Writing your executive resume – and feeling overwhelmed?
Your executive career probably covers several decades, so it may seem that every detail is important at once.
Instead of rushing to document everything, look at how executive resume writers approach the process. They learn your value proposition and build your story, step by step, to ensure a standout document.
By using the same resume building techniques as a professional writer, you’ll convey your story clearly and succinctly – and become better prepared for interview questions.
Use these 5 executive resume writing tactics for a crisp, clear personal brand and an EASIER writing process:
1 – Interview yourself (as an executive resume writer (or employer) would.
Ever stopped to ask yourself the SAME questions thrown at you in an interview?
Providing answers to these queries is a great pre-writing exercise for an executive resume.
As a first step, note your responses to these common questions:
- What do you offer that makes you a competitive candidate?
- How have you changed company operations, revenues, or market share for the better?
- What do you expect to accomplish in your first year on the job?
- How has your previous experience prepared you to step into this role?
- What have others said about your work, leadership style, or integrity?
Next, take your answers and fold them into the summary section of your new executive resume, which could look like this:
Energetic corporate strategy leader offering consistent 6% CAGR growth record – leveraging progressive promotions and expertise in marketing, sales, analytics, and product strategy. Characterized as forthright, curious champion for change and trend watching; poised to deliver exceptional results in new international markets.
With a powerful list of key qualifications and the ROI you’ve generated, plus a reference to your future contributions, your summary will pop against the tired paragraphs in other resumes.
2 – Include your top executive success stories.
If you haven’t made a list of your top 10 career hits, now’s the time to do so. In fact, don’t stop at 10!
Continue on until you’ve documented the best examples of your leadership abilities and reasons for promotion.
To include these in your executive resume, consider the C-A-R format (which stands for Challenge-Action-Result) to show the situations you stepped into, the actions you took, and the resulting outcome for your employer.
Here, you can see successes under Executive & Growth Leadership Impact that demonstrate the extent of this COO’s influence on contract negotiations and product quality.
These snapshots of value will resonate far more with a prospective employer than a cliched list of job duties and divisional responsibilities.
3 – Answer the “Why should I hire you?” question.
When an employer makes an investment in you, they’re automatically rejecting the talents of every other executive candidate! Be clear about the ROI you’ll deliver and the reasons they should take you seriously.
What will the employer gain by hiring you? What can YOU deliver faster (or to higher-quality standards) than other leaders?
Will your teams be more well-trained or responsive? How will you produce results according to their internal and customer expectations?
You DO NOT need to supply a grandiose response to use it in your executive resume. Simply list the unique qualifications and capabilities you bring to the table, then further illustrate these competencies with success stories (see #2 above), and accolades from others (see #4 below).
Back these skills up with metrics showing your results in cost savings or profit.
4 – Poll your colleagues, customers, and bosses.
Here, you can put the feedback from the Board, executive team, customers, and co-workers to good use. Chances are good that you’ve received kudos, even in casual ways such as a positive email from a customer.
Take a few minutes to summarize these accolades for use in your executive resume, pulling in a sound bite such as “Commended for hiring employees later promoted to SVP and VP roles.”
You can also use a quote from a former boss or subordinate, shortening it for clarity and noting the job title of the source (such as “Peter’s skill in Lean Six Sigma has allowed our operation to become 34% more efficient.” – COO).
This example of a CEO and Board Advisor resume (above) shows how to add a quick “sound bite” quote under the professional summary, backing up claims of performance.
5 – Mine performance reviews for more wins.
Most performance appraisals are set up to outline your achievements and supply you with personal feedback. Don’t overlook these documents when writing your resume. Often, you’ll find project details and results you can now use for a stronger presentation.
If your performance appraisals contain metrics for key projects, you can use this data to show trends in how you reach for results against common challenges.
You might also find key initiatives or contributions that you’d forgotten to note in your resume. In addition, look at the personal notes listed by your supervisor, as this information may be useful in producing a sound bite (as described in #4 above).