As a resume writer who works with executives, I’ve seen many “before” resumes of varying quality and impact.
Typically, the candidate asks, “Is my resume holding me back? Or does it just need a few changes? What do you think?”
Even if your resume was professionally written, you may still have doubts about its effectiveness (especially if your writer didn’t conduct a deep-dive analysis of your personal brand).
Look at your executive resume objectively for a few minutes, then answer these 5 questions to determine whether it needs an overhaul:
1 – Does your resume provide metrics in the TOP HALF of the first page?
Employers want to quickly figure out how you’ll fit their needs and solve their problems. If you don’t connect the dots for them, they’ll comb through your dates of employment and job titles, looking for reasons to rule you out.
Unless you have a perfect job history, a degree from Harvard, or a coveted executive spot at Amazon, a quantifiable summary like the one in this CEO resume is a requirement for a high-powered job. You’ll notice it avoids tired phrases such as “proven ability” or “highly accomplished leader.”
You’ll need to spend time digging up metrics that illustrate your performance, then choosing the best ones to highlight, front-and-center, on your resume.
2 – Is your resume design RELEVANT to the job you’re pursuing?
If you read this question and had to take another look at your resume, it’s probably not eye-catching enough to stand out against competing documents. On the other hand, if you’ve loaded it with neon-green and orange graphics to pursue opportunities in a conservative field, it might be time for a change.
An infographic or chart can make a powerful statement, as long as it covers salient points of your career and is placed appropriately among your success stories. Before making changes, think carefully about the alignment between your message and the audience who will read your executive resume.
3 – Are signature achievements, awards, clients, or employers shown at the TOP of your resume?
Employers will nearly always miss information that’s buried, especially if it is placed as a footnote to your job responsibilities. Career-defining accolades, as shown in this CIO and CTO resume, must land in prime resume real estate (that top half of the first page again), or your audience can get lost finding them.
Don’t neglect to mention your job at a major Fortune 500 employer, especially if you’ve been promoted multiple times there. Why? This tells recruiters that a) you’ve passed a stringent vetting process in the past; b) you have credibility in your field; and c) you offer an edge over competing candidates.
The same goes for graduation from a renowned alma mater, or your ability to secure top, brand-name accounts. (Name drop! Please!)
4 – Does your resume fit into 3 PAGES OR LESS – with an easily readable font?
You have 10 seconds or less to get an employer’s attention! Don’t make employers squint at important details by using a tiny font and listing every detail of the past 30 years.
If your executive brand message doesn’t pop within the first page, with an easy-to-read design in at least 10-point font, most people won’t spend time looking for it.
No one has the time to read your resume cover-to-cover, so don’t bother writing a novel. If you must document a large volume of individual successes, publications, or speaking engagements, develop an Addendum or Achievements listing that can be pulled out for interviews.
5 – When you send your resume out to employers, are you receiving a RESPONSE?
The ultimate litmus test of whether you need resume help, a positive reaction from employers is your only goal.
No matter what I (or even you) think of your executive resume, it has one main job: to bowl over hiring authorities and compel them to call you before their competition does.
If it works, you’ll know it.
One final clue: if you answered “No” to the majority of these questions, you already know the answer to the first one.
Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.
My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.
Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.
– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC