3 Tips on How to Write an Executive Resume
Executive resumes that clearly, accurately, and succinctly align your skills and experiences with how you have solved problems, saved money, streamlined operations, or groomed future leaders can increase your interview rate. Your audience of CEOs, CFOs, COOs, executive search firms, or potential Board Members will appreciate a customized resume that is easy to navigate and effectively conveys what you can deliver.
Executive Resume Summary: Tip #1
You have less than 10 seconds to capture their attention. Though the content throughout your entire professional resume and cover letter is important, the qualifications summary is your “elevator pitch” or unique edge. When considering how to write an effective CEO resume, focus your summary on strengths, passions, key results, and relevant skills that quickly and succinctly speak to your value. Below are some practical suggestions.
- Write your resume qualifications summary in three or four lines. Remember to keep it tailored to your target role or prospective employer.
- Synthesize your leadership experiences into easily digestible highlights. Maybe you have created value by leading day-to-day PMO operations for large, complex IT projects, or led an organization through a $5-million multi-divisional restructuring and cultural shift. Either way, the key here is to create a job-winning resume that conveys what makes you a perfect fit for the role.
- Tilt the scale in your favor by adding a quantifiable achievement and balancing industry-specific keywords with soft skills that showcase what you bring to the table.
Executive Resume Storytelling: Tip #2
Have you progressively moved up the career ladder? Do you have an ability to look beyond the obvious to solve problems, or have you coached and developed a team into the most profitable division in the company?
Your story is unique to you—and your personally branded executive resume should frame your career trajectory and how your experiences have prepared you for your target position.
Placing your experience and contributions in context for the reader will help strengthen your marketability. For example:
- Achieved an increase in GPM of 11.5%
is a good accomplishment:
- Achieved an increase in GPM of 11.5% through strategic outsourcing during an annual period of 13.5% declining sales
more effectively paints the picture.
Maybe you restructured a $3-million division … or maybe you reduced expenses, resulting in a 30% under-budget performance for 4 consecutive years … Highlight it! Using percentages is a great way to present your leadership efforts in context. Obviously, you will want to avoid releasing sensitive client data, performance results, or numbers that are proprietary or confidential.
Tip: In the event your environment does not support the release of certain quantifiable information, try showcasing results as: delivered a 6-figure savings; or use roughly or approximately when communicating quantifiable outcomes.
Executive Resume Presentation: Tip #3
First impressions are important! A customized resume that is focused on and tailored to your target roles versus an executive resume template will prove to be the most attention-getting format for senior-level leaders.
Format your resume to reflect—up front—your most relevant and significant career highlights—keeping in mind your audience and industry. Pepper in some bold typeface to further emphasize financial impact and allow impressive results to pop out at the reviewer.
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