Never has the job market been so competitive and brimming with extraordinary talent. Today’s executive resume must be a professional marketing piece that sets you apart from your competitors. Gone are the days when you can compile a chronological history of your work experience and expect it to generate interviews. Your resume must be a marketing piece that is targeted to a specific audience and clearly demonstrates value.
To ensure your resume is compelling, make sure in focuses on the following key areas:
Leadership – As a senior executive describing how you came to join the company and explaining what you were brought in to accomplish for the company exhibits senior leadership, demonstrates you understand what corporations expect from you and that you are focused on the company’s growth and prosperity. Helping the recruiter understand the overall picture can also add greater impact to your accomplishments.
Accomplishments – List accomplishments that tell a “brief” story. Include the scope of your challenges, issues or problems, the actions you took, and the quantifiable results you delivered. Your accomplishments must include dollars, percentages or comparative figures.
Value Proposition – It’s critical to include “bottom line” contributions. Make sure your resume is about what you can do for the company versus a long list of responsibilities. It must demonstrate how you have impacted the top or bottom line, market share, stakeholder or shareholder value. Listing an accomplishment without the bottom line impact deflates your value proposition. It won’t deliver the punch you’re looking for.
Your Executive Brand – Executive and personal branding is the future of executive career management. It means identifying and communicating what makes you unique, relevant and compelling so that you can achieve your career goals. Your executive brand is what will distinguish you from your competitors and market the value you consistently deliver to companies. Branding is about differentiation. It’s about leveraging what makes you exceptional so you stand out from the myriad of executives who offer seemingly similar talents and expertise. Recruiters and hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes for every position posted. Your brand is what will distinguish you from others and provide you with the competitive edge.
Focus & Strategy – While you may have several functional areas of expertise, you need to focus your resume on one or two. Including too many functional roles sends a message that you’re not clear about what direction you’re taking your career. It can give the impression that you’re desperate – that you’ll settle for any type of position. Recruiters want to know your “primary” expertise and talents. What problems are you best at solving for companies. If you have a broad range of roles you can fill, create multiple versions of your resume with each version targeted on a particular functional role. Each resume needs to have a focus and theme to be compelling.
Marketing – In a well-written marketing piece, the copywriter prioritizes the messages to be conveyed. S/he begins with the top two or three points s/he wants to ensure everyone reads and then proceeds with the next four to six points and so on with the intention of motivating you to read the entire marketing piece…and ultimately to purchase the product or service. Your resume should follow the same stylistic format. Prioritize your messages and present them strategically. Also, pay attention to the words you use in your resume as they will set the tone and energy associated with you. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one’s tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges. The tone of a message is a reflection of the writer and it affects how the reader will perceive the message. Today’s executive resume must be focused, succinct and dynamic.
Appearance & Length – It’s important to use a contemporary format that aligns with the level of the position you are seeking. Lack of sufficient white space and the use of tiny fonts are two of the biggest turnoffs to recruiters. While two or three pages is the maximum length for a senior-level executive resume, there are numerous other marketing pieces you can include in your portfolio of marketing materials that will allow you to expand on your qualifications while keeping your resume to the preferred length.
There’s a lot of strategy that goes into crafting a dynamic resume. Make sure you’re clear about your target audience and the message you want to convey before you sit down to create this very important marketing piece.