You’re up against intensive competition from executives with a wealth of experience.
But will you NEED to find an executive resume writer to help you compete at this level? Does every executive outsource this part of the job search?
It depends. While it’s true that every impression counts in today’s job market – and that many executives turn to a professional resume writer, there are cases where you’ll be able to rely on a self-written document.
Weigh these 5 considerations when deciding to use the services of an executive resume writer or go it alone:
1 – Is resume writing your strong suit?
If you’re a naturally expressive writer, you might be able to compose the detailed, achievement-rich story of your background needed to capture interest at an executive level.
Rather than spending considerable time on your leadership resume, it can make more sense to concentrate on efforts that only you can undertake – such as strengthening your networking relationships, starting conversations with executive recruiters, and polishing your LinkedIn / social media presence.
2 – Do your competitors hire executive resume writers?
Look around at your executive competition to see if their LinkedIn Profiles appear polished and personally branded – AND if they’re successfully landing new jobs. You might see some trends.
Executives in sales and marketing roles, for example, regularly tap into resume writing services to help them edge out the competition. (Many resume writers will tell you their main business is centered on serving sales leaders).
In fields involving more jargon and technical skills, though, you may find executive resume writing services to be the exception.
As an example, some medical professionals are able to target a leadership role if their degrees, places of residency, or areas of practice speak for themselves. In the case of this Chief Executive Officer, an expertly crafted resume was instrumental in organizing large amounts of data.
Many CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, CNO, and CLO candidates hire executive resume writers because they’re accustomed to outsourcing tasks of high complexity.
At this level, your executive resume will be compared against well-crafted portfolios. Don’t come up short!
3 – Are your skills extremely rare – and in hot demand?
If your phone is already ringing off the hook with calls from executive recruiters, or you’re receiving at least several LinkedIn messages per week from employers eager to bring you in for an interview, you may not need to turn to an executive resume writer (as long as you’ve compiled your career history into a presentable document).
The same will be true if your field has few experts – and your resume or LinkedIn presence will therefore generate interest quickly.
On the other hand, if you find sending out your executive resume only results in the sounds of silence (even after tweaking it to fit job descriptions or add accomplishments), then it’s time to consider an executive resume writer as part of your strategy.
4 – Have you been able to write (not just talk) about yourself effectively?
Many people can tell a colorful story of their achievements and career high points – but only if asked probing questions, and only in talking through their stories. (This is why I interview executive clients and take copious notes.)
If you possess this type of “blind spot,” then struggling to write your own executive resume can be a daunting task. In this case, you’ll find collaborating with a top-notch resume expert to be invaluable, as they’ll spend the time to draw out both your career stories and the relevance of each one to your ultimate goal.
However, there are executives who’ve stayed in close touch with their inner marketer, continually documenting success stories that effectively describe their career paths. If this applies to you, then writing your own executive resume isn’t that much of a stretch.
5 – Are you up to speed on trends in executive resume writing?
Many people are surprised at the new look of leadership resumes, particularly when they reviewexecutive resume samples to get an idea of what others are using in job search.
If you’ve stayed relatively current on resume trends, or had a resume professionally written within the past 2-3 years, you may be able to put together a striking presentation that will capture attention.
Conversely, if you’re unaware that an executive resume can take up more than a page, you don’t know how to adjust a resume for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) or mobile devices, or if you’ve never experimented with fonts beyond Arial or Times New Roman, then your job search can suffer significantly from a bland resume – and you’ll need expert help.
Writing your resume to attract the attention you deserve?
One of the best resume branding techniques (that can escape your notice even if you review executive resume samples) is changing resume section headings for greater impact.
An easy way to reinforce your personal brand message, descriptive headings give your reader a heads-up on the value of your experience, education, or achievements.
Classic headings, of course, are important for getting your resume past automated systems (see Making Your Resume Format Machine-Friendly for tips). However, you’ll also need HUMAN readers to take note of your qualifications.
Use these ideas to jumpstart creative thinkingfor each section of your resume, with branded, innovative headings that hammer home your promise of value:
Your Professional Experience.
There’s no law that requires your experience to be contained in a section called Work History.
What about Sales Achievements and Performance or Technical Leadership Experience? Why not try Operations Management Expertise if your focus is a new role in manufacturing production or within a call center?
This TORI award-winning Chief Marketing Officer resume uses Marketing Career Progression to describe professional experience.
This technique is especially effective if you’re trying to direct attention toward a specific part of your experience, helping connect disparate parts of your career to the role you’re targeting.
Your Career Achievements.
Unfortunately, Selected Career Highlights has somehow become the standard for a first-page grouping of accomplishments on a resume.
Here, however, is where you can quickly switch things up for added interest, as shown by these example headings:
Technology and Business Leadership is a powerful heading if you’re aiming for an IT executive role, such as Program Manager, IT Director, VP Technology, or CIO
Examples of Analytical Leadership works well if you’re pursuing an insurance industry or operations role
To create a unique heading for your achievements, wrap a keyword or desired result into the heading title, then add a focus on results.
This sample resume for a CFO uses Capital Administration, Strategic Planning, & Executive Leadership Highlights to represent career high points.
Other heading examples include:
Presales Revenue & Account Wins for a technical sales engineer
Scientific & Performance Benchmarks for achievements in R&D
Your Professional Education or Training.
Even if you haven’t completed a degree program,University Education or College Studies can serve as section heading titles.
Professional Sales Development also works well if you’re a sales candidate who has completed top-flight courses (think Anthony Robbins, Miller-Heiman, etc.) related to closing, consultative selling, and other successful techniques – degree or no degree.
You can also group unrelated educational experiences into Specialized Training or Technology Concepts Studied, providing a cohesive message about the relevance of your professional development activities.
In summary, rethink the classic “parts” of your resume, using customized section headings as part of your brand message.
Keeping your audience interested and engaged is crucial! Attract them with a strong message of value – repeated and reinforced throughout your resume – and your job search can be shortened considerably.
Writing your resume to pursue a Medical Affairs position?
A compelling resume for Medical Affairs or Clinical Affairs has evolved FAR beyond a list of clinical and leadership roles.
You’ll need to prove you can bridge the gapamong medical teams, physicians, hospital executives, and marketing interests, showing your effectiveness in collaboration, revenue growth, and healthcare metrics.
Here’s how to write a Medical Affairs resume to attract pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, consumer health, or nutraceutical employers, using 5 key elements:
Strategic leadership in healthcare settings.
Medical Affairs executives often combine commercial-side business meetings with oversight of research strategy, clinical studies, and scientific claims validation.
As shown in this VP of Medical Affairs sample resume, you’ll need to explain how your leadership influence has created successful product rollouts, or fostered increased understanding between commercial and clinical groups. (more…)
Among the World’s Top Resume & LinkedIn Writing Experts
“As In-House Counsel for a Fortune 1000 company, I retained Laura to revamp my resume. As a result of her attention to detail, Laura was able to highlight my broad skill set, with a product worthy of my accomplishments.
I highly recommend Laura to all others who want to get on the fast track to success.”
“As an executive in transition… I vigorously endorse Laura and her work. After many hours of speaking with me, she crafted an amazing new rebranded set of credentials.
I am still astonished at how someone who has not known me for 20 years could define my brand so succinctly.”
Chris Dancy, Global Technology Executive
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