4 Keys to a Standout Executive Resume

Let’s face it. You are just not ready to retire yet.

Regardless of the situation that resulted in your current search for work, finding a new opportunity can be difficult if you have not upgraded your resume since you were last hired. As an executive, your career spans into decades. If the document you use to summarize your career has not been upgraded since the early 2000s, there is a good chance that it does not meet current best practices. Here are four tips to get your resume back on the right track.

  1. ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered’

A resume is a marketing document designed for the specific purpose of selling you over another candidate. In order for your resume to serve its function, it should be noticeable or unique over other resumes. Meg Guiseppi, an industry recognized subject matter expert, notes that hiring managers will typically only spend 10 seconds looking at a resume to glean any interesting or unique information before moving on. With this in mind, your aim should be to craft a document that stands out in a way that brings you to the top of the pile. Differentiating your content and message from that of your competitors will net you the visibility you need.

  1. Create a sense of chemistry by describing your personal brand – the things that have made you a successful professional.

The content and information you put on your resume should demonstrate what kind of person you are to work with while establishing your personal brand in the mind of your reader. Meg also notes that defining and communicating your personal brand can aid you in generating chemistry with a potential interviewer or hiring manager.

  1. Resume formatting has changed! A combination of Functional and Chronological is best.

There are two recognized resume formats: functional and reverse-chronological. The ‘functional’ resume format lists experience in skill clusters, without dates, where the reverse-chronological format lists experience in order of most recent to least recent. Since hiring managers need to see an accurate summary of how a candidate’s career has progressed both experientially and chronologically, the best practice is to use the top third/half of the first page of your resume to highlight your promise of value by bringing forward top achievements throughout your career that would have appeared on the second (or rarely, third) page if listed in strict reverse-chronological order. Start with the good stuff, then list all other experience reverse-chronologically. Dates are absolutely crucial.

  1. Objective statements are a thing of the past.

While you are re-formatting and adjusting your resume, get rid of the ‘objective statement’. An objective statement only conveys what you want out of your current situation, and is taking up the space that should be used to convey what you can offer. Instead of an objective statement, you may prefer to consider a headline (C-Suite Officer – Finance and Corporate Governance, e.g.) that also states what kind of work you are currently looking for.

Ultimately remember that the best executive resume is a resume that has been tailored to specifically address the pressing business needs of the hiring manager it is being sent to. It pays to do your research!

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