Sizing up your executive competition in preparation for a job search?
You might have noticed new trends in resumes for 6 and 7-figure candidates.
No longer the staid documents seen in the past, executive-level resumes (and LinkedIn profiles) require fresh design and concentrated text to attract the right kind of attention.
Here are the latest trends in executive resume writing – with tips on incorporating them for a successful job search:
1 – Shorter Page Length Isn’t Necessarily Better.
The one-page resume “rule” is really a guideline for targeting your executive resume to the audience who will read it.
For example, it’s common to shorten your resume considerably when applying to a Board seat, or when networking in person. Each of these situations requires a snapshot of your past leadership experience, education, executive accomplishments, and affiliations – condensed and to the point.
However, many recruiters and employers like to see sufficient detail on your experience in M&A strategy, bottom-line profits, team size, and international influence. It’s best to use a storytelling approach that describes how you’ve overcome business challenges or led turnarounds, complete with hard-hitting metrics.
Incorporating this type of detail often requires extending your executive resume to 2 or even 3 pages for optimum readability.
2 – Color is Important for Emphasizing Key Points.
Yes, you CAN use color. Black-and-white documents heavy with detail are easier to skim if you’ve added a bit of color.
Your executive resume needn’t employ flashing lights and neon green, however, in order to make your point.
Step into the use of color by altering your resume headlines with a subtle blue or shading a few areas for emphasis, as shown in this example of an IT executive resume (produced for CIO.com’s IT Resume Makeover series).
3 – Profile Summaries Must Quickly Convey Your Point.
In the past, executive resume summaries were long paragraphs offering vague statements about leadership qualities and dedication (admirable qualities – but they could apply to anyone!).
Today, your resume qualifications profile should be short and stick to facts, such as a list of international regions managed or a reputation for leading turnarounds. This resume profile summary for a VP of Sales shows how to narrow the focus:
Executive rainmaker noted for quick assessment and turnaround of underperforming teams (Americas & APAC)—leveraging technology and marketing insight to correct sales methods for up to 70% improvement. High-energy, hard-charging leader who thrives on the “thrill of the sale” and structures teams for productivity.
4 – Resume Length Should be Tuned for Your Target Audience.
No one has the time to read a 7-page novel of your accomplishments. By culling success stories to hard-hitting statements, you’ll show employers the ability to focus on relevant points.
Most executive resumes can fit squarely into 2 or 3 pages, with Board resumes such as this CEO resume taking only a single page. This strategy quickly introduces the candidate and provides easy navigation.
If you struggle to condense your resume, try reworking your history into “sound bites” that capture the actions you took and the end results, using these examples for inspiration:
Delivered 42% annual profits by focusing manufacturing teams on top 8 product lines and rationalizing underperforming products.
Exceeded profit records 34% and reached #1 satisfaction scores from new relationships built with Fortune 500 customers.
5 – Accolades Can Strengthen Your Brand Message.
You’ve probably received commendations over the years for projects, sales awards, new products, or customer retention. Instead of forgetting about these testimonials, you can strategically incorporate them into your C-suite resume for a stronger personal brand message.
Be sure to include kudos that reinforce your ROI. For example, a note from the CEO on the success of a new acquisition can back up your experience in M&A strategy.
If you’ve excelled in mentoring junior executives, you could also pull in a quote from a direct report stating how much they’ve learned from you.
When using one of these recommendations in your resume, shrink it down to relevant facts and include the job title of the person issuing it (such as VP of Business Development at XYZ Company).
This award-winning CEO and Board Advisor resume shows short, powerful commendations in the first part of the document – illustrating his value to Wall Street and parent company executives.
6 – Symbols & Headlines Can Convey Your Stature & ROI.
There’s more than one way to demonstrate your fitness for a specific industry or career level, as shown in this example of a VP Medical and Clinical Affairs resume.
To describe her area of focus, a simple symbol and headline noting her specialties were used at the top of the document.
Resume headlines are one of the best ways to convey salient points of your background, while preserving space for other relevant details.
To create headlines for your executive resume, jot down short sentences or phrases that encapsulate what you do best, such as Scientific & Medical Strategies Poised for Significant Revenue Results.
Don’t use boring section titles! Instead, insert headlines like Strong, Consistent Profits & Market Transformation to introduce your achievements.
In short, your outdated executive resume CAN pack more punch with some tweaks to your content, formatting, and writing style.