Client’s Level or Desired Level…Getting It Right!

Career GrowthThis query was posted this week by a veteran resume writer with MRW, ACRW, CPRW, CJSS, CCM, CEIP, JCTC credentials in a LinkedIn group I am a member of. I think there is much for six-figure executives and those wanting to reach this level to ponder when choosing an Executive Resume Writer and in determining if you’re truly qualified to write your own resume, if this is the option you are seriously contemplating in your job search at this time.

MRW, ACRW, CPRW, CJSS, CCM, CEIP, JCTC’s Discussion: I have a client who is a Senior Director in a large corporation but wants to move up to an even more senior level somewhere. At this point, the resume I’ve drafted for him has, according to his former boss, raised him from appearing to be a lower level manager (his initial resume) “to director level in my mind, but not to a high level senior supply chain executive.

The ex-boss said it was “too specific in terms of numbers: ex. number of people managed, $$$ this and that…all mid-level stuff. Senior execs are all about defining and implementing strategies, building and leading teams to success, customer and supplier relationships, interaction with corp. execs….”

To a certain extent, I agreed and am making a few minor adjustments; however, I disagreed with his emphasis on doing what sounds to me like generalizing the areas that should be covered–if we don’t give quantifiable, measurable or otherwise clearly valuable aspects to those areas, how does our client really send a stand-out message? After all, anyone can claim to do a good job in those areas, but not everyone really does them or does them well.

My Response: Without seeing the document I think the ex-boss is telling you your focus is off-base.

A director-level resume is not all about #’s and $’s and %’s. Rather this ex-boss hit it on the head, it is more about implementing strategies, building and leading teams to success, customer and supplier relationships, interaction with corp. execs etc.

I think you have a valid point wanting to give quantifiable, measurable or otherwise clearly valuable aspects of a client’s past to send a stand-out message. But this can be accomplished in many ways, not only with facts and figures.

Without seeing the work, I imagine the message your client, and you by extension are being given is not to make the main focus on the value your client brings to the table, but to focus on what the new employer is most interested in. In other words the desired level, not your client’s level, especially since facts and figures can often be misleading

In other words this ex-boss feels he and his peers are more interested in seeing what will make your client successful in the more senior role that they will hire him for as opposed to what made him a success in his previous role.

In my senior executive resumes I tend to agree with the ex-boss and concentrate less on the C-A-R points (challenge-action-results) and more on delineating the subtle points that are paramount for a senior executive and use several unique styles to do so.

MRW, ACRW, CPRW, CJSS, CCM, CEIP, JCTC’s GA’s Reply: “Thanks for the excellent feedback. I’ll definitely give it serious thought. I think my biggest challenge is still how to make the kinds of points the former boss is recommending without having them sound like generic statements that could be made by a host of executives, so I’ll have to work on that.”

Job seekers, especially those who are unemployed, you know as well as I do that in this economy and marketplace there are a limited number of positions available that offer opportunities for upward growth, let alone an opportunity to secure a position at the same level you’re at or just left. Making matters more onerous, today’s candidate pool is over-saturated with qualified competitors. Therefore you need every advantage possible to get yourself noticed and generate interviews.

An executive resume is a much needed tool. However not all resume writers are equal; and most are not up to the task of crafting a marketing document that will resonate with a discerning audiences at this rarified level, no matter how many letters follow our name.

Most resume writers are excellent writing for recent graduates and low to mid-level personnel. Some specialize in certain technical industries such as IT or engineering and some are qualified to write resumes for a management and professional level clientele.

Still, there is a special talent and experience needed to craft an Executive Resume that only a select few resume writers possess. So if you go this route you need to due your due diligence in order to choose wisely.

Also, with this information in mind, if the vast majority of experienced, professional resume writers find it difficult to determine what exactly goes into an Executive Resume and how to pull it all together in terms of content, format, style and visual appeal, what are the odds that you are up to the task of writing your own Executive Resume?


Perry Newman, CPC CSMS is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach, AIPC certified recruiter and SMMU certified social media strategist known for his ability to help his clients get results. You can view his sample resumes at, and email him your resume at for FREE resume critique.

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