Is it finally time to pursue that coveted leadership role? You’ll need to be ready with a fresh executive resume tuned to current trends.
This is especially important if you’ve tried to add executive experience to your old resume, without thinking strategically about your presentation or considering how your story appears to employers.
These tips outline what you’ll need to do (and know) about executive resumes — with fresh insight on next-generation, professional resume writing trends:
Executive Resume Trend #1 – Conserve your words.
Do you know what happens when you see a long paragraph?
Your eyes hit the first few words, then read a few in the middle, then travel to the end. As a result, your resume’s long qualifications summary will get only a cursory glance.
Accustomed to reading resumes on a smartphone, recruiters often look for quick examples of your effectiveness and notable credentials.
Give it to them with brief, easily digestible sentences and branding taglines.
Executive Resume Trend #2 – Prove bottom-line results.
Money talks! If you can’t quantify the results of your work, it’s time to do some digging for facts. Metrics showing how you’ve cut costs, improved margins, conserved staff, or boosted sales are all attention-getting factors in getting your resume read.
At the executive level, employers are interested in your impact on the company, not just one team or department. Prove your ROI as a new leadership hire with specific, quantifiable results spelled out in crisp, clear detail.
Executive Resume Trend #3 – Describe the backstory of your career.
Earned promotions faster than your colleagues? Built a legacy of accelerated delivery or growth in your career? Sought to rescue flagging projects as a turnaround expert?
If you’ve been able to get results where others stumbled, be sure to describe these accomplishments in your resume. Employers are not just hiring a collection of skills, but searching for a total solution that includes your reputation, personal work style, and tendencies – including your ability to step into the unknown and resolve business challenges.
You can spell out these details by inserting context valuable to your story, as shown in this sample of an Enterprise Account Manager resume. Notice that this candidate “attained significant territory growth (despite recession) in cloud, VoIP, SaaS, DR, and infrastructure solutions” and reached 170% sales results after he “dispelled misconceptions” about the company’s product lines.
Executive Resume Trend #4 – Eliminate boring, “fluffy” writing.
Rather than writing an adverb-filled resume qualifications summary with no point, you’ll need to ensure a direct tie-in to your actual experience – giving recruiters a break from reading the same-old descriptors.
As an example, the phrase “highly accomplished executive focused on bottom-line results” is barely effective at best, but only if followed by “18% year-over-year revenue gains” or “Millions cut in OPEX, despite company expansion.”
Too many resumes rely on a generic description of skills and personal qualities (often prompting an eye-roll from recruiters). Make yours stand out with examples relevant to the hiring audience.
Executive Resume Trend #5 – Get to the point – fast.
No one – employers, company owners, recruiters, or HR personnel – has time to wonder what you offer as an executive candidate. Punch up your resume by declaring what you’re seeking and showing how you’re qualified to take it on, trimming your document to a readable 2 or 3 pages at most.
This CEO and President resume, which won a global resume writing award, shows a clear message of leadership and context (“EMEA, Americas, & APAC Influence” combined with “eliciting top performance at startup, PE-backed, private, public, and independent companies”).
By ensuring every word in your executive resume is tuned to your career goal and qualifications, the hiring audience will know exactly WHAT you’re pursuing and WHY they should contact you.
Executive Resume Trend #6 – Pump up your presentation.
Many resumes can benefit from a shot of color and innovative formatting – although not every document needs a four-color infographic or bright pop of color.
Consider your audience when tuning your resume; an employer in a conservative industry might prefer a toned-down presentation, while a marketing leadership resume can spark interest with an unusual color and decorative borders.
This Chief Compliance Officer resume shows how a mostly black-and-grey toned format is accentuated with a hint of blue and a simple graphic depicting areas of compliance expertise.
A brief visual like this can help employers see the most important facets of your career – all in one quick glance, without the need to read the full document.
Executive Resume Trend #7 – Ensure the same brand message exists on social media.
Nothing dilutes your personal brand message more than presenting one set of leadership skills on LinkedIn or Twitter, with an entirely different set of qualifications shown on your executive resume. Of course, this confuses recruiters and can turn them off to your ROI as a candidate.
After building a strong personal brand for your resume, transfer the same overall message to your social media profiles, while adding g keywords (skills) to help boost your traffic and searchability. Include URLs and links to company projects, awards, and other career accolades in both your online profiles and documents.
Remember that recruiters may find your content online first and request your resume as a second step. Therefore, your metrics-driven, accomplishment-rich resume data should exist in BOTH places.
Your best strategy when writing your executive resume? Realize that trends change (constantly!), based on how employers find and vet leadership candidates.
Concise, achievement-rich details are a must for attracting attention at the executive level – closely followed by an innovative resume format and compelling personal brand message.