Posted by: davidsandusky | July 1, 2010


Hi all,

Thank you to all who visit, subscribe and feed this blog.  Many of you also participate on where the theme of this blog is well represented in the business and career forums as well as the community blogs.

Comments, questions and emails to me from this blog about anything from resumes to interviewing best practices can be discussed in the ask a recruiter forum on Your Brand Plan.  As a user on Your Brand Plan you can also start your own discussion, contribute what you know and ask questions.

Because of the popularity of Your Brand Plan  and my dedicated time to that resource site and other business ventures with presence online, I will no longer be able to post here.

See you on and offline friends!

Fail Fast; Lead,
David Sandusky executive recruiter, keynote speaker, entrepreneur
Your Brand Plan | Idea Chic products | Center for Innovation
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Personal Brand strategy for business and career with the Strategic Career Plan & Personal Board of Advisors

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Posted by: davidsandusky | January 13, 2010

How Many Pages Should Your Resume Have?

We get a lot of resume questions and I understand why.  Many job seekers blame the resume for not getting the interview.  That might be true, but the reality is you did not get you the interview.  But you want to know about how many pages a resume should have.  You ask me and you post the question on LinkedIn, etc. often, so I know you need to know what the recruiters think.

My thought:

As an executive recruiter who has interviewed more than a thousand executives, I will tell you resumes are very important, I even read some.  Cover letters are very important too. But what tops my priority is how the resume is presented.  My judgment is the same of a business plan.

Resume at a glance: Must be relevant, market your potential and be very easy to scan with my busy eye.  A typical business person tends to hit me between they eyes with a page per decade. People with many actual accomplishments early in career can usually move to two pages and not bore me to tears.

Oh, and those who need to look at a resume to remember what a resume writer put down, is kicked out of the office 😉

Posted by: davidsandusky | November 11, 2009

Executive Recruiting the Wyckoff Way on Your Brand Radio

CLICK HERE for the 10/01/09 podcast with Luke Wyckoff on Blog Talk Radio
Visit Your Brand Radio LIVE on Blog Talk Radio every Thursday at 4:00MTN

Retained executive search is art and a science. At least the way Luke Wyckoff and his firm Wyckoff Consulting do it. The Science part is unique with a proprietary six-step Wyckoff Executive Search Tools™ (WEST) science to pinpoint precise behavioral, cultural, and competency matches.

What is even more unique is Luke Wyckoff because as Your Brand Radio listeners know well, your business is not unique, but you Luke Wyckoff are!

Invite your friends, sit back and listen to discuss the executive recruiting business, what Luke sees out there and how to get on a Luke Wyckoff radar screen.

Each Thursday at 4PM MST Mark Crowley and David Sandusky host Your Brand Radio at Espressole Caffe and live online to discuss you, your personal brand, career, business and community strategies. Our guests demonstrate meaning with their involvement in business and community. Come on the show and tell us what you are doing that is interesting. Your business is not unique, but you are! Listen live via BlogTalkRadio at, call in               (646) 716-5320         (646) 716-5320 and continue the discussion in this forum!
Questions or thoughts? Discuss in this forum. Follow Your Brand Radio on twitter #ybr and suggest future topics and guests on Facebook.


CLICK HERE for the 10/01/09 podcast with Luke Wyckoff on Blog Talk Radio
Posted by: davidsandusky | July 15, 2009

Recruiting and Retaining Brand Champions

Human capital is an ongoing challenge in any economy.  Recruiting and retaining the best is a game won by those with great awareness of culture and a process to attract the right people while maintaining a challenging and supportive environment to retain top talent.

I can’t think of a better way to go about enjoying recruiting and retention success than learning what it means to recruit and retain brand champions as my friend and collaboration partner, Rex Whitman outlines so well in his AmEx Open Forum article.

Posted by: davidsandusky | June 16, 2009

Networking for CEOs

C – level executives made it to the top for many reason and their network or networking is a significant part of the story. The challenge at the top is keeping the network fresh and being deliberate about scheduling time to connect with the connected. Adding value back to the connections along the way is critical as well.

Many think that once at the top, executives no longer need to network. That is strategy for failure as the unemployed CFO will tell you when they seem to be network dry and starting over. Or worse, have a reputation for just showing up for “coffee” when they need something.  I pick on the CFO because I personal know many unemployed CFOs who are not landing as quickly as their effectively networked competition.   

Where ever you are in your career, keep this in mind. Keep building and adding value to the network.

Forbes “in pictures” has slides from CEOs sharing their own networking secrets.

Posted by: davidsandusky | April 18, 2009

Complications of Personal Brand Simplified

In executive recruiting, my clients and/or associates would often describe a certain “kind” of person we need to be recruiting for a particular business plan and culture.  Within industry or disciple that “kind” of person had a name.  An example statement would be “Get me ‘a’ Brett Godfrey” 

Get me ‘a’ Brett Godfrey does not mean get me Brett Godfrey.  There is a huge difference.  The cost associated with Getting the CEO and co-founder of Virgin Blue including his bleeding heart passion for the company makes Brett rather untouchable.  Good job Richard Branon!    

Getting ‘a’ Brett Godfrey means finding someone who has the professional characteristics you desire.  It might be someone who can start and grow a different kind of airline or it might be someone who has proven ability to recruit for attitude and build a unique culture.  Getting a type of person is known by the unmistakable feeling in the room when everyone knows what you are talking about.  That type of person becomes easy to identify, with individuality keeping him from being a commodity.  Being the actual Brett Godfrey is an unmistakable personal brand.  You don’t have to know the details about the story; Richard Branson knows the unmistakable personal brand.  They shared vision including hiring a genuine smile (no airline experience required) – Remarkable!  Richard Branson writes about Brett Godfrey in the chapter simply called “Brand” in his book, Business Stripped Bare.  I thought about Brett as my example over many because of this statement by Branson in the book:

Brett’s naturally a Virgin sort of person. Had he never worked with us, his thinking would not be radically different today.  But I believe thinking about the Virgin brand enabled him to focus, and to convey values quickly and efficiently to his colleagues and his staff.  

Speaking of the Brand chapter in Branson’s book, I find it remarkable that branson writes about the company and people always being on brand.  I am not surprised such a natural brand manager included businesses, culture, personal brand and recruiting in the same chapter. 

Branson knows his role in the image of the company. He says his own high-profile adventures have not just highlighted the brand, they personified it.  He finds the trick is to find your own way to personify your own brand values and thinks you will feel the advantage – I know you will!  Branson goes on to say he feels it is important for the public relations people to build the profile of individual companies and their leaders. 

A “type” of personal brand spans across what we do. Independent service providers, politicians, athletes and public speakers are examples of personal brand strategies around longer than you and I have been alive.  Think about a conference you are attending.  The subject matter is why you are on the list, the speaker is why you go. The experience is why you follow.  That experience is the brand a conference leader must find and it comes in the form of a person. 

I will share my own speaking experience as an excellent example.  The DaVinci Institute in Denver has monthly bootcamps which are half day intense workshops on a variety of subjects by experts in the field.  Last year a bootcamp was about launching products.  They identified two of the best product and brand experts on the planet.  During the initial meeting about the upcoming event idea, my name came up as a third speaker.  I have not launch near the amount of products the others have?  Why me?  They said “Get us ‘a’ David Sandusky if he is not available. 

What did they mean by ‘a’ David Sandusky?  They knew, I knew and the target audience knew making me the right experience to talk about launching products.  What they knew was my passion of personal brand and what people mean in the equation.  In this case, the customer.  Brilliant! For me, on brand so I did it!

Personal brand is a complicated subject because brand is a complicated subject.  That is why it is so fascinating and hard to do well.  If it helps you, work on being the kind of person companies, communities and events need and be easy to find.  Done!

Posted by: davidsandusky | March 30, 2009

How to Gain Experience

Many people are venturing into the unknown as you read this.  New careers for people with little business experience to people with many years of the wrong experience as they kick down new doors of new industries. 

We hear daily from college students as they enter the “real world” with no experience that having no experience is challenging the ability to get past Human Resources.   We hear from experienced professionals that they struggle getting seen at all because the resume does not have the “right” experience for the job opportunity.

You know you can do the job.  You are smart and eager to learn.  If just given a chance!  Who out there will give you a chance???

I will tell you.  The people who will give you a chance hire potential. They hire people they like and trust.  In order for people to like and trust your potential they have to know who you are and what you stand for.  Your resume in the hands of the Human Resources department will not cut it unless you are in fact seeking a career in Human Resources. 

Find the people you will impact.  Find the people who can see themselves solving problems shoulder to shoulder with you.  If you don’t know who they are, learn.  Gain experience understanding the businesses you are targeting. Learn how to do research about companies and people. 


  • Industry trends
  • Products and services
  • Titles held in the company
  • The title and name of the would be boss
  • Where are these people online and where to they play and volunteer offline – find them

These research skills are required for your success regardless of your discipline.  Besides, knowing more is an easy way to stand out and don’t you want to be prepared?  Taking the time to learn about a business when your competition is finished applying for new jobs they found online by 8:00a.m. is a difference maker.  Your investment and curious mind is ongoing which helps you minimize your time investment during scary times like a job search, leaving you dedicated to gaining experience.

How to gain experience:   

  • Volunteer using skills you would like to market.  In marketing? Show your creativity helping a non-profit get noticed. Finance? Get on a finance committee where you care about the mission.  These groups always need help and there is a place for eager minds. 
  • Find associations in your area of interest.  Do a Google search and find the associations in your area.  This is easy.  Contact them and go to a few meetings asking for time from leadership on the membership committee.  Get involved.  Don’t just join like most people. Make a difference. Get on a committee and make a difference.  New graduates don’t get involved because they think they don’t have experience.  You can add value and learn from professionals also making a difference while networking.  Suddenly, you are gaining experience worthy of putting on your resume. 

Get started now.  It takes time.  Get involved with a number of associations and non-profit groups, dedicate your time to a few and make a big impact.  Don’t stop when you land your paying gig.  Always find opportunities to expand your experience outside of work. 

Careers and skills change all the time.  Be the person ahead of the game. Don’t be the person playing catch-up with no or the wrong experience. 

Posted by: davidsandusky | February 7, 2009

Your Phone Skills Can Change Your Life

How do you get the most out of your network when there are many vehicles available today to keep in touch with new and long time contacts.  Social networking sites are proving obvious benefits to the individual as she expands networks and ability to share information quickly.  But during a time of need, what communication tool do you think is most effective?  I think it is the phone and I will prove it.   

A job search brings the best out of many people.  Family, friends and former colleagues want to help and do the best they can in keeping an eye out for you.  Some even formulate a proactive campaign on your behalf.  During a time of need, most people reach out to their network with an update – a blast email about  being on the market.  I get an email of this nature and/or LinkedIn note on a typical day and you might too.   We look at them all and take a moment in case we have a connection idea.  Sometimes we do and often times we do not have ideas to share.  We move on.  Sound familiar you connectors out there?  

Take a moment.  Think about the person you just received the email from where you have an instant connection with their voice and good feeling about past conversations.  Even short conversations stick with us if we don’t remember what was said.  We remember our feeling of the personal brand more over voice and considerably more when looking into the eyes of our fellow human being.  It is true.  So with that in mind, is the best strategy in connecting to provide the feeling of voice?  No doubt the answer is yes.  Use the Internet to grow the network.  Use target networking events in your community to grow your network.  Add value every day.  Use the phone to connect!

Why the phone works best during your job search

Taking the time to call someone matters in our mind.  It does. 

Even the shortest of conversations generally start off with getting caught up on things we value most.  Major learning happens here. 

Often times people are not crystal clear on what you want to do moving forward.  On the phone you can better draw a picture of your future impact.  Market your potential.  You will learn the same about the person you are calling!

Passion comes out in your voice.  People will never forget your passionate voice.   


Easier to coordinate schedules and get moving to face meetings.

Phone Skills

Staring with your outgoing voice mail:  Have a clear, short and professional outgoing message inviting people to leave a message for you.  Promise a returned call in a reasonable time and do it.  Use your big voice and project with energy and excitement within your personality.

Leaving voice mail:   First of all, leave one.  Some people will never answer their phones for some reason, leave a message.  Have a plan for your call.  I don’t use a script because I know what I am going to say.  Many people find it helpful to use a script.  Go for it, I think it is a good idea to write down what you want to say in a pithy message.  If you do script your voice mail, practice out loud first.  Get to the point where you don’t have to read and certainly not sound like you are reading.  When you have the confidence…you will not need the script.

What if you screw up on the voice mail.  You stumble, get nervous or forget to say something you wish you said.  Move on.  So what.  Make the next call right away.  

Sit up straight and use your big voice.  Proud, confident and passionate voice.  Make your calls in one sitting and during the time of day where you have the most energy.  Your last voice mail should be as energetic as the first.

When you leave a message, genuinely and politely address them.  Quickly move to letting the person know why you are calling.  When you leave your returned number (even if you know they have your number) slow down.  Say it slow 3..0..3…..3..2..5……3..2..2..5.  Close with statement of anticipation to connect. 

Follow up call: People often ask if they should follow-up when they do not hear back in a reasonable time.  I say yes, 100% of the time.  People are busy and may not organize returning calls as well as you do.  Call again and make note it is a second call.  State you know they are busy, and respect their time.  That is why you are looking for a short conversation to determine how you can support each other. 

Live calls: When you get the person live on the phone.  Know your purpose and be prepared to end the call achieving your goal for the call.  Goals might include: learning about them, what is on their mind, how you can help and scheduling more time.

Be alive.  Sit up straight and even be dressed for success.  It matters when you are working the phone even from home.

Ask questions and be prepared. 

Build a habit of being on the phone

Your life will be easier if you practice active phone calling as part of your networking during good and not so good times for you.  Pick up the phone and call your contacts just to check in and learn about their world.  You will be amazed about what you learn and how you can help.  They will be amazed you took the time to check in or get to know them. 

How do you find the time?  Good question.  I suggest blocking a half hour to 45 minutes every week (maybe a Friday afternoon) and calling your contacts.  Start with ‘A’  and call a few people.  Pick up where you left off next week at the same time.  Get through the list making notes along the way and start over when you are done!  Contact list short meaning you are calling your ‘A’s in a month?  Grow your network on line and offline!  You will be providing and gaining referrals along the way.  Just this amount of time a week will change your life and the life of those you call. 

Next time you are on the market or in need of some kind, your email blast will get a better response.  I guarantee it! 





Posted by: davidsandusky | January 31, 2009

Life Time Employment

Are you working to retire or working to work?

Back in the day and for many today, the American dream is “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Defined differently by the individual.  Some pursue wealth and fame and value hard work where others pursue a simple and comfortable lifestyle and value just that. 

Career is a significant part of defining who the person is and how the American Dream is realized.   As time goes on an we live much longer than those who shaped what we use today, percentage in life dedicated to career is swinging.  Our industry pioneers worked for life as many working today are realizing might be required versus retirement for 10 to 30 years. 

Realizing that we will work longer into our “retirement” years.  Enjoying what we do is that much more important.  Anticipation of not having to work anymore will not be the motivation.  So what is the motivation?  Could it be to love what we do?  To create and innovate.  To learn and add value in different ways as we manage careers until we are no longer healthy?     

Like you, I know many people in the classically defined retirement age and have many stories.  I will share one. 

A long time friend’s father opened his own plumbing company and with his wife have created a respectable business that has provided security and wonderful family vacations.  Years ago this business owner told me he would slow down to a few clients after his two daughters are out of college and well on there own.  Well, not only has that happened, but his daughters are both happily married with children.  So the opportunity to “slow” down has been present for some time, but the action has not happened. 

I asked him why?  This business owner told stories of early struggle and fear with young girls, expensive equipment and not enough prospects.  He told stories of long time clients and wonderful relationships.  His wife told me he can’t sit still.  I noticed he still loves what he does.  Period.  

Why on earth would someone stop doing what they love just because they are 65 years old?  Just because they have earned the monetary, status and material part of the American Dream at any age?  Why would anyone down shift from fifth gear to third in this country at any point of life when they love every day? 

We are defined in great detail by what we do.  We are re-entering an era of life time employment.  We might as well love what we do!

Posted by: davidsandusky | January 15, 2009

Resume Story

Having reviewed a ridiculous amount of resumes to date, the process from reviewers like me is very fast one.  Resume reviewers who don’t agree can chime in.

On that note, this post about resume will be very short. 

  1. I scan resumes.  This is quick.  What is the feeling and story?  A good feeling happens because it was easy to scan. 
  2. I scan resumes backwards. It feels good when I see a story I want to learn more about.
  3. Awesome transitions.  The story is interesting during transition.  Transition refers to promotions, career changes and unemployed times.  Make or break time – what is your story.

Your summary or objective at the top of the resume along with your cover letter are customized to the reader.  That means you have to do homework every time.  Another make or break opportunity.


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