Executive resume writing is an art in and of itself. While fundamentally a resume is a resume, for individuals pursuing executive-level roles, the jump from management to senior stakeholder positions within an organization requires showcasing different aspects of an individual’s skillset and experience.
Here are five tips on how to write an executive resume that catches a hiring manager’s attention:
Focus on the Executive Summary
Executive resume writing differs from a standard professional resume in that the level of competition that hiring managers are reviewing is much more refined. Executives are key decision makers in organizations, and the executives that stand out are the ones who are able to make consistently better decisions over the course of a tenure.
This is why it is important to focus heavily on the summary. Make sure that the summary not only speaks to your skillset, but also to your achievements. For example, have you strategized and executed an initiative that led to significant unit growth? Mention that you are skilled at strategic planning and execution in the summary.
The executive summary is where you are able to do a bit more storytelling. Make use of that real estate and build out a solid snapshot that describes what makes you different.
Don’t Write More Than A 2 Page Resume
While it can be easy to fill page over page with details of your accomplishments throughout your career, it is important to remember that the resume is a tool that you are using with the sole purpose of getting an interview.
The interview is where you’ll be able to expound on the minutia of your accomplishments and how you strategized the initiatives that have led to your career success today.
At the end of the day, the human resources professional who is initially reviewing your resume is only looking for a few key requirements when screening candidates for executive-level, so research the specific key terms that you need to hit, and focus on storytelling around those terms only.
Draw Attention To Your Leadership Philosophy
One major area that differentiates an executive resume from a standard professional resume is the introduction of leadership experience. While corporations are looking for individuals who are able to guide their organization in executive roles, they are also looking for people who have experience guiding and mentoring a workforce.
A corporation is only as strong is its weakest player, and if you have a track record of coaching team members to success, you’ll make a very strong case for yourself with that transferrable skill.
Introduce Executive-Level Action Verbs
It is a resume best practice to start each bullet point within the experience section with an action verb. As an executive, your action verbs to speak to a leadership skillset. For example, instead of participating in meetings, now you should be leading them. Instead of executing on strategies for growth, you should be championing initiatives.
The action verbs you start bullet points with on executive resumes should have more leadership impact. As a leading figure in an organization, you’ll be “pioneering” strategic initiatives and “driving” profitability. Feel free to use those kinds of terms to punch up the resume language.
Keep Formatting Clean and Simple
Simplicity and clarity are key when formatting an executive-level resume. Because there is going to be a heavy emphasis on career accomplishments and text, it is important to give the reader as much space as possible on the page to read through the content.
Traditional no-no’s such as text boxes and graphics are still no-go’s with executive resumes. But you will want to maximize the real estate on the page. Knowing that you only have two pages to tell you story, leveraging succinct yet powerful language, while focusing only on the most pertinent and focused accomplishments, is the best way to approach writing your executive resume in 2018.