Stand-out executive resumes go beyond results to communicate the context, story, and unique combination of executive-level competencies that make an impact. This month’s resume expert, Marjorie Sussman, demonstrates how to write an executive resume that rises above the competition.
Build Personal Brand Through Facts, Not Adjectives
The days of summaries filled with adjectives and superlatives are gone. By using selected sound bites, an executive resume builds a cohesive brand based on facts and success stories.
Minimize Space on Non-Distinguishing Skills
While listing core competencies or areas of expertise is often desired by recruiters, these items will not differentiate one executive from another. Executive resumes limit the resume real estate these items consume, knowing that competencies will be demonstrated within their success stories.
Tell a Story … Succinctly, But with Intrigue
Most importantly, executive resumes go beyond listing results by adding the context and challenge that demonstrates the true impact the executive had on the organization. They use comparisons, before-and-after stories, market conditions, and other context to build intrigue, develop brand, and frame results.
Start by considering the challenges you faced in a new role. What were your metrics and how did you achieve them?
When appropriate, tell the story of your tenure at an organization before diving into the specifics.
Share the context. What was going on in the company during your tenure and how did that impact your actions and results?
View the complete sample here. By clicking below, you agree to never copy content or design of a resume … that goes against everything that makes a resume successful!
By Laurie Smith
Every few weeks I receive a call from a prospective client who seems doubtful that a resume is actually needed at all in an executive level job search. (At this point I chuckle inwardly, wondering why they picked up the phone to call an executive resume writer.) They wonder if networking and interpersonal interaction with prospective employers is replacing the executive resume, or if perhaps all they need is a “marketing letter” or bio—or maybe no documentation at all. Feedback from my clients who leverage their resumes quite successfully as well as from recruiters and hiring executives who are in the trenches of bringing in executive talent is revealing. It indicates that while the resume is not anywhere near dead, its usage and timing in the process of hiring is undergoing a gradual evolution.
Traditionally, sending in your resume was usually the initial step, followed by the typical sequence of telephone interview, in-person interview, offer, negotiation, and acceptance. Enter social media and the Web. While it is significant that by far the majority of recruiters are Googling a candidate before contacting them based on their submitted resume, even more significant is the fact that many recruiters and hiring managers look to the Internet and particularly networking sites such as LinkedIn FIRST to identify and initiate contact with candidates. They will search for articles you have written or that have been written about you, read your entries on Twitter or your blog, monitor your contributions on forums, and glean a strong picture of you before ever requesting or setting eyes on your resume. Once they contact you, then the resume will come into the picture.
Of course, how well your resume represents you and makes a business case for why you would make an excellent hire will make or break your candidacy at this point. By the same token, if you are leveraging networking to the hilt in your job search (you are, aren’t you?), a savvy approach is to first establish contact and dialogue with a recruiter or potential employer. Once interest is piqued, the request for your resume will likely ensue.
Staying current in 2013 on Executive Resume Trends can be a daunting task. However, we have used the proverbial crystal ball to research, identify and outline various trending items that today’s top executives need to know to stay ahead of their competition and optimize their compensation in today’s competitive landscape. Consider at the following executive management resume trends when writing your resume:
(1) Write your resume to be found by recruiters using Boolean search terms. Corporate and search firm recruiters use Boolean search terms in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), social media sites (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Search, etc…) and other association niche sites to find talented executives. Bottom line is if your executive resume does not include these phrases used naturally in your resume, your resume may not surface in the search results. Be sure to keyword optimize your document.
(2) Ensure your resume is ATS friendly. Complicated graphs, ornate graphics, tables, charts and other electronic document ‘flair’ may not really ‘fly’ when it comes to your resume getting processed properly by an applicant tracking system (ATS). Use font type, font treatment (bold, italics), borders and shading elements to give your resume a distinct look, without inhibiting its digestibility into ATS systems.
(3) Have visual versions of your traditional, content resume. What do I mean by this? Consider an infographic of your experience timeline to post on Pinterest, a video resume on Vine or YouTube or a PowerPoint displaying your successes on SlideShare. Not only do these forms demonstrate your presentation savvy, it can also speak to various audience types that flock to these different sites. It can also help you be found more readily by recruiters, as your information is catalogued by Google Search and other search engines in a multitude of ways.
(4) Give your resume a marketing collateral feel by using branding elements in your content and visual choices. Utilize every aspect of your executive management resume (words, colors, borders, font type, font size, shading elements, etc.) to brand yourself and make you and your resume memorable in the mind of the hiring manager. Be sure your unique value proposition is communicated clearly to the reader immediately!
(5) Realize the top ¼ of your first resume page is prime real estate. Use it to capture your reader’s attention, keep them engaged, keyword optimize your document and visually set yourself a part from the competition. That is a lot of work to be done by a small section of your resume. Don’t waste it.
(6) Use achievement based bullets and not job description bullets when describing your work experience. Employers want to see how you succeeded at a certain function—not simply that you were responsible for the function. How you made money, saved on costs, streamlined processes and contributed to the corporate culture in measurable manners is what you need to outline on your executive resume.
(7) Move past just having a LinkedIn Account and consider employing other social media venues to promote your brand and cultivate new professional contacts. See where other professionals in your industry congregate online and open up accounts on those sites to see what traction you can gain and real time information you can find to make your communications more precise.
(8) Please just stop using objective statements—this is not really even a new trend, but some executives really feel the need to put one on the resume. And it just needs to stop! Summaries are the new resume writing technique (ok, not so new technique) where you describe how you will add value to the new employer’s requirements.
(9) Use whatever resume length is best for you—but not a word longer than it needs to be. Concise writing is still king!! The one-page, two-page or multi-page rule has become less hard and fast and really is dependent on the person’s background and industry. But realize, just because you write it does not mean it will be read. Keep your reader engaged in 5-10 second increments no matter how long your resume is.
(10) Customize your resume for each exploratory inquiry and defined job application you make. The more you know about the job, make the customization specific. The less you know about the job, make the customized elements of your document more broad to appeal to a wider range within your discipline and/or industry.
By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRWEnelow Enterprises, Inc
This article is not about the ABC’s of resume writing. Rather, it’s about creating the “right” perception of who you are to support your current search objectives. If you’re an EVP of Sales looking for another sales management position, the resume writing process is reasonably straightforward. However, if you’re that same EVP of Sales who is now looking to transition into a general management role, your resume will be entirely different. Although you’ll continue to highlight your strong revenue performance, you’ll want equal emphasis on your management achievements, roles, and responsibilities. You must create a resume strategy and structure that “paints the picture” as you wish someone to “see” you and understand your value.
Following are four common resume strategies that might help you overcome specific issues or challenges you may be facing.
CHALLENGE: To create a picture of cohesive employment despite the fact that your company has changed ownership 4 times in the last 10 years.
SOLUTION: Use the recommended format below. Note that it communicates long-term employee with the same organization and not a job hopper with 4 employers over the past 10 years.
VERIZON, Albany, New York – 1991 to Present
(Originally recruited to NYNEX Telephone System in 1991. Company was acquired by Bell Systems in 1994; then by Alltel in 1998; and most recently, by Verizon in 2001.)
Managing Director – US Cellular Division (2004 to Present)
Director – US Cellular Division (2003 to 2004)
Manager – Cellular Site Provisioning (2000 to 2003)
Manager – Purchasing & Outsourcing Contracts (1998 to 2000)
Purchasing Agent – Government Division (1996 to 1998)
CHALLENGE: To create a resume that you can use for BOTH general management positions as well as “specialized” management positions (e.g., CFO, CIO, Sales Director, VP of Logistics).
SOLUTION: Use the recommended format below. Note that this candidate wants to remain in the Financial Services & Banking industry, but is considering both general management and financial management positions.
FINANCIAL SERVICES & BANKING INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE
US & International Markets
MBA Degree – NYU Stern School of Business
Leadership & Organizational Expertise
Financial & Investment Expertise
CHALLENGE: To position yourself for a career change into the technology industry when your entire experience has been in other industries.
SOLUTION: “Connect” yourself to the technology industry with a format similar to the one below that was written for an executive whose entire career had been in the plastics manufacturing industry. Note the description of his company.
Vice President & General Manager – 1999 to Present
BLOCK MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, Butte, Montana
($40 million manufacturer with state-of-the-art technology & automation center)
Job description is an equal blend of general management AND technology development/management functions, including such buzz words as e-commerce, networking and advanced automation.
CHALLENGE: To create the perception that you are a “big” company executive when the reality is that you’ve worked for small consulting firms throughout your entire career.
SOLUTION: Include a listing of your major corporate clients in the very first section of your resume. This clearly communicates that you’ve “played with the big boys” and immediately positions you as an “insider.”
SALES PROCESS, PRODUCTIVITY & PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT EXECUTIVE
Armour, Chevron, Citibank, Coors, Frito-Lay, Nabisco, Pepsico, Wells Fargo
US & Global Business Markets
WARNING: There are no absolutes in resume writing. These recommendations are simply examples of alternative strategies that may or may not be applicable to your executive career track. Use them to help you rethink your resume writing strategy to be sure that you are writing to support your specific search objectives.
Remember, the single most important consideration in resume writing is to create an accurate picture of how you want to be perceived NOW (not in the past). Using your objective as the overall framework for your resume, how can you integrate your experiences to support that objective? You’ll find that the answer may not be the traditional chronological resume format, but perhaps a more unique strategy.