Will Your Executive Resume Make the Grade?

Is your executive resume good enough by Laura Smith-Proulx
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.

Executive Resume Writer

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

 

Does Your Executive Resume Pass the “Relevance” Test?

Applying to each and every executive job that catches your eye?

You’re probably experiencing frustration, burnout, and disappointment in your job search… and wondering if employers are even reading your resume!

If this sounds unnervingly familiar, there’s a reason:

Your leadership resume isn’t passing muster with employers because it doesn’t seem relevant to their needs.

Think about it: you may believe you’re the perfect candidate, but employers undertake a needle-in-a-haystack effort to find and qualify you.

Most executive jobs require a recruiter search, manual review of dozens to hundreds of resumes, or even an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) scan – looking for a match on skills, previous job titles that closely align with the job description, and/or industry experience.

So, how can you make YOUR executive resume more relevant?

Take these additional steps to ensure it meets and exceeds employer requirements – before sending out one more application: Continue reading

Why I’ll Never Critique Your Resume

Frequently, I encounter job seekers who are trying to find out what, if anything, might be missing from their resume.

Of course, they also ask what I’d do to improve it.

These are valid questions, and in such a competitive market, it makes sense for candidates to request this type of feedback.

However, I won’t do it.

Why not? There’s simply no way, other than getting to know the twists and turns of your professional story, to figure out if your resume truly does its job for you.

No matter what I (or any other resume writer) thinks of your resume, it must contain a full, context-based story of your career and specific value-add… and it’s impossible to figure out what might be missing at a glance!

Yes, this is contrary to the “free critique” offered by so many job boards or career services.

Sure, we can debate keywords, presentation, content, borders, and formatting all day, but at the end of the discussion, all you’ll have is yet another opinion.

So what WILL happen when you ask me to look at your resume? I’ll have 3 questions for you:

  • What job are you targeting?
  • How well does the resume capture your competitive edge for this job?
  • Does it generate the results you want?

These 3 factors tell me more about the likely success of your resume than any opinion I could put forth. They also give me a clear picture of the type of professional assistance (if any) that you’ll need to achieve your goal.

The way your work affects the bottom line (your personal brand, as we say) must be conveyed clearly and strongly, and to the right audience, in order for employers to take notice.

And in the end, that’s all that matters when it comes to resume effectiveness.

The 5 Must-Have Features of a Powerful Executive Resume

If you’ve reviewed executive resume samples lately, you might realize there’s something missing from your own document.

Does your executive resume fail to convey your value clearly – and in a matter of seconds? If so, you’ll find that a few, straightforward changes can transform you from overlooked to sought-after.

Increase your chances of being considered for the coveted corner office by reviewing this list of must-have components for a cutting-edge executive resume:

1 – Impressive Metrics.

Nothing – absolutely nothing – you can say about your leadership performance will resonate as much as dollar figures that represent revenue, cost savings, or margin improvement.

In today’s economy, employers are doing more with less, while expecting executives to deliver near-immediate results!

What does this mean for you? A strong brand message for your executive resume no longer translates into “25 years of experience,” but “50% rise in revenue within 6 months” or “rapid identification of $25K OPEX savings.” Continue reading