The Value-Add of ‘Supplementals’

Oct 2, 2009

In a tight market, why not encourage candidates to go beyond the traditional resume to showcase their backgrounds and the kind of deliverables they could bring to a new position?

Supplementals provide a key advantage.


  • News articles about projects and initiatives
  • Examples of “dashboard” metrics they created to track results
  • Case studies that highlight situation/analysis/results
  • New product pitches
  • Research projects
  • “Get started” business plan — how candidates would approach the new assignment
  • “Deal sheets” that list business/financial transactions

Submit them along with the resume as separate attachments. Or create an additional page to the resume and embed weblinks that can take the reader to the content. Or instruct the candidate to bring them to the interview and use them as a “talking piece” at an appropriate interval.

Supplementals are ideal for those in the early career stage with fewer years of experience. A standout accomplishment in college or graduate school can still be appropriate content as an illustration of your track record of excellence.

Some Success Stories

A young MBA was a near perfect fit for a search assignment I was handling, but had fewer years of experience than the client required for a managerial slot.

During the phone screen, the candidate casually mentioned some news stories in which she had been featured. It was pre-YouTube, so I suggested she digitize the TV clip. I created a Word doc/reprint from the newspaper website. (Another tip: capture news/blog items while they are still available online). I submitted the supplementals to the client along with my recommendations and comments. They still didn’t hire her for the position where there was an experience shortfall, but they were impressed and created another role for her inside the company!

A second-year MBA student had a long tenure in retail but wanted to move into another sector. He had been a store manager and turned a loser location into a top sales and profit leader. I probed how he did it. He was modest and an introvert. “Oh, it was nothing,” he protested, then told an impressive story of targeting, measuring, and rewarding incremental improvements. All with minimum-wage staff, many part-time. Wow! He still had the paperwork to create and track the program. He took it to all of his on-campus interviews and won a role at a top consulting firm.

In my own experience, I was asked for a “Who Do You Know?” roster of VP-level-and-above officers of high-tech companies for a business development role at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In lieu, I created a series of Relationship Roadmaps — org charts that illustrated executives and advisors from key tech clients of mine and where they had migrated. They were populating many target companies of the firm. I explained: “It’s not whom you know. It’s who knows whom and how the relationships work together.” I bested the other candidates and won the job.

In targeting the executive search profession as a late-career move in the last downturn, I created a ramp-up plan: Achieving growth in a down market.

It showed I was serious and had a step-by-step approach to winning business. At a time when firms were downsizing, I was possibly the only person in America to get a foothold in retained executive search in 2002!

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