Spent hours writing your resume… believing that each keyword or phrase gets analyzed for meaning?

Think again. Employers rarely scrutinize resumes for pertinent detail, and instead rely on a quick scan to make an interviewing decision.

So how WILL your leadership resume be reviewed?

Read on for the truth about how your resume is used in the hiring process, plus strategies to get the attention your career deserves:

1 – Some audiences are overwhelmed by your full resume.

Ever handed your resume to a CEO? You’ll find out pretty quickly that many high-ranking executives don’t have the interest level or attention span to read it.

In fact, hiring authorities at the C-level or on a Board of Directors aren’t that interested in the details covered by your executive resume, especially if it takes up multiple pages.

For these groups, a cover letter can suffice for the high points of your background. A career bio or executive biography, in particular, will be easier for them to digest.

In addition, most networking venues are not the place for your full resume. Shuffling pieces of paper or handing off a full-blown work chronology to someone you just met can be awkward. Here’s where a single-page Networking Resume or biography will do the trick.

2 – Second or third resume pages are often ignored.

So, you’re sitting down to the interview and expecting many questions to come your way.

Yet, you’ll see that even though your interviewer has a copy of your leadership resume, he or she seems to be playing catch-up when reading anything past the first page.

Here’s the reality: most hiring managers barely have time to glance at your resume, take in a few key points, and then study the top half of the first page.

Most will, at best, flip open to the second page to see your education, and then go back to the top.

Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your top personal brand themes, salient points, executive qualities, or standout educational achievements make it onto the first page, as shown in these executive resume examples.

Otherwise, they won’t get read (or at least, not until the interviewing decision has already been made).

3 – Your resume strategy must take personality traits into account.

With the high cost of hiring, training, and motivating employees, companies are more eager than ever to get the recruiting process right the first time – and find loyal, dedicated executives or team members.

This means your personal brand message (your personality fit, work style, and the way you get results) HAS to take center stage – with as much resume real estate as your accomplishments.

Think about it: most skills can be taught, but ambition, energy, and commitment are inborn traits. Yet, using too-common descriptors (self-motivated) can quickly turn off your readers.

Instead, wrap phrases that show your personal brand at work (took initiative to lead new project, turned around failing initiative, or inspired team members to complete challenging tasks) throughout your achievements.

For even better impact, combine these descriptions with solid metrics that show the scope of each accomplishment. By proving your leadership skill, business acumen, and sense of personal accountability (and showing your effect on the bottom line), you can become irresistible to employers.

In summary, you’ll want to spend significant time on the placement, personal brand message, and document presentation used to represent your career – giving employers what they need in the format they’re most likely to use.

One thought on “3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Executive Resume

  1. Laura, excellent advice as usual. Today, shorter is better, and this sentiment seems to have arrived within the past year. You’re right about a two-page resume; the first page is the one employer’s pay the most attention to. So, like you’ve been saying all along, grab their attention at the top. I also like your point about motivation being key and that skills can be learned. Thanks for the great advice.

    Like

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