Planning a 2021 job search?
Your resume will need a powerful introduction, solid metrics, a cutting-edge format, and yes, even a mention of your COVID-related skills.
Most employers will look briefly at the top of your resume… then follow your career history to see the dates of your jobs. Then they’ll look to see where you attended college.
And they’ll wind up right back up at the top, especially if nothing piqued their interest!
In 2021, the format, metrics, and personal brand message of your executive resume are more important than ever. When you design a compelling document with clearly described accomplishments, you’ll be more likely to capture attention and land an interview.
Here’s what your resume should look like in 2021:
A Short, Memorable Summary.
Instead of a long paragraph filled with over-used terms, design a short, pithy summary that describes your career level and goals, along with an achievement or two followed by soft skills.
This hooks employers, and makes them eager to meet you. Try this formula for a powerful 2021 resume summary, with examples shown for each component:
Job Title & Span of Experience
- Division CFO – Metals & Manufacturing
- Corporate Strategy, EMEA & Americas
- Healthcare & Hospital System COO
Soft Skills & Tendencies
- High-performance team-building and mentoring – producing next-generation leaders
- Aligning technology with business needs in nonprofit and healthcare environments
- Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints
- 172% revenue growth against downturn market
- Multimillion-dollar IT initiatives in cloud and digital transformation
- New OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production
- TEDx speaker
- ITIL and AWS certifications
- Wharton Cybersecurity education
Then put it all together for a summary that wows employers in 2021:
Division CFO – Metals and Manufacturing. Noted for high-performance team building and mentoring – producing next-generation leaders. Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints. Led new OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production. TEDx speaker.
By including keywords, metrics, proper names, and distinguishing details in a concise and potent paragraph, your 2021 resume summary will be hard to resist.
COVID-19 Leadership and Adaptability.
It’s rare to find an executive whose work hasn’t been affected by the pandemic.
So add details to your 2021 resume to demonstrate how you held the operation together, retained customers, or maintained high levels of productivity.
You don’t have to emphasize the negative effect of COVID, either; it’s sufficient to state “Preserved 70% of B2C revenue streams during pandemic operations” or “Enabled remote work for 45% of FTEs in just 12 days.”
The main idea is to show how you influenced and led operations in pressure-filled situations.
By demonstrating the flexibility needed in uncertain times, you’re showing employers how you’ll react in any future crisis situation.
Metrics for Proof of Your Achievements.
Employers will ALWAYS want to see how much you’ve improved, grown, or turned around companies and divisions.
By quantifying your results in previous roles, you’re implying that you will achieve (or even EXCEED) these feats. An added bonus: metrics make your resume easier to read, as the eye is drawn to figures more than dense blocks of text.
What your resume needs in 2021 are specific wins – clearly expressed in percentages, dollar figures, and other measures of success. Use these examples as inspiration for a 2021 resume that impresses employers:
Delivered global ERP implementation 14% ahead of schedule and $3M under budget.
Created shipment tracking product suite driving customer satisfaction to 98% (all-time high).
Maintained 99.999% systems availability (despite 23% less staff due to COVID).
To quantify your career wins, look at budgets, project deployments, headcount, revenue growth, cost savings, market rankings, technology improvements, and any other measurements important in your job – then fold these figures into your resume content.
Also, don’t forget to inject a dose of power into your 2021 resume with action verbs (also called power words); see Why Your Executive Resume Needs Action Words for tips on where to place these words, plus a full list you can use on your resume.
A Fresh, Cutting-Edge Format.
Resumes in 2021 should employ a powerful format designed around your personal brand and ROI. Don’t add onto your college resume format! Instead, consider what a strategically planned presentation can do for your career.
This example shows how your resume should look in 2021 – proudly touting this executive’s career level, leadership philosophy, and signature wins.
In 2021, the employment market may be more competitive than ever – and your choice of format could make your resume either memorable or forgettable!
Use an easy-to-read font (try Calibri, which is a clean, sans-serif font popular on resumes and readable on nearly every platform).
For an even more elegant look, consider a slightly different font for headings.
The main idea? Easy navigation, with powerful elements that help you stand out.
Your resume should look like an exceptional presentation of leadership skill and resourcefulness in 2021, with a well-designed strategy showing the right format, metrics, and value proposition to employers.