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

 

How to Write a Compelling COO Resume

cooexecutiveTransitioning into a COO role – or taking the next step from GM or VP of Operations?

To be competitive, your COO resume must deliver a quick, yet potent snapshot of strategic leadership and tactical qualifications.

In today’s job market, most COOs direct broad functions such as marketing, production, sales, and technology, while presenting strategic ideas to the Board and playing a large part in company growth.

Management and team direction, profit growth, process improvement, quality standards, cost savings, and promotional acumen can be equally paramount to a strategic vision that drives bottom-line results.

Therefore, your COO resume will need to demonstrate both detailed success stories and an overarching message of leadership.

If you’re struggling to combine these elements into your COO resume, use these tips and examples as guides to a strong picture of success at the executive level:

1 – Add Success Stories (in Context!).

Your career story is often more engaging when told from the standpoint of problems solved, challenges overcome, or roadblocks removed.

Therefore, you’ll want to include descriptions of the situations behind each result for greater impact. As an example, the second page of this COO sample resume contains details of Crisis & Change Leadership that show $1.2 million additional claims revenue produced when the COO stepped in to take over a management job. Continue reading

Think Your Resume’s Ready for 2013? Read This First

Executive reading your resumeDetermined to make 2013 the year you snag that dream job?

The coming months are shaping up to be intensively competitive, meaning you’ll have to be ready to edge out others for that coveted job.

However, if your resume is like most in circulation, it isn’t anywhere near ready for 2013. Why?

Because it probably relies on outdated methods, lacks marketing appeal, or just downright fails to demonstrate the kind of value proposition that captures attention in a crowded market (no matter what year it is).

Here are 5 telltale signs your resume will fall flat in 2013 (along with tips for hitting the mark):

1 – You’ve never considered using an infographic or chart to display your achievements.

Nothing speaks louder than metrics on a resume, but possibly nothing shouts accomplishment and scale more so than a chart.

These graphics are easy to insert into a Word document with the Insert Chart tool. However, you should only use one if you have impressive numbers to display (as shown in this sample of a VP Sales resume). Continue reading

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Executive Resume

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. Continue reading