Writing your executive resume – and feeling overwhelmed?
Your executive career probably covers several decades, so it may seem that every detail is important at once.
Take a step back, look at your value proposition, and frame your story, step by step. By using the same executive resume writing techniques that a professional writer would employ, you’ll convey your story clearly and succinctly (and you’ll be better prepared for interview questions!).
Consider these 5 executive resume writing tactics to mine for career and personal branding to ease the process:
1 – Interview yourself, just as an executive resume writer (or interviewer) would do.
Ever stopped to ask yourself the same questions thrown at you in an interview? Most people don’t. However, you’ll find that providing answers to these queries is a great pre-writing exercise for writing your executive resume.
As a first step, note your responses to these common questions:
- What do you offer that makes you a competitive candidate?
- How have you changed company operations, revenues, or market share for the better?
- What do you expect to be accomplishing in your first year on the job?
- How have your previous positions prepared you to step into this role?
Next, take your answers and fold them into the summary section of your new executive resume. You should have a list of key qualifications and an impression of the ROI you’ve generated, as well as an idea of your future contributions, from this exercise.
2 – Include your top executive success stories.
If you haven’t made a list of your top 10 career hits, now’s the time to do so. In fact, don’t stop at 10!
Continue on until you’ve documented the best examples of your leadership abilities and reasons for promotion.
To include these in your executive resume, consider using a format such as C-A-R (which stands for Challenge-Action-Result) to show the situation you stepped into, the actions you took, and the resulting outcome for your employer.
Here, you can see how successes noted under Healthcare Privacy Authority & Strategist demonstrate the extent of this Compliance Officer’s impact on future-facing policy and privacy standards.
These shapshots of value will resonate far more with a prospective employer than a tired listing of job duties and divisional responsibilities.
3 – Answer The “Why Should I Hire You?” Question.
Consider this: when an employer makes an investment in you, they’re automatically rejecting the talents of every other executive candidate. They’re also taking the chance that the expenditures needed to hire you will result in serious ROI.
When you form your answer, think in terms of what this employer will gain? What can you deliver faster (or to higher-quality standards) than other candidates?
Will your teams be more well-trained or responsive? How will you take the company’s needs seriously — and produce results attuned to their internal and external customer requirements?
You don’t have to supply a grandiose response to use it in your executive resume. Simply list the unique qualifications and capabilities you bring to the table, then further illustrate these competencies with success stories (see #2 above), and accolades from others (see #4 below). Back these skills up with metrics showing your results in cost savings or profit.
4 – Poll Your Colleagues.
Here, you can put the feedback from bosses, customers, and co-workers to good use. Chances are good that you’ve received kudos from the Board, within customer responses, on your LinkedIn Profile, and via email from colleagues.
Take a few minutes to summarize these accolades for use in your executive resume, pulling in a sound bite such as “Commended for hiring employees later promoted to SVP and VP roles.”
You can also use a quote from a former boss or subordinate, shortening it for clarity and noting the job title of the source (such as “Peter’s skill in Lean Six Sigma has allowed our operation to become 34% more efficient.” – COO).
This example of a CEO and Board Advisor resume (above) shows how to add a quick “sound bite” quote under the professional summary, backing up claims of performance.
5 – Mine Your Performance Reviews.
Most performance appraisals are set up to outline your achievements and supply you with personal feedback. These documents are useful in tracking projects and results you may have overlooked in your resume-writing process.
If your performance appraisals contain metrics for key projects, you can use this information to show trends in your results against aggressive goals.
You might also find key initiatives or contributions that you’d forgotten to note in your resume. In addition, look at the personal notes listed by your supervisor, as this information may be useful in producing a sound bite (as described in #4 above).