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Resumes, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profiles! Oh My!

Written by: Brandi P. Sheffield, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You can find tips for a stellar resume and cover letter all over the internet. There are multiple consultants who offer specialized services for reworking and rewriting your LinkedIn profile, your resume and your cover letter. Forbes allows career experts to pay them to publish articles about getting ahead at work. HBR shares research and best practices on career development also.

But what if you learned the BRUTAL TRUTH?

Using any of these services or following a copy/paste method, does the exact opposite thing you want. It makes you blend in. You look like everyone else who has the same skills and similar experiences.

Now the ATS rejects your resume and you can’t figure out why?

Just to be clear, you must have all of these career assets to apply for jobs. Having an aligned LinkedIn profile allows companies to validate your experience. Resumes are the first window into your skill sets. Cover letters allow you to tell your story of who you are.

AND….in order to stand out and be the top candidate, then you have to know how to stand out!


In order to write your career assets to not be rejected, to set yourself apart, and to intrigue the company to want to interview you, it starts with how you THINK about your influence and impact. It also requires you to be able to tell a story of your leadership that aligns to what organizations are looking for.

The key to writing strong career assets fall into 3 buckets:

  1. Having a deep sense of your core values to be able to showcase alignment and fit with the organization.

  2. Understanding the role you are applying for to be able to tailor your career assets to align with the role AND grow beyond the role.

  3. Assessing the needs or gaps in the role or organization to be able to provide systems thinking approaches to your leadership.

When a candidate is able to demonstrate all 3 of these competencies quickly across their career assets….then and only then, are you now set apart from blending in. Now you stand out.



An OUTLIER LEADER is someone who has developed their executive presence. Executive presence is not about a title. It is persons’ charisma, swagger, magnetism, and confidence.

Think about it. Is there someone in your world who is memorable, impressive, credible and genuine? That person has an executive presence.

Executive presence is also a persons’ ability to change gears from situation to situation. They know how to THINK about a situation and respond appropriately. Their presence is evident in their communication (verbal and written) and is consistent if they are interacting with subordinates, peers, senior leaders and anyone they are in relationship with.

As a person develops their leadership, they must also develop their executive presence by learning the thinking skills that lead to how they present themselves.

The great news!

Anyone can learn it!

It is not something you are born with. The myth of “some people are just born with it” is a lie. Every person who has it (executive presence), learned it or it was directly taught to them.


Start getting your career assets in order!

  1. Identify the next job role, organization or industry you desire.

  2. Within your identified next career transition, identify the values of the organization, your values and identify alignment and fit.

  3. In the job description, identify who the position reports to. Think on “what does this person(s) need to know from me about my leadership?”

  4. Create 2-3 strategies you have used or will use to define how you lead teams, solve internal company problems, organize structures for you and your teams, etc.

  5. Think of a real life example in your career to use that aligns with your strategies.

  6. Now, rewrite your career assets to highlight these attributes.

These actions will also be the first steps to defining your executive presence.

In our Career Accelerator Incubator program, we equip highly skilled career women to move up faster or move on by mastering your executive presence AND attracting the right career opportunities to increase your income, influence & impact!

Schedule a FREE Career Breakthrough Call today to upgrade your career! Follow us on

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Brandi P. Sheffield, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Brandi P. Sheffield, a leadership expert, has led teams of 100+ using and teaching executive presence & leadership messaging to influence with impact. As a Sr. Executive Director, Brandi has built a legacy of leaders by coaching executive colleagues and lower division leaders to transform their leadership. She is the CEO of Learning Associates and designer/founder of the Career Acceleration Incubator program called The Outlier Leader. Her mission: To increase the presence of women in leadership positions that empower voice, strategy and perspectives on the wage gap, balances patriarchal practices, eliminates gender bias, discrimination, and marginalization of women in leadership.



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