Does it seem that your executive resume isn’t working?
It might not be your imagination. According to the US Bureau of Labor, 9+ million people could be looking for new jobs in 2021.
This means your resume will be facing more competition than ever.
To stand out at the executive level, you’ll need to convey a near-immediate, clearly defined leadership brand message.
If your executive resume isn’t producing responses from employers, it’s time to look at these common problems, along with suggestions for better results:
1 – You’ve employed lower-level career language in your executive resume.
By the time you’ve reached at least the Director or C-suite level, “highly motivated,” “proven ability,” or “results-oriented” aren’t going to cut it anymore.
This type of language shows that you’re struggling to articulate your personal brand and executive qualifications.
Instead, wrap a signature achievement into each statement or paragraph — allowing you to clearly assert your value proposition.
BEFORE: Here is classic, mid-career phrasing within a CTO resume summary:
CTO with strong track record in technology software product development and proven ability to build high-performance teams in international locations. Work closely with executives on strategies for entering new markets.
AFTER: Here is the same information, but with an executive slant:
CTO and executive team collaborator supplying technical and new-market insight behind 240% growth in 18 months. Fosters tight-knit cultures among globally dispersed teams, increasing productivity while retaining 100% of technical talent.
The second example includes just ONE additional word, but the metrics and strength of the language quickly position the candidate as an executive leader.
Need some ideas and examples of executive-level terminology? Try a Google search on “executive resume samples” to see the word choice, tone, and presentation styles that win interviews.
2 – Your impact on the company is missing from your resume.
Reaching the executive suite is a game-changer, requiring your focus to shift from your department to the strategic direction of the company.
Yet, many executives write their resumes as if their function is isolated – with little effect on the rest of the firm.
This “Before” version of a CFO resume describes taking on the IT functions of a company, using only tactical details:
Maintained facilities, offsite storage, and software licensing to support company investment in IT and communications systems.
In reality, these systems played a crucial part in accelerating the company’s growth, and the AFTER (more relevant) statement looks like this:
Set stage for 50% new growth with IT automation solutions; managed first infrastructure, vendor, and solutions used in HR, tax accounting, and regulatory filings.
BEFORE: Consider this phrase on another example of an IT Director resume:
Held responsibility for the strategic direction and leadership of the enterprise architecture.
AFTER: A whole-company perspective changes the tone of the sentence:
Headed IT enterprise architecture strategy positioned ABC Company for expansion, leading infrastructure modernization enabling 34% additional network capacity.
These changes illustrate ways your executive resume can show strategic impact, rather than merely focusing on the tactical duties required of your position.
3 – Your executive resume doesn’t provide metrics-driven achievements.
Quantifiable proof of your performance is CRITICAL for a successful executive resume.
A leadership resume that lacks metrics often requires employers to “fill in the blanks” and make assumptions about the impact of your work.
At a minimum, ensure your executive resume contains these figures, which help quantify the scope of your leadership roles:
- Size of teams or budgets managed
- Division or company specifications in terms of volume of employees or revenue
- Market rank for your employer in a particular segment (if prominent)
- Increases in EBITDA or profit margins
- Contract or cost savings
- Operational efficiency or productivity gains
You can obtain these figures from major projects, sales wins, process improvements, cost-cutting measures, or other achievements for these metrics.
If you’d rather not disclose dollar figures, use percentages to quantify accomplishments. For example, you may have saved 15% per employee with new hiring practices or generated 24% of 2021 growth.
Your executive resume NEEDS quantifiable achievements to ensure you’re not mistaken for a lower-level candidate.
So take a fresh look at your executive resume to see how it stacks up against other leadership candidates.
By sharpening your language and showing your leadership strengths, you’ll project a more confident image for a lasting impression.