If your job search strategy keeps running into a brick wall whenever you send out your executive resume or you are repeatedly receiving phone calls for lower paying positions that are below your capabilities, it may be time to re-examine your executive resume layout.
One of the main things to remember is your executive resume is a strategic marketing tool and its main objective should be a Sell Me not Tell Me document. Creating a laundry list of job responsibilities and task-driven statements, on your executive resume only tells readers what you get paid to do. However, hiring managers and executive recruiters are interested in learning more about what you can do for them - the best way to highlight and illustrate that is through your qualifications, expertise, personal brand, length and breadth of experience, and bottom-line impact and quantifiable results.
So how do you make sure you are communicating all these factors in an executive resume? Here are seven steps to an attention-getting executive resume.
1. Have a Crystal, Clear Profile
Your executive resume is your personal marketing tool and the product you are selling is YOU. At first glance - especially in the resume profile section, the reader should know immediately know who you are, the value you bring to the table, and what differentiates you from the rest of the pack.
If you are unsure of your job target or immediate career goals, a generic, one-size-fits-all resume is not going to help you. Focused, targeted executive resumes are the only way to convince hiring managers you are the right person for the job. Which one of these executives would you trust as your next CFO?
Candidate A: By training and professional experience, highly qualified in financial and strategic management of business in many industries.
Candidate B: Performance-driven finance executive with deep expertise in spearheading initiatives that strengthen internal infrastructure, expand revenue-generating capabilities, and maximize ROI for start-up and high-growth companies.
2. Bring Your Differentiating Traits and Value to the Top of the Resume
A key career marketing strategy is to determine how do you stand out from your peers who have a similar career background and offer the same strengths to potential employers. Start off by extracting strong statements from your performance evaluations or management feedback reports to make an immediate connection with resume readers, generate real interest, and entice employers to call you in for a personal interview.
Which of the following candidates would you be interested in meeting right away?
Candidate A: Fifteen years experience supporting corporate IT operations and application development in complex 24×7 environments involving multi-site locations.
Candidate B: Primary architect and pioneer of groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind technology initiatives that reposition companies for long-term sustainability and continued financial success. He is truly a strategic thinker who can ascertain the business challenge and deliver an innovative, technology-driven solution.
3. Avoid Vague, Me-Oriented Resume Objectives
Hook potential employers in with buying motivators. Instead including self-centered objective statement that screams I am only focused on my needs on your executive resume, incorporate brand-focused statements of value that show employers how they gain from bringing you on board. Which of the following candidate seems like the right fit for a manufacturing executive position?
Candidate A: Seeking a challenging leadership position in manufacturing and product operations.
Candidate B: Pioneering manufacturing executive with proven success in devising manufacturing and plant operating strategies that eliminate redundancies, increase production output, and deliver productivity, quality, and efficiency improvements.
4. Develop a Personal Brand and Branding Statement That Sizzles
While your direct experience and executive qualifications help employers to determine whether you are a strong candidate, a strong personal brand and brand statement concisely captures your strengths, value, talents, and performance drivers.
When used strategically on an executive resume along with a title header, it really makes a strong statement right away.
SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE
Telecommunications & Technology Services
Driving operational initiatives that propel revenue growth, expand market share, and increase competitive advantage for startup, international companies.
5. Create Resumes Not Career Obituaries
While it is essential to cover the depth, scope, and breadth of your executive experience and related responsibilities, make sure that you are not inadvertently creating a career obituary in an effort to effectively market yourself. Even if you are an executive with more than 20 years of experience, you can still create a winning resume that highlights your key qualifications without weighing down the document with extraneous details.
Here are two ways to handle early career experience on your resume without having to list every position you had since high school.
Choice A: EARLY COMPANY EXPERIENCE: Delivered significant contributions to company's revenue growth and production output through Manager of Engineering & Maintenance and Project Engineer positions.
Choice B: EARLY CAREER: Held series of executive management and leadership roles including VP, Finance/Controller for several national restaurant chains.
6. Enhance Your Responsibilities With Quantifiable, Descriptive Details
Tell employers about the scope of your leadership and management responsibilities, but don't get bogged down in minute details so that your executive resume ends up falling short on unique value proposition. Powerful facts/statistics to include in the position description are department or divisional budget size, the number of direct/indirect reports, the number of divisions or branches you manage, sales/revenue objectives, the number of clients, local, national or regional offices, and the title of your immediate boss.
Condense your tasks to three to five sentences in a paragraph, pepper with vibrant action verbs, industry keywords, and make sure it is completely void of overused, passive phrases like Responsible for the development of marketing plans for clients in the West Coast region.
Always maximize your valuable resume space for details on important projects, achievements, and other accolades.
Before: Manage daily activities for real estate portfolio for investment management company and supervise staff members.
After: Challenged to deliver 10% return on $700 million investment portfolio in unpredictable, evolving real estate industry. Oversee all daily activities including ROI maximizations, client relations, loan negotiations, and investment dispositions.
7. Add Icing to Your Executive Resume
You can tell everyone how great you are, but unless you demonstrate your greatness through strong, high-impact achievement statements, employers and recruiters will have a hard time believing you. Remember it is very critical to communicate the context in which your career achievement were realized - in other words, saying you grew revenues 25% in one year sounds fantastic, but if it was already growing at that pace then your actual contribution was minimal. Which of the following candidates comes across like a powerhouse to you?
Candidate A: Saved the company thousands of dollars during first year on the job.
Candidate B: Achieved zero lost time and 100% staff productivity during12 consecutive months for first time in company's operating history-saving company $500,000.