Rather than applying to jobs over Craigslist, executives typically find out about relevant job openings through their extensive network. This might suggest that a resume isn’t necessary for an executive job seeker, but those in charge of hiring executives still see the resume as a useful document.
If you’re an executive job seeker, your resume needs to match the advanced stage of your career. Below are a few tips on putting together an attractive resume for an executive job search.
Start with a Bang
The top of your document is valuable real estate, and you need to maximize that space with an eye-catching executive summary. A striking executive summary can and should make a powerful argument for you being a strong match for the position you’re pursuing.
A standard executive summary includes four or five bullet points that spotlight your main value proposition for the job being sought. For example, if you’re seeking a COO position with a manufacturing company, your summary should mention a history of agile manufacturing to drive considerable growth.
Feature Hard Numbers
Those trying to hire an executive are trying to find the impact each candidate has made in their career. You are probably not going to be hired for an executive role for being experienced and personable. Executives are hired to increase profits, eliminate waste, develop employees and generally deliver results.
The best way to show you can make your potential impact clear is to show your achievements in terms of hard numbers. In a separate sub-section or within your Work History section, include your most impressive achievements in sales figures or dollars saved, for example. Use bold-faced type to accentuate your numbers, so they are easy to see quickly.
Highlight Core Proficiencies
For jobseekers not seeking executive roles, it is critical to include keywords and key phrases that are associated with the open position. For instance, someone applying to a position that includes technical drawings should include “CAD” in their resume. The biggest reason to do this is the common use of resume scanning software, which employers use to quickly sort candidates based on their qualifications.
While executive job seekers probably shouldn’t be worried about resume scanning software, they still need to highlight their core proficiencies in order to stress their executive bona fides. Typical core proficiencies for an executive include change management, strategic planning and employee development.
Refine and Target Your Resume
By the time you achieve executive status, you likely have a lot to be proud of in your career and a great deal of achievements, you could list on a resume. While it’s tempting to share all of your achievements, a resume isn’t a memoir; it’s ostensibly a marketing document used to attract a target audience. Therefore, your resume should only include career highlights that are the most relevant for the job being sought. Leave out early-career accomplishments and irrelevant volunteer work. If you’re totally qualified for the position, your most relevant achievements should be very convincing.