Recently, I had a conversation with an executive who was concerned about the effectiveness of her resume.

While I can’t comment on how well it represented her (since I’m not familiar with her career), I couldn’t help but notice the diverse job goals listed across the top: “CIO – Operations Director – CEO.”

Wow! That’s a lot to ask of any executive resume – and it’s a lot to hang your professional hat on as well during a job search.

Here’s why: the hiring audience looking for each of those executive leaders will be focused on an entirely different part of your experience and competencies.

1 – For a CIO candidate, the CEO (and usually the CFO) will read diligently through your CIO resume, looking for evidence of cost control – meaning the ability to deliver the best technology for the best price.

When a CEO is involved in the hiring process, he or she is also focused at a higher level, and might not even be interested in the minutiae of your executive resume – but may find your Cover Letter more intriguing. So, you’ll need to be prepared with a knockout letter depicting your proficiencies in IT organization improvement.

2 – The audience for an Operations Director resume is typically the COO – and guess what this person wants to see? Details.

COOs are often intent on learning about a Director-level candidate’s ability to increase operational efficiencies or cut costs. You’ll need metrics to back that up… hence, the need to bring in more detail.

In addition, domain (or industry) expertise is valued heavily in an operations role, meaning that if you’re targeting a manufacturing Operations Director job, you’d better be well-versed in production cycle times, facility layouts, and even shop floor techniques to impress a COO.

3 – For the CEO role, here is where the audience can differ substantially. Company owners (who can also be investors) and Boards of Directors usually have the most say in a CEO hiring decision, even though some companies pull in other executives for input.

Boards, however, aren’t always the best audience for a resume, and may instead want to read your Executive Biography.

Here’s another consideration: if you haven’t reached out to investors with a specific pitch letter (a definitive type of Cover Letter) that covers all bases (revenue, market share,  technology, and operations), your quest for a CEO role (especially in a startup company) may fall flat.

The bottom line: stretching your executive resume thin (and wearing it out in the process) won’t help you win the job you want.

You’ll still face the (dreaded!) task of creating another executive resume version, as well as being ready with additional portfolio documents.

Pursuing roles that are hired by markedly different audiences requires a specifically targeted, laser-focused executive resume that tells the world you’re ready to be the best CIO, CEO, CFO, CTO, and so on.

And if you don’t take this extra step to clarify and hone in on your goals, your competition certainly will!

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