Chances are, you’re finding it difficult to condense your leadership experience in just 2 or 3 pages.
You’re not alone. Most executives struggle to encapsulate decades of success in a resume (or LinkedIn Profile).
However, a too-long resume can be hard to read, dilute your brand message, and annoy recruiters.
Here are some tip-offs to a too-wordy resume:
- Your bullet sentences extend into 4+ lines, making them nearly impossible to scan quickly.
- You’ve added too much fluff, rather than getting to the point. Not every achievement must be outstanding, exceptional, or worst of all, successful. (You shouldn’t need to point this out!).
- Your resume is far too long (4+ pages).
Tune your overly wordy resume with these simple techniques:
Eliminate verbs in your resume bullet sentences.
Try an innovative sentence structure, as shown by the change in this original sentence:
Led large-scale operations restructuring and expansion of call centers and company facilities, resulting in a 63% profit increase in just three years and the region’s lowest personnel costs.
63% profit increase in 3 years, plus lowest per-employee costs with enterprise-level operations restructuring and expansion.
Here, we condensed the original sentence 37%, but it still conveys the SAME meaning!
To use this technique, put your results (metrics) in the FRONT of each sentence, then group these bullets in a first-page summary (with a name such as Selected Leadership Results).
This Global CFO Resume Sample shows an example of an achievements summary with NO VERBS, using a streamlined result-action format for faster navigation.
As you can see, trimming clutter from your resume enables you to fit more high-value achievements into a small space.
Consolidate your resume summary.
There’s no need to provide a resume summary or profile that states the obvious, such as:
Highly accomplished executive with more than 20 years as a dedicated team player with proven leadership, technology utilization, and financial expertise. Skilled in completing projects and communicating at all corporate levels, with excellent team-building and cross-functional collaboration skills.
Don’t waste this key area of resume real estate with a description that fails to tell a story. Instead, cut the volume of words, while giving a snapshot of brand value (and pulling in some attention-getting metrics).
Here’s an example culled from a leadership resume for a candidate moving up the ladder to a CTO role (note the metrics and job goal blended right into this Summary, with a message that promises value and performance):
Technology officer attaining 99.999% performance by exceeding SLA requirements through strategic planning, cost containment, and vendor negotiations.
No matter how lengthy your career history, you’ll get better results when you cut straight to the point.
In fact, you can see how a 4-line summary works perfectly to describe this Medical and Clinical Affairs leader – detailing her experience in R&D, strategic relationships, and revenue impact.
Incorporate powerful resume branding headlines.
A trade secret among professional and executive resume writers, a headline (or tagline) allows you condense more data into a tight space.
Here are some examples of headlines that encapsulate personal brand value and position the candidate for a specific role:
- Senior pharmaceutical executive behind accelerated, $3B+ product launches
- VP Sales driving 18% worldwide growth for new-media marketing company achieving worldwide recognition
- Division COO: Creating market edge with multi-site production enabling 23% faster time to market
A branding headline can quickly give employers the “big picture” of your achievements, without taking up precious space on your executive resume.
The best part? Your resume can use MORE than one headline to convey your strongest points.
To create a headline, combine the position you seek with a major achievement from your career, showing the impact of your work or your approach as a leader.
In fact, you can lift a success story directly from the body of your leadership resume and summarize it in a headline — allowing you to quickly shorten your document!
As a final step in adjusting your executive resume and tightening the language, show it to colleagues and others familiar with your work.
You’ll probably find that, even with excess words removed, it STILL conveys your brand message — and quickly!