Truths about Executive Resumes You Might Not Have Known

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By: Christine Wilson

If you Truths about Executive Resumesthink that executive resumes are closely similar to the standard one, you are wrong. Generally, executive resumes are designed not only to demonstrate stereotypical achievements like standard resumes do. But more importantly, they are prepared to show off the applicant’s visionary and outstandingly excellent qualifications.

Executive resumes must demonstrate the applicant’s success in leadership in past positions, plus success strategies that can or will be carried to the next job title. They should present an impressive overview of the applicant’s career path and how, in each position, he or she has demonstrated the ability to take the reins and bring the organization into steady growth, new markets, expanded offerings, or new directions.

Read the following truths about executive resumes. These will help you determine if you are making the right move or not. Learn from them and apply them to yourself.

Executive resumes have several pages

While it is true that you, as an applicant, only have a few seconds to capture a reader’s attention, it is also true that with each additional page you reduce the chances of your resume being read thoroughly. For most executives, it is unrealistic and nearly impossible to compress many years of experience to one or two pages. When attempted, important achievements are left out to make room for a full chronology of the career history and education. What is left is a boring listing of companies, positions, and dates that are guaranteed to turn off the reader and land your resume in the circular file.

A better strategy is to write your resume with exactly as much detail and description as is needed to convince the reader that you are the ideal candidate to have a big contribution to the company – to compel him to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. While this is sometimes a difficult balance to strike, you should review and edit your resume with a very discriminating eye toward reducing unnecessary wordiness.

Every word in your resume should have a purpose. Use succinct, dynamic, action-oriented language to convey your ability to add value to the targeted company and you will capture and hold attention through three or even more pages.

Executive resumes have objective statement

It is essential that your executive resume is audience-focused. It must communicate that you understand the employer’s needs and that you are uniquely qualified to meet them. The objective tells the reader what you want from him or her. A popular and often more effective alternative, the executive profile, allows one to establish focus to the resume while summarizing the key qualifications and value you offer the employer. This is the subtle but critical difference that may decide who will be interviewed.

Executive resumes display accomplishments

The absolute most important element of your executive resume is your value proposition. Your unique ability to solve business problems, meet challenging goals, and produce desired results should be the focus of your executive profile and this focus should be supported by proof throughout your career. How better to do this than through achievement-oriented, results-focused descriptions of your career history?

While employers and recruiters will want to know the scope of your previous position (number of direct reports, amounts of budgets managed, areas of management authority, etc.), this is most effectively communicated within the context of the challenges you faced, the actions you took, and the results of your actions. “Responsibilities” only tell the reader what you were supposed to do, not what you actually did do.

Use powerful, active language to concisely tell the reader the “story” behind your most recent or relevant positions. By documenting your consistent ability to produce results and solve problems, you will demonstrate your ability to produce similar results in the future.

Executive resumes do not carry too personal information

There is no way to predict the personal biases of the individuals who will read your resume. The initial way that an employer uses a resume is to filter the qualifications of candidates.

Board memberships, related volunteer work, and professional associations should often be included but religious affiliations, family status, country club memberships, and hobbies have no place on an executive resume. The only exception to this is when you are preparing a resume specifically written to appeal to a single individual whom you are absolutely certain would be fascinated in your piloting license or passion for golf. If you are certain that your personal information will help you to break the ice and build rapport, you may have a valid reason for including it.

Christine Wilson works for a corporate advertising agency that mainly deals with personal branding and personality marketing.


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