Finding that executive resume writing is NOT your forte?
Worried that it won’t make the cut or doesn’t convey your message strongly enough? I hate to say it, but you’re probably right, if what crosses my desk is any indication.
Even if you feel that your self-written resume looks fairly good, I’d challenge it against these 5 often-missing components to see how well it creates that bold first impression you want:
1 – Your career progression.
A surprising number of people provide a work history that shows just the last, most important job that they’ve held at that company. Understandably, earning that Director or Vice President title can give you an ego boost, but consider that you’ve left a major branding detail out of your executive resume—namely, your promotability.
Your career advancement shows more than just longevity: being selected for promotion also proves that your work is of high quality. Being promoted over your peers also demonstrates an ability to take on new challenges, which is a sought-after quality among new leaders.
2 – Your role in the company’s growth.
One of my first questions to job hunters is “Did the company grow during your tenure?” What I often find is that, even if the company was already poised to double or even triple its revenue, the candidate had a major hand in supporting or driving this level of growth.
There are several ways you can look back at your work history in light of corporate expansion. For one, you may have created support systems that helped the company move from small business to a global concern.
In addition, it’s important to note that nearly everything changes when a company expands: its staff, computer systems, operations procedures, marketing message, and mission can take on a different tone.
Here is where you can carefully assess your role during changes in the company’s size, looking at your work to see which successes you facilitated, suggested, or led, and then adding this information to your executive resume.
3 – Your explanations for job gaps.
You may find that, although you are trying to demonstrate consistent work history, that your resume contains a gap due to caring for a family member, a move, or (of course) job hunting.
While these situations are common, the way in which job hunters deal with the gaps themselves is critical.
What you may not realize is that failing to describe what happened during a gap will allow employers to imagine your reasons! It’s best to simply provide sufficient information that fills in the missing information.
Whether you took a personal sabbatical to care for an aging parent or joined numerous trade associations to build your job-hunting network, I recommend presenting a plausible explanation that can help assure employers of your dedication to their needs.
4 – Your qualifications for a specific job type.
Here is where your experience as a jack-of-all-trades will not be helpful. Why? Most job ads are written around a specific business need, and employers are (rightfully) trying to fill those particular requirements.
Your resume must spell out qualifications for an ideal executive role; otherwise, you’re essentially asking employers to stretch their imaginations.
So, if you really have created marketing campaigns that generated results for your employers, be sure to create a marketing-focused resume that speaks to the effectiveness of the collateral and sales training information you produced (even if your background contains business development and product management).
If your background contains jobs with broad titles, such as Sales Manager and IT Director, you’re best off creating 2 distinctly different resumes or showing employers how blending your skills sets you up for a technical sales leadership job.
Again, this is different from the “general resume” concept adopted by many hopeful candidates.
5 – Your effect on the bottom line.
Yes, companies ARE still hiring during this recession, but there’s one commonality to the leaders they bring on board: the ability to make an impact to revenue or costs.
For job hunters in sales, summarizing their direct impact to the company’s profitability is fairly simple, as they can state achievements in terms of revenue or sales increases.
However, if you’re in a different occupation, dollar-driven comparisons can be tougher to make—and this is where you’ll need to dig deep to show profit-related impact.
For IT executives, bottom-line improvement usually comes in the form of projects that increased efficiency or automated manual tasks. If this fits your situation, do some research to find out what volume of hours or steps were saved with systems that you helped to implement.
If operations is your area of expertise, you can also point to time savings in terms of new processes or procedures—both of which typically have a cost component associated with reduced hours. Your work may have had an effect on staff members whose salaries you can estimate, which will give you a potential cost savings figure.
The more you look at your work in terms of benefit to the company, the easier it will be to include this vital information on your executive resume.
In summary, remember that your executive resume as a marketing document must speak to a specific audience about your value-add. You can influence an employer’s hiring decision with a well-thought presentation that shows how you’ve met business needs, acted as a change agent, and conducted your leadership career.