The size of budgets managed, divisions run, or revenue generated may have been sufficient for a recruiter to court you in the past.
However, in today’s economic climate, executives are being asked to deliver MORE and brand themselves as well-rounded leaders prepared to tackle new challenges and obstacles to growth.
Your executive resume will be judged much differently than in the job markets of years past, due to intense competition and the fact that employers can be much more selective.
It’s important to look at your executive resume with a fresh perspective. Have you missed opportunities to market yourself?
Do hiring authorities fail to understand what you bring to the table? Are you being passed over for jobs, even though you’re well-qualified?
If so, these 3 strategies can help you reassess the strength of your executive resume – with ideas for powerful content and leadership storytelling:
1 – Demonstrate strategic, not tactical, value.
Employers are not only looking for your leadership skills – they’re intent on finding a leader that will impact growth, retain top talent, and impress their competitors.
Therefore, your executive resume has to take your brand message a step further than just listing results, and talk about the situations encountered in your career.
Have you headed a new growth strategy? Conceptualized and led product rollouts? Reacted to the threat of industry competition? Addressed the effect of COVID-19 on your company?
Next, write a short success story that pulls in the challenge and explains the reasons you got involved, plus the outcome, as shown in this example for a VP Medical Affairs resume:
“Served as product advocacy leader evaluating 14 new opportunities (worth $2.5B) in North American Portfolio and Medical Affairs Management Team.”
Repeat this exercise for different situations, and create condensed summary versions of each story as the foundation of your executive resume.
2 – Go far beyond mentioning the scope of your duties.
So you’ve managed the P&L and helped create revenue growth. You’ll be up against numerous leaders with similar achievements — making it harder to stand out.
Distinguishing yourself on an executive resume requires that you specify the setting behind each of your accomplishments. To mine your background for this context, answer the following questions:
- Did you take on challenges within the company, such as frequent turnover, negative PR, or market volatility?
- Were your roles broader than what was typically required? In other words, did you take on the role of CFO and CIO simultaneously, or step into a Manager-level position to help out subordinates?
- Was the company experiencing rapid growth – putting pressure on you to hire or standardize procedures?
- Were you required to turn around a difficult situation, or address looming obstacles that threatened profits?
This example of a CEO and COO resume demonstrates the candidate’s ability to take on a wider level of authority and deliver corresponding results:
“Growth in hosting service – saving company from bankruptcy 3 times. Margin expansion to 70% ($4M revenue). Reversal of 6 years’ stagnant growth by targeting high-value NGO, mobile, CPG, and government clients.”
If any of these situations apply to your career, be sure to describe background detail when noting the scope of your achievements. The ability to gain results in these scenarios is highly sought after within the executive suite.
3 – Compare yourself to leadership peers.
Comparative analysis is one of the best ways to frame and express executive achievement, which helps to highlight your unique brand value against your competition.
For example, you might have brought in changes that were critical to company growth or customer perception – with bottom-line results. Look at each job for evidence of the following:
- New operational procedures that saved time or money
- Comparisons to your predecessor in the same role
- Performance measurements against colleagues with the same job title and function
- Industry comparisons for others in a similar role
Here, you’ll want to ensure that the comparisons made are clearly conveyed on your resume, as in this example taken from a VP Business Development resume:
“Record achievement – including 56% total company revenue since 2016 from sound relationship cultivation and quick grasp of market needs; bested peer business development managers by 100%.”
If you were specifically recruited because of the results you could deliver (and surpassed other candidates in the hiring process), be sure to note this in your executive resume.
Putting yourself out there in the executive job market requires careful thought and analysis of your brand value – an exercise that will help before you even start to write your executive resume.
Take the time to assess what you offer against your competition, and you could not only shorten your leadership job search, but find a better fit at your next employer.