, professional accomplishments and financial success.

Presenter: Rosemary Davies-Janes

In 1998 Rosemary founded MIBOSO®, a full service brand agency that delivers Authentic Personal Branding and Authentic Business Branding services to clients around the globe.

Blending her corporate and product branding expertise with experience gained serving thousands of personal branding clients, Rosemary has developed the most comprehensive, well-validated personal branding program in existence.

Her agency work and leadership of advertising departments for multi-national retail giants supported some of the world’s best known brands such as, Pepsi®, FedEx®, and Barbie®.

Today she divides her time between supporting individual Authentic Personal Branding clients and providing an external Authentic Brand resource to businesses.

Winners Learn To Provide Their Own Atta-Boys

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There is no escaping the fact that everybody wants to be appreciated for doing a good job. Atta-boys are important to our self-esteem and effectiveness. Appreciation ranks number one among the five most desired career rewards. But the higher we climb up the career ladder the more scarce compliments become.

As we make our way up the slippery slope of career success there are fewer people to pay us compliments. Subordinates are reluctant to tell us we did a good job for fear they will be seen as “polishing the apple,” to put it in polite terms. Besides, they are apt to think we don’t need encouragement. Also, envy frequently plays a role.

Bosses at the higher levels are often so rushed dealing with non-achievers that they have less time to pass out “thank you” notes to those who regularly hit the ball. Or they may think pats-on-the-back are not necessary for them.The boss may be like Louis Gerstner, the man who led IBM to a notable turnaround. Those of us who have worked with him know he leads his executive team by the principle that “We’re mature professionals; we are paid to do the job; therefore, I don’t have to go around stroking everyone.”

Some bosses can be praising their subordinates in ways that may not be immediately apparent.

A former client of mine was incensed at how little attention his boss, the chairman, paid to him. He really blew his top after the CEO spent only a few minutes glancing over and approving the annual message to shareholders, which he had written.

“He just doesn’t care,” the young executive told me. “He never has a complimentary thing to say.”

I pointed out that the senior officer had just given my client a significant compliment. He knew the work would be first class; he didn’t have to worry about the document. He didn’t think it was necessary to say “good work.”

Incidentally, my client consistently got top salary increases and bonuses.

It takes maturity and confidence to realize that although face-to-face recognition maybe less obvious and immediately pleasing to the ego than stand-up recognition at the employee honors dinner or mention in the company newsletter, it is, however, more important in the long run.

We are well served when we learn the difference between what feels good at the moment and really counts in the long run.

What’s to be done about atta-boys?

First, learn to be more the parent and less the child. Realize that we gain ground when we become a greater source of compliments to others than a receiver of kind words from our bosses.

Second, recognize that while kind words and bronze plaques are pleasing, winners gain strength by disciplining themselves to turn inward for psychic satisfaction and approval for the good work they do and the influence they exert.

They are the careerists who stay the course to successful finishes, because they are primarily self-contained when it comes to recognition for their achievements. They build their own sense of self-worth and motivate themselves to meet their own standards.

Third, it is important to understand that the best recognition we can receive comes when the organization has enough confidence in our abilities to expand our responsibilities and compensate us fairly for what we accomplish.

Fourth, career success goes to those who make sure their employers are aware of the quality of their work so that the real rewards—more responsibility, more authority, more money—are forthcoming.

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood¹s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned is available from Amazon.

Upcoming Event- Ideas Economy: Innovation Forum

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Ivy Exec is pleased to announce our partnership with The Economist, and would like invite you to attend the Ideas Economy: Innovation Forum on March 28th in Berkeley, California. Join a diverse group of talented executives responsible for strategy, information, technology, marketing and human capital—and charged with driving innovation within their organizations.

Disruptive technology is redefining the rules of business—in every industry and across every function. At the Innovation Forum, The Economist editors and today’s leading business innovators will examine how companies can move, pivot, and innovate fast enough to compete in the 21st century.

Ideas Economy Innovation Forum 2013
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The Economist’s distinct perspective will drive lively discussions with top executives at some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Google, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, FedEx, Citigroup, the Mayo Clinic and more.


Participate in thought-provoking conversations with a focus on business issues in the context of large-scale, global trends. Collaborate in a working group session designed to help you build a roadmap for solving key challenges. Network and share your insights and experience with the editors and your peers—all in the stimulating environment that is unique to Economist Events. Register today. Use code IE-500 to save $500.

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