Targeting a new executive job?
Ensure your resume makes a powerful entrance.
Your executive resume must convey a strong personal brand message and stay ahead of resume trends, especially as the competition heats up.
Nothing says old-school more than a resume format you’ve used for the past decade (or since your college years). Executive resumes have now evolved into striking marketing documents designed around your value proposition.
Craft the best possible executive resume with these tips to help your document resonate with employers:
1 – Pull Show-Stopping Wins to The TOP of Your Resume.
The top one-third of your resume is the BEST place to add distinguishing details, including that MBA you just earned or your Chairman’s Award.
Don’t bury relevant achievements!
Instead, leverage this prime resume real estate to add headlines (or branding taglines), which are basically statements of value to employers. An Easy Way to Express Your Personal Brand in Your Resume explains this technique in detail.
In this example of a SVP Business Development resume, the headline #1 Total Revenue Strategist for 9+ Years in Multiple Markets pops out right at the top.
Think of these headlines as a mini-elevator pitch that frames your ROI and separates you from other contenders, as in these examples:
3-Time Operational Excellence Winner Creating Millions in Cost Savings
50% Better Talent Retention in Aggressive Tech Industries
Digital Transformation Enabling Market Share Growth & 32% Efficiency Gains
2 – Design Your Executive Resume For Attention & Ease of Navigation.
An attractive, well-planned executive resume is just like any high-end business presentation! It must engage readers and connect the dots for them.
Think about it: when was the last time you enjoyed reading a dense paragraph of 10 lines or longer, written in Times New Roman? (Never, right?)
Now, your resume must guide employers to important details, using clear and achievement-specific language. An easy-to-read, sans serif font (such as Calibri) and consistent text justification will keep the focus where it belongs: on your credentials and career wins.
Don’t be afraid to add a touch of color; start off by changing your resume section headings or use color to showcase a particularly important achievement. When used strategically, color can also help separate blocks of text in an otherwise wordy document.
In the above excerpt from a CIO resume, a simple design and common font are paired with blocks of deep blue as presentation elements.
3 – Align Resume Content With Your LinkedIn Presence.
Ensure your LinkedIn Profile FINALLY reflects the stature shown on your resume. If you’ve put off updating social media, come out of hiding with a leadership value message.
Even the simplest parts of LinkedIn can mirror your executive resume, such as a Headline written to convey your goals (not just your current position). These sample Headlines show how you can offer recruiters much more than the default job title:
COO, Healthcare Operations & Hospital Systems. Cost, Technology, Staffing, & Patient Care Quality
IT Director. Enterprise & Digital Transformation in Fortune 10 Settings. Cloud, RPA, Mobile, & Hosting Solutions
When writing your LinkedIn Summary, keep in mind that only the first several hundred characters will take center stage. See 282 Reasons to Rewrite Your LinkedIn Summary Now for pointers on scaling the Summary for a more impressive message.
4 – Use Bold Text to Showcase Important Data.
Most hiring authorities will quickly navigate your resume to see career progression, education, and position dates. If these facets of your background represent you well, then you’re all set! Chances are good, however, that there’s a few items you’d rather downplay.
To highlight other competencies (cutting-edge technology skills, marquee sales accounts, or impressive job titles), use bold text or shading. Be cautious, however; if you add bold text on every line, your reader won’t know where to look.
Here, the same CIO resume shows how some items under Cost & Efficiency Contributions pop in bold text. Used sparingly, this technique helps you point out significant results of your work.
5 – Quantify Your Achievements For Stronger Impact.
Long-winded paragraphs don’t catch attention on your executive resume, but figures will. Convert your performance into specifics such as percentages or dollar figures for more impact. (There’s only so many times “significant” or “substantial” will impress employers.)
If your leadership roles require strict confidentiality, use ranges or percentages on your resume. 33%, 90-Day Growth in Revenue is a great way to show a fast effect on sales, vs. merely mentioning that your team met quotas.
You can also list budget figures, sizes of your teams, and other measures that show readiness for a next-level C-suite role. Numbers catch the eye and provide PROOF of your leadership performance.
So start your job search off right with a fresh executive resume!
A powerful presentation, content, design, and strategy will work wonders to capture a better response from employers – and a new job search full of possibilities.
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– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC, NCOPE