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5 Most-Overlooked Components of a Powerful Executive Resume


7/10/2012 3:19:09 PM

5 Most-Overlooked Components of a Powerful Executive Resume By Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume Writer

If you’ve reviewed executive resume samples lately, you might realize there’s something missing from your own document.

Does your executive resume fail to convey your value clearly – and in a matter of seconds? If so, you’ll find that a few, straightforward changes can transform you from overlooked to sought-after.

Increase your chances of being considered for the coveted corner office by reviewing this list of must-have components for a cutting-edge executive resume:

1. Impressive Metrics.

Nothing – absolutely nothing – you can say about your leadership performance will resonate as much as dollar figures that represent revenue, cost savings, or margin improvement.

In today’s economy, employers are doing more with less, while expecting executives to deliver near-immediate results!

What does this mean for you? A strong brand message for your executive resume no longer translates into “25 years of experience,” but “50% rise in revenue within 6 months” or “rapid identification of $25K OPEX savings.”

Not sure how to pull out quantifiable information for your leadership resume? Try assessing the value you’ve produced against that of a previous incumbent in the same job, especially if you’ve reworked vendor contracts or retrained the sales force.

In addition, you can review past performance appraisals for projects you’ve championed or initiatives you’ve led, then estimate the effect (more sales, increased customer volume, better profits) produced from your efforts.

2. Testimonials.

Accolades for a project completed under budget, commendations from senior leadership for a profitable new idea, and kudos from colleagues are all valuable pieces of information that belong in your executive resume.

Yet, many candidates fail to realize that a commendation from a C-level leader or parent company executive can be a solid testament to the strength of their achievements.

Quotes or kudos can either be placed on the first page of your resume, or set in a text box next to the related job (as in this sample Vice President of Business Development resume).

In any case, be sure to note the source of the testimonial (“Joe’s standards are the reason for our record profits in Q4.” – CEO, ABC Company), and ensure that it supplements – not replaces – your brand message.

3. Descriptive Job Titles.

So, you’ve moved up the career ladder to that high-ranking position, and you’re now running the show… but your company hasn’t issued the title you deserve. So how do you write an executive resume without a leadership title?

You’ll need to back up your level of authority with both a factual title, plus a descriptive one, in order to present credentials at the right level.

As an example, a Vice President of IT can add “CIO-Level Charter” to point out higher-level duties on a resume (especially if the company doesn’t have a CIO), and a Manager of Accounting can add “Direct Report to CFO” to show how he fits in at the Controller level.

4. Leadership ROI.

Created revenue unmatched by others at your company? Returned your salary 10-fold in profits? Don’t hide these facts beneath a sea of mundane trivia.

Executive resumes don’t have to be written in a particular format; yet, many resumes start with a tired summary that resorts to generalities. If your leadership resume summary still describes you as a “proven leader” who is “self-motivated,” it’s time to take things up a notch!

Put your ROI front and center with a tagline proclaiming your peak achievement, right at the top of your resume. Some examples are:

23% Year-Over-Year Growth Since 2008 – Despite Economic Downturn

Technology Leader Creating Market Edge in Cloud Computing Industry

Attaining Consistent #1 Market Share at Consumer Packaged Goods Company


5. Brevity.

While 2- and 3-page executive resumes are in vogue, a narrative-form tome of 7 pages is sure to kill your shot at an interview.

Recruiters and hiring authorities don’t have time to absorb all the twists and turns of your career, however interesting or relevant they may be to your goal. Instead, it’s best to shorten and tighten your resume into a potent representation of your career.

Finding it difficult to trim your executive resume to an acceptable length? Try writing short descriptions of achievements using the C-A-R formula, which stands for Challenge, Action, and Result.

Then, limit your C-A-R stories to 5 peak achievements per job – which will force you to be selective and cut your resume length considerably.

In summary, your executive resume must present a more compelling case than a mere list of job titles and budgets, or you’ll be pushed aside by others with a more persuasive brand message.

Use these tips to put your resume in alignment with best executive resume writing practices – and you can expect a stronger level of interest from employers.

Read more biotech career tips. Find more biotech and pharma jobs by visiting the career center.

About the Author

Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is an executive resume writer and former recruiter who partners with CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, CTO, SVP, and Director candidates to win interviews at major corporations. A certified Professional Resume Writer, Online Professional Networking Strategist, Career Management Coach, Interview Coach, and Microblogging Career Strategist, she is a multiple award-winning resume writer and author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips & Resources to Access the Hidden Job Market.

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