5 Most Overlooked Components Of An Executive Resume

Looking over your executive resume, but have the feeling something’s missing? If you’ve reviewed executive resume samples lately, you might realize your resume lacks the punch needed to push it from a mid-level career story to a captivating description of leadership acumen. However, adding in core elements can be simpler than you think. If your resume seems to need a “finishing” touch, look over this list for missing components that can make a difference to hiring authorities.


Components Of An Executive Resume

1. Impressive Metrics

Nothing – absolutely nothing – you can say about your leadership performance will resonate as much as dollar figures that represent revenue, cost savings, or margin improvement. In today’s economy, employers are doing more with less, and expecting their executives to deliver near-immediate results. What does this mean for you? A strong brand message for your executive resume no longer translates into “25 years of experience,” but “50% rise in revenue within 6 months” or “$25K in operational cost savings.” Not sure how to pull out quantifiable information for your leadership resume? Try assessing the value you’ve produced against that of a previous incumbent in the same job, especially if you’ve reworked vendor contracts or retrained the sales force. In addition, you can review past performance appraisals for projects you’ve championed or initiatives you’ve led, then estimate the effect (more sales, increased customer volume, better profits) produced from your efforts.

2. Testimonials

Accolades for a project completed under budget, commendations from senior leadership for a profitable new idea, and kudos from colleagues are all valuable pieces of information that belong in your executive resume. Yet, many candidates fail to realize that a commendation from a C-level leader or parent company executive can be a solid testament to the strength of their achievements. Quotes or kudos can either be placed on the first page of your resume, or set in a text box next to the related job (as in this sample Vice President of Business Development resume). In any case, be sure to note the source of the testimonial (“Joe sets the pace for our sales organization… and we’ve come to realize his standards are the reason for our record profits in Q4.” – CEO, ABC Company).

3. Descriptive Job Titles

So, you’ve moved up the career ladder to that high-ranking position, and you’re now running the show… but your company hasn’t issued the title you deserve. So how do you write an executive resume without a leadership title? You’ll need to back up your level of authority with both a factual title, plus a descriptive one, in order to present credentials at the right level. As an example, a Vice President of IT can add “CIO-Level Charter” to point out higher-level duties on a resume (especially if the company doesn’t have a CIO), and a Manager of Accounting can add “Direct Report to CFO” to show how he fits in at the Controller level.

4. Leadership ROI

Created revenue unmatched by others at your company? Returned your salary 10-fold in profits? Don’t hide these facts beneath a sea of mundane trivia. Executive resumes don’t have to be written in a particular format; yet, many resumes start with a tired summary that resorts to generalities. If your leadership resume summary describes you as a “proven leader” who is “self-motivated,” it’s time to take things up a notch! Put your ROI front and center with a tagline proclaiming your peak achievement, right at the top of your resume. Some examples are:
  • “23% Year-Over-Year Growth Since 2008 – Despite Economic Downturn”
  • “Technology Leader Creating Market Edge in Cloud Computing Industry”
  • “Attaining Consistent #1 Market Share at Consumer Packaged Goods Company”

5. Brevity

While two and three page executive resumes are in vogue, a narrative-form tome of seven pages is sure to kill your shot at an interview. Recruiters and hiring authorities don’t have time to absorb all the twists and turns of your career, however interesting or relevant they may be to your goal. Instead, it’s best to shorten and tighten your resume into a potent representation of your career. Finding it difficult to trim your executive resume to an acceptable length? Try writing short descriptions of achievements using the C-A-R formula, which stands for Challenge, Action, and Result. Then, limit your C-A-R stories to five peak achievements per job – which will force you to be selective and cut your resume length considerably. In summary, your executive resume must present a more compelling case than a mere list of job titles and budgets, or you’ll be pushed aside by others with a more persuasive brand message. Use these tips to put your resume in alignment with best executive resume writing practices – and get ready to elicit a stronger level of interest from employers. Executive resume image from Shutterstock

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