It’s happened! You received a call out of the blue from an executive recruiter who wants to see your leadership resume quickly.
However, you haven’t kept it up-to-date, and now panic mode is setting in. What should you do?
First of all, consider asking for more time to pull things together. After all, the recruiter will be able to present you much more effectively if you can put your best foot forward on paper, and even a few extra days can make a big difference.
Now, on to your leadership resume update.
Here are 3 tips to help you craft a compelling and masterpiece presentation (that looks like these executive resume samples), even if you’re short on time:
1 – Position yourself appropriately.
Nothing kicks an executive out of the running faster than an unfocused resume.
Therefore, you’ll need to decide on a career direction that represents your executive goal, and apply it to this version of your resume. You can always create a different leadership resume for use in pursuing another position type later.
Add a resume title at the top (as shown in this Healthcare CEO and COO resume example), using as many specifics as possible that reflect your goal, such as CFO and Board Member, Vice President of Operations, IT Director, etc.
Next, you’ll need to write down ideas for a summary of your background and why you’re qualified for this particular position.
The key to writing an effective summary is to tweak it and keep it flexible during the executive resume writing process, as different ideas will spring to mind that you can weave into this section.
In addition, your leadership resume summary needn’t be an actual paragraph. Some people find it easier to write short, brand-focused headlines instead (See An Easy Way to Express Your Personal Brand in Your Resume for tips on headlines).
Remember to review your summary after finishing your resume. You might find that you’ve uncovered more information to add — strengthening and forming a powerful introduction to the rest of your executive credentials.
2 – Make a list of success stories and achievements for your resume.
Here is where you’ll need to spend the bulk of your time. Analyzing your contributions to each employer in each leadership role is critical!
Start by jotting down ideas and key points that you’d make in the interview, taking special note of the metrics behind each story and the impact of your work on the company.
Compose a short paragraph, then work backwards to cut extraneous details. You should have a brief sentence of 3 lines or less that describes your executive role, the context behind each accomplishment, and the results, as shown in these examples:
Delivered product releases attracting 32% new business within 18 months with Lean and Agile coaching for product engineering teams.
Won flagship account representing 43% of total company revenue by fostering strong C-suite account relationships.
Repeat this process a minimum of 3-5 times for each job that you’ve held in the past 10 to 15 years to fill in your leadership resume, adding as many details as possible, while keeping your sentences short and data-packed.
Finally, add these stories in bullet-point form for each job, then finish by writing a basic job description that introduces each of your executive positions — describing the number of employees you’ve supervised, budgets managed, business unit growth, and other contextual details.
3 – Get feedback on your leadership resume update.
This is an important step, but it’s one that many executives miss. Colleagues, spouses, bosses, and friends can help you to recall any important projects you might have omitted, or leadership qualities that you should demonstrate in order to be considered for the job.
You can also rely on others to help you proofread your new executive resume, as typos and other errors can escape even the best writer who is pressed for time.
You’ll want to go back over what you’ve written in detail, keeping what others have said as a guide, in order to emphasize your leadership skills and bring in other points.
Now, take the time to compose a short note to the recruiter that points out your main qualifications and the reasons you’re interested in the job.
Your new leadership resume can help do the rest of the talking.