You’ve heard about elevator pitches and networking in professional groups. You’ve been told to become active leveraging your friends, family and professional contacts when exploring new career options. You’ve been encouraged again and again to refine your approach; to develop a clear and concise strategy to find your next great challenge.

Through the course of preparation and interviews, we are often asked to sum up our professional lives in a short biography. We brand ourselves with these short bios on our online profiles. Certainly, during the interview process (especially if you’re interviewing with multiple companies), you will be asked to provide an overview of your professional life. So, what do you say?

I’ve noticed too many candidates making simple mistakes. Without question, throughout an interview process, decisions are begin made about you. Fair or not, interviewers will interpret details from the little information they are able to gather.


Too many candidates overlook the value of a good headline.


Unlike an elevator pitch, a headline is delivered outside of a candidate’s presence. A good headline can capture attention in a clouded world. A good headline can be incorporated into a social media profile, within a cover letter, and on a resume, within a summary of qualifications.

Following, are a few headlines that grabbed my attention for all the wrong reasons. I included a possible translation…how the message will likely be received by a recruiter.

“Looking for the next chapter in my life”
Translation: I have no idea what’s next for me.

“Actively looking for employment”
Translation: Come and get it. I’m a cog ready to be in your wheel.

“Please look at my profile”
Translation: It’s got to get better than this. I have good skills to offer.

“Unemployed and available”
Translation: I’m desperate. I’ll do anything…anything.

Resist any action (or communication) that makes you appear to be distraught, sad, or reckless. There is no greater repulsion for a potential employer than someone with lacking confidence. Desperation kills careers.

Take pride. Keep it short. Think about what you do, and what differentiates you; not your job title.

Following are a few examples that may help to distinguish you from your competition:

“Leader. Communicator. Hospitality Pro with a Passion for Service. Traveler.”

“Coach. Developer of People and Business. Restaurant Executive. Volunteer.”

“Author. Strategist. Runner. Parent. Finder of Solutions. Grocery Professional. ”

“Money Maker. Relationship Builder. Connected to Community. Cost Saver. Retail Leader.”

Distinguishing yourself is not easy. It’s not comfortable; but the reward is greater than the challenge. Change things up. How do you define you?

David Rose is Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.