Executive resume trends – and the entire world of communications have changed forever. Now that sound bites, memes, and viral messaging are here to stay, your resume must make a quick, powerful impression on employers.
No matter your industry or position, employers and recruiters will be performing a fast scan of your executive resume to get a feel for your credentials, career history, and social media presence.
Make their job easier by following executive resume trends, ensuring you’re making your mark and taking the best opportunity to shine among your job-searching competition: (more…)
A funny thing happened during the job market of the past 10+ years… where resumes started to showcase strong personal brands instead of career obituaries.
Plenty has changed in job search over the past decade, and your executive resume needs to wake up to new trends.
All puns aside, a strong and uniquely crafted personal brand message must be present in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn Profile to outwit the competition.
Here are the trends to observe:
Resume Trend #1: New Ways to Present Data.
Gathered metrics on your job performance, but not sure how to make them stand out? Now, executive resume trends include the use of graphics and charts (such as the illustrations in this sample Enterprise Technology Sales Resume).
Even if you’ve never added a graphic element to your resume, take heart: thanks to the Insert function in Microsoft Word, adding a chart is easier than ever. This function will display an Excel spreadsheet in which to add the requisite metrics, as well as prompt you to select the chart of your choice, such as a bar graph.
Remember that hiring managers are constantly looking for candidates who distinguish themselves at a leadership level. By highlighting the metrics you’ve worked hard to gather (and achieve), you’re making their job easier in 2015.
Resume Trend #2: A Fresh Design.
What used to work for executives or senior-level professionals is now outdated. Dashes of color, changes in font style, intensive keyword strategy, and graphics will help present your story, as shown in this award-wining CEO & COO Resume.
The trend toward using eye-catching design elements isn’t new; executive resume practices have evolved over the past few years, with a transition away from the one-page, all-white documents of the past.
If your resume isn’t employing these strategies, update it now! A refresh is always a good idea in order to stay competitive.
Resume Trend #3: A Powerful, Targeted Cover Letter.
Why would a cover letter be important now? While it’s true that employers will often read your resume and LinkedIn Profile first, they’ll also use your cover letter to gauge your communications skills.
Therefore, you’ll want to take some time writing an effective cover letter that appeals to hiring audiences – ensuring you’re both addressing their needs and mentioning your knowledge of the company.
Even if you target recruiters (who aren’t as interested in your cover letter), keep in mind that many executives (CEO, CFO, COO, or head of HR) are likely to review your letter to get a feel for your writing style – looking for a fit with the company culture and goals for employee engagement. Consider using the tactics in How to Write a High-ROI, Branded Cover Letter.
Resume Trend #4: Concise, Brand-Focused Wording.
Leadership resumes have now evolved into shorter, more precisely written documents, especially when it comes to the first page.
This means you no longer have to write a bloated qualifications profile, but can instead list pertinent details (as shown in this Regional VP Sales resume).
As noted in the points above, this document employs leading resume trends, including graphic elements, color, and a summary of the candidate’s career trajectory — all effective strategies in distinguishing executive qualifications.
Resume Trend #5: Alignment With Social Media.
Congratulations! From this point forward, you’ve become a hot search topic, as employers and recruiters are turning to Google and LinkedIn to learn more about you.
If your resume writing and LinkedIn styles aren’t in alignment, this trend can catch you off-guard – making it difficult for employers to understand who they’re reading about.
Therefore, as you’re writing your resume, keep in mind that your social media profiles must reference the same personal brand message(designed, of course, for a more engaging, personable tone), even if you’re referencing the same keywords and achievements.
In summary, an effective executive resume now requires evidence of your leadership achievement, standout design, social media alignment (or social proof), and a branded cover letter as backup.
Don’t go into your job search without observing these trends! Wake up your resume and job search materials to match the new reality.
Now considered career marketing documents, resumes have evolved into a presentation of ROI, complete with metrics, success stories, keywords, and formatting elements that showcase leadership experience.
If you’re still adding to a mid-career (obituary-style) resume, other leaders WILL edge you out in the race for choice opportunities. Mundane details and responsibilities won’t cut itfor a leadership role.
Consider taking these steps to brand your expertise and prove your readiness for that next executive role:
1 – Turn Your Success Stories Into Metrics-Driven Achievements.
Quantifiable results, cost savings, team size, and budget authority are important elements in an executive resume. There’s often no better way to demonstrate how you’ll make an impact than to show it in specific figures.
No matter your role, you can still add metrics critical to your message. For example, a CIO can show cost savings from vendor negotiation or hardware leasing (“Trimmed 45% off annual contracts by establishing new vendor relationships,” for example). The COO can focus on improvements across sales revenue. A VP of Engineering should be able to offer R&D figures showing efficiencies in product development.
To start, put a list of all project budgets, costs, operational and CAPEX figures, and similar metrics into your resume.
Then, as you’re recalling success stories, make a note to quantify savings, employee retention, or increases in profit as part of these achievements. (Your competition will be doing exactly that!)
2 – Switch Up Your Resume Presentation.
If you still see color on executive resumes as trendy, you’ll need to adjust your thinking. The best use of color is to help emphasize the right information in your document.
When judiciously placed, color can highlight the words you want employers to notice, or visually separate text to “add” more space. This is especially important if your document seems crowded.
This Sales Director resume shows how a dash of color can delineate key points (Sales Eminence awards at Oracle)—employing color as both a backdrop and a text enhancement.
Be sure the color you select is in alignment with your industry.
Neon green, for example, would not work well when viewed by a conservative audience.
3 – Add Context to Demonstrate Executive Leadership & Decision-Making.
Employers need to understand your leadership style and the methods you use to drive results. By writing out your achievements in C-A-R (Challenge-Action-Result) format before building your executive resume, you’ll start to see patterns that represent your personal brand value.
You can also use the S-T-A-R formula representing Situation, Task, Action, and Result for each success story; what’s important is extracting the high points of your career.
As an example of context, this CEO executive resume shows how the candidate turned around growth challenges and worked closely with private equity firms to generate new profits.
In the same manner, this CEO and COO resume demonstrates how pursuing government and NGO clients helped turn around the business.
In summary, remember that employers won’t realize the value of your strategic perspective and business acumen unless you illustrate it for them!
To stand out, you’ll need to show both the results you generate AND the leadership style you bring to the company.
Back in the job market for an executive role? You may have encountered (or wondered about) potential age discrimination when putting yourself “out there” for an executive job search.
If you find yourself experiencing rejection in your job applications, the possibility of age discrimination may seem all too real.
Yet, it’s possible that you’re actually CALLING attention to your age – more so that your leadership qualifications.
Bottom-line, focusing on your executive brand will make the biggest difference to employers. This is particularly true if your work history includes the leadership skills valued in today’s market, such as cost control, team leadership, fiscal stewardship, contract negotiations, and technology expertise.
Consider these 5 ways to get a better reception from employers – and create an “age-proof” executive resume and LinkedIn Profile – if you believe age is working against you: (more…)
Distinctive Resumes & LinkedIn Profiles for 6 & 7-Figure Jobs
Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC
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