I’ve worked for years in broadcasting and held some high-level positions, but when that industry began struggling I took an Office Manager job to make ends meet. It’s not a bad job, but I can do a lot more. The company doesn’t ask a lot of me and the job is boring.
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I need to rebrand myself for higher-level jobs. I have a few friends who are Executive Administrators to a CEO or CFO. They earn more money than I do, their jobs are more interesting and they deal with higher-level issues. I can do that kind of job, I know it. How do I brand myself for that kind of position?
Most of us have been taught to brand ourselves in the most unfortunate ways — for instance, by listing our “skills” or the tasks and duties we perform at work.
When you set your sights on a higher-level job, you can brand yourself for the positions you want by looking at your current role — and your entire career history, for that matter — from a higher altitude.
Instead of focusing on tasks and duties, ask yourself “What is the point of the job I’m doing now? What does my work contribute to the company I work for?” You can paint a picture in your branding. You can show us what it’s like to have you on the team!
Here’s a “Before” and “After” branding example to illustrate the concept of high- vs. low-altitude branding.
Here is a resume Summary (which could also appear on the job-seeker’s LinkedIn profile) for a fictional Office Manager we’ll call Chris:
Seasoned Office Manager with experience supporting sales and distribution teams in the medical device industry. Oversee front desk receptionist and mail room staff, support VP with travel arrangements, customer correspondence and event planning; create monthly reports, manage external vendors, and serve as liaison to corporate HR, Finance and IT.
There is nothing wrong with this Summary except that it is lifeless and devoid of personality. Chris has used the standard sentence-fragment-based, list-of-tasks branding strategy most of us were taught.
This resume Summary makes Chris sound like an Office Management machine — not a living, breathing person.
In this Summary, we get no sense of the real Chris behind the job description. We can’t tell whether Chris is smart or dull, funny or boring, creative or stodgy.
Chris may be supremely well-qualified to step into a higher-level role, but we’d never know it from reading this version of Chris’s resume!
Let’s imagine that Chris wants to apply for an Executive Administrator job similar to the roles you are interested in.
Here’s how Chris might rewrite Chris’ resume Summary to showcase much more of the brains, talent and personality we know Chris possesses:
I’m an Executive Administrator whose mission is to help a busy CEO stay on course and free from distractions. I manage my CEO’s projects and appointment calendar and work closely with clients, vendors and team members to keep them well-informed and feeling valued.
I thrive in a fast-paced environment handling day-to-day fire-fighting along with travel arrangements, correspondence, budgeting and event planning. I’m passionate about creating smart processes to remove obstacles to my team’s effectiveness — with warmth and and a sense of humor.
What has changed in Chris’s branding? Now Chris tells us what the job is all about — specifically the job Chris wants, not the job Chris already has!
The title “Office Manager” still shows up on Chris’ resume because that’s the job Chris is doing now.
However, Chris is stepping up to a new altitude and applying for Executive Administrator jobs now — and Chris’ new resume Summary finds Chris already comfortable in that role.
Does Chris get to claim the title “Executive Administrator” when Chris has never held a job with that title? Of course!
In the body of Chris’ resume the reader will see Chris’ past job titles and accomplishments and decide for him- or herself whether they qualify Chris for an Executive Administrator role, or not.
Chris uses the word “I” to humanize the resume Summary and throws in a mention of warmth and humor to make it clear that if a given employer doesn’t want somebody with those qualities, they should hire someone else!
You can do the same thing Chris did. You can brand yourself for the job you want — not the job you’ve got. You can back up whatever you claim in your resume, so why not step into your power — instead of waiting for your next employer to invite you to step up to the level you aspire to?
It’s a new day. We are all entrepreneurs now. You can step up in altitude whenever you want to — and brand yourself for the job you want and deserve!
All the best,