Seeking your next executive role, or trying to move up to the corner office? You’ve probably realized that you’re up against intensive competition from candidates with a wealth of experience.
But will you need a professionally written executive resume to compete at this level? Does every executive outsource this part of the job search – or will a do-it-yourself approach be just as effective?
Yes and no. While it’s true that every move counts in your leadership job search – and that numerous executives in today’s aggressive market have leveraged a professionally written resume – there are cases where you’ll be able to rely on a self-written document.
Here are 5 considerations to weigh when deciding to use the services of an executive resume writer – plus reasons you may be able to go it alone:
1 – Is writing your strong suit?
If you’re a naturally expressive writer who rarely looks to others’ work as a template for your own presentations, then you may be able to compose a detailed, achievement-rich story of your background needed to capture interest at an executive level.
However, if you dread writing in detail about most subjects – and you haven’t kept up on the latest trends in executive resume writing, then it’s time to consider bringing in an expert.
This is especially true in cases where your background is complex, and you anticipate devoting hours to weeks on the task.
Rather than spending considerable time on your leadership resume, it can make more sense to invest your time in establishing and strengthening networking relationships, starting conversations with executive recruiters, and polishing your LinkedIn / social media presence.
2 – Do your competitors rely on experts?
There are some fields in which leadership professionals nearly always rely on the services of a professional resume writer.
Executives in sales and marketing roles, for example, regularly tap into resume writing services to help them edge out the competition. (Many resume writers will tell you their main business is centered on serving sales professionals).
In other fields involving more jargon and technical skills, though, you may find executive resume writing services to be the exception. As an example, some medical professionals are able to target a leadership role if their degrees, places of residency, or areas of practice speak for themselves.
Of course, a professionally prepared medical leadership document, such as this VP of Medical Affairs resume, can be helpful in organizing large amounts of data.
For executives at a C-suite level (CEO, CFO, CLO, CTO, etc.), delegation is common, with numerous candidates leveraging the services of an executive resume writer because they’re accustomed to outsourcing tasks of high complexity.
In this case, a professionally prepared presentation will be a must – as your resume will be routinely compared against the well-crafted executive portfolios of these candidates.
3 – Are your skills extremely rare – and in hot demand?
If your phone is ringing off the hook with calls from executive recruiters, or you’re receiving at least several LinkedIn messages per week from employers eager to bring you in for an interview, you may not need to turn to an executive resume writer.
The same will be true if your field has few experts – and your resume or LinkedIn presence will therefore generate interest quickly.
On the other hand, if you find sending out your executive resume only results in the sounds of silence (even after multiple rounds of tweaking it to fit the job description or to add accomplishments), then it’s time to look closely at an executive resume writing service as part of your strategy.
4 – Have you been able to write (not just talk) about yourself effectively?
Many people can tell a colorful story of their achievements and career high points – but only if asked probing questions, and only in talking through their stories.
If you possess this type of “blind spot” (and many of us do), then struggling to write your own executive resume can be a daunting task. In this case, you’ll find collaborating with a top-notch resume expert to be invaluable, as they’ll spend the time to draw out both your career stories and the relevance of each one to your ultimate goal.
However, there are executives who’ve stayed in close touch with their inner marketer, continually documenting colorful anecdotes and achievement stories that effectively describe their career paths. If this applies to you, then writing your own executive resume isn’t that much of a stretch.
5 – Are you up to speed on trends in executive resume writing?
Many people are surprised at the new look of leadership resumes, particularly when they review executive resume samples to get an idea of what others are using in job search.
If you’ve stayed relatively current on resume trends, or had a resume professionally written within the 2011 through 2013 timeframe, you may be able to put together a striking presentation that will capture attention.
Conversely, if you’re unaware that an executive resume can take up more than a page, or if you’ve never experimented with fonts beyond Arial or Times New Roman, then your job search can suffer significantly from a bland resume – and you’ll need expert help.
In summary, executive resume writing services can be effective, but they’re not for everyone. Consider your situation and needs in context against the job you’re seeking, and make your decision accordingly.
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