Has your executive resume failed to produce results?
It might contain irrelevant details crammed into too-few pages.
If you copied flowery phrases from other resumes, described yourself as “highly accomplished,” or left out metrics when describing achievements, your resume could be STARVING employers of the data needed to make a decision.
Do any of these resume space-wasting sins look familiar?
1 – Minimal distinguishing details.
The top third of your executive resume must immediately capture attention – but does yours start out like this?
“Accomplished and results-driven executive with a distinguished 20-year career in… ”
This type of “fluff” forfeits valuable space that could be used for specifics on your leadership achievements, educational credentials, and stature.
Instead, write a qualifications summary DIRECTLY related to your brand value, using keywords and powerful metrics that support your goal:
“Senior corporate strategist and President sought to head divisions of multinational companies, attaining 23%-45% CAGR in positions requiring sales, IT, supply chain, and operations acumen. Consecutive 6-year Infinity Award winner for excellence in business planning. Columbia MBA.”
What Should Your Executive Resume Look Like? describes these and other strategies for conveying your ROI.
2 – Text-heavy paragraphs stuffed into a single page.
Of course, you WANT to put a clearly written, readable document in front of employers, but there’s no reason to sacrifice pertinent details because you’re trying to meet an imaginary page limit. (see How Long Should Your Executive Resume Be?)
Your resume should be just as long as needed to convey performance and value in your next role. Most resumes fit into 2 pages, but some complex careers require 3 pages.
Use borders, shading, color, or graphics to help condense data.
The idea, as shown by this TORI award-nominated Chief Nursing Officer resume, is to help the reader navigate your career story.
By blending metrics and examples of ROI with graphic elements, you can clearly convey success stories. This is much better than squeezing excess words into a tight space with a hard-to-read font.
3 – The same headings as everyone else.
Why is your summary of achievements called Summary of Achievements?
What if you used a customized resume heading that supported your goal of a CIO role, such as Examples of IT Leadership, or promoted your qualifications for a CMO position, using Profit & Sales Results From Marketing Initiatives?
Select otherwise-boring areas of your executive resume, such as Core Competencies, Education, or Professional Profile, and think of more meaningful terms (as shown in this example of an IT Director resume).
This way, you’ll be able to use Sales Prospecting & Closing Skills, Technology Education, or Qualifications for Regional CFO as reinforcement for your value proposition.
Don’t corral your executive career into a boring resume presentation!
Broaden your imagination and maximize valuable resume real estate to convey your value proposition and compel employers to contact you.
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- Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC, NCOPE