by Beverly Harvey
Your resume may be well written, showcase great qualifications and accomplishments, and may be sharply formatted … but is it telling the “right” story? Is it marketing you correctly? Are you getting interviews for the right types of positions?
Writing a resume is all about strategy. Every section … every statement … every bullet … every accomplishment … and every word … should reflect your current career strategy.
So what is your career strategy?
Are you trying to advance to the next level? Do you need to minimize career path glitches such as a series of short-term positions, a gap in employment, or 20+ years with the same company? Are you trying to revert back to an earlier career path? Are you trying to change functions or industries? Are you targeting a larger company or a smaller company? Are you trying to break out of a particular mold and focus on other talents? What ever your situation, you need a strategy … a plan for presenting your qualifications and credentials to the reader in a manner that will clearly articulate and support the type of position you want.
To start, you’ll need to have some clarity about the type of position you will be pursuing, as well as a thorough understanding of the current requirements for this type of position. What companies expect from their senior executives continually changes to meet economic trends and conditions. The CEO role has changed significantly with the implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations. The CIO role has changed dramatically to keep pace with the company’s technology objectives. CMOs are continually being challenged to tie marketing to the bottom line. The COO/CFO combination role is sought after by many companies these days. Human Resource executives are under continuing pressure to become strategic business partners … and the list goes on and on. In developing your resume strategy, you need to be aware of the ever-changing roles of your field, and demonstrate your awareness of the trends through your experience and accomplishments.
If you’re trying to advance to the next level, you need to demonstrate your ability to function at that next level. Have you served on any corporate or senior-level committees, commissions, special projects, executive missions, task forces, or working groups? Have you partnered with senior management to drive a business initiative? Have you been given responsibilities above and beyond the typical responsibilities for your job title? Do you interface with the Board of Directors, investors, senior management team, or other key stakeholders? Have you been promoted through a large company at the request of senior-level managers? Presenting this information in your resume is the catalyst for positioning yourself for the next level in your career.
The language and tone in your resume needs to support the position you’re pursuing versus the position you’ve held. If you’re interested in C-level and senior management roles, make sure you leverage your experience using verbiage commensurate with that level. If you’re transitioning from one industry to another, be sure to convert your lingo to the target industry. You’ll want to do this for two reasons: (1) to ensure the reader that you understand his/her industry and, (2) to demonstrate to the reader how your skills will transfer to his/her industry. You may need to spin some of your experience and accomplishments in a different way to position you correctly for your next career move.
Think in terms of a beam scale with a dish suspended on each side of an arm … you need to tip the scale in the right direction to attract the right opportunities. Check the “weight” of every section … every statement … every bullet … every accomplishment … and every word in your resume. Does it tip the scale in the direction you want to move?