Does Your Executive Resume Sell You Short?

Finding yourself in the job market after many years in leadership roles? Plenty of things have changed, starting with the tone and presentation of your executive resume.

An executive resume that works in today’s market must be an empowering, descriptive piece that brings forth the best parts of your experience, while highlighting the magnitude of teams or initiatives you’ve directed.

However, many executive resumes shortchange candidates by focusing too heavily on daily staff interactions, incorporating minimal details, or ignoring the impact from each job.

Your executive resume is doing you a disservice if:

1 – It lacks the context of your success stories.

Few people walk into a new job believing everything will be perfect. Often, you’re anticipating that teams will require restructuring, operational improvements will be needed, the company will need an infusion of new capital (or revenue), and consensus will need to be built for all these changes.

However, few executives think to note these challenges on their resumes, instead listing just the end results of their achievements.

It’s important to add situational context into anything you show as a success story on your resume.

As an example, consider how “Analyzed financial information to identify trends and weaknesses” can be transformed into “Raised the bar for profit performance and accountability – creating 8% EBITDA increase in 2 years from financial analysis, uncovering trends and recommending corrective actions.”

2 – It packs your entire career into a single page.

The days of the one-page resume are over! This “rule,” which originated back in the days of typewriters, meant that you had to cram just the basic facts of your professional life into a bare-bones document.

Now that resumes have evolved into marketing pieces designed to promote your personal brand and value proposition, it’s perfectly acceptable to showcase your expertise in 2 or even 3 pages.

In fact, expanding your executive resume to 3 pages (as shown in this example of a COO resume) can give employers the chance to digest important facts of your background and more clearly follow your career trajectory – without sacrificing critical detail.

Another benefit to a longer resume? More white space, a larger font (for those over-40 leaders who’ll appreciate its readability), and a better chance to strategize how your information will be presented.

3 – It skips over the magnitude of what you’ve done.

Scope is a very important concept in executive resumes, yet this can be hard to see when you’re mired in day-to-day details, or focused on only your leadership qualities.

As an example, if your IT executive resume opens with a line such as “Highly analytical technical professional and team leader… “ vs. “Strategic Technology Executive Helming IT Improvements at $3.5B Corporation,” then this applies to your situation.

This sample global CEO resume also demonstrates how specific metrics can describe a candidate’s span of accountability, showing P&L responsibility for a $1B+ region and selection by the Chairman to run the Asia Pacific region as measurements of leadership authority.

To ensure that the scope of your authority and accomplishments are represented in your leadership resume, be sure to include the size of budgets, teams, and revenue impact. You’ll also want to note the scope of new systems you’ve implemented or M&A efforts that required your involvement.

So, even if it’s been a long time since you created an executive resume, you’ll want to avoid skipping over the salient details and successes that have propelled you to this point.

Instead, focus on the reasons you’ve been promoted and the impact of your work – conveying your value as a top candidate in concise, powerful terms.

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