COO resume mistakes every ops executive is going to want to avoid. As the Chief Operations Officer, it may be a struggle to focus on how to adequately showcase your entire executive career on a piece of paper. Whether people refer to you as the Operations Director or the Director of Operations; your responsibilities are that of the second-in-command within the company. You can negotiate multi-million dollar contracts and find innovative ways to increase company revenue and profit margins; however, when it comes to your resume, you find yourself falling well below superior status. So now is the time to stop making those key COO resume mistakes.
Oversight of company operations? Check.
Directing enterprise-scale projects? Check.
Managing corporate strategies? Check.
Stakeholder for ERP Go-Live? Check.
Creating a COO worthy resume? Well…
Our team of executive resume writers at Employment BOOST is about to provide you with the mistakes to avoid and solutions for each to simplify your efforts in developing a COO worthy resume. Along with our in-house executive recruiters, Employment BOOST has reviewed and written countless resumes. While we are confident in our expertise as experienced executive resume writers and have knowledge from exceptionally qualified career consultants of a global executive search firm, we understand these resume mistakes may not apply to everyone and should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
COO Resume Mistakes
- Keywords – Too Much/Too Little
Resume Mistake: You know what your daily tasks consist of as the Chief Operations Officer, as does the rest of the company. You include your job description under your current position but fail to mention pertinent key words exclusive to your position and industry. You omitted the fact that you oversee all company departments, because logically as a COO, you oversee all departments. Perhaps, the situation is the opposite and you assume the reader isn’t fully knowledgeable of all you do so you list every program you use in a bulleted list under a three paragraph objective type of summary.
- Serves on advisory board to President, Board of Directors, VPs and manage teams.
- Represents organization externally, handling high-level contract negotiations, increasing sales growth and analytics production
- Implemented cloud-based ERP system to improve budget management by reducing spending and streamlined compliance processes
- Lead company’s internal operational teams including designating roles, assigning objectives, and monitoring and evaluating results and reports
We’ll spare you, the readers, and ourselves from going on and on with all the words you could include.
Solution: While you may think you should now eliminate this entire section, reconsider. Focus on the keywords that are relevant and be sure to not omit anything just because you assume it is assumed by the hiring manager or recruiter. Evaluate your job description and use key words that come up with your current position, industry, and the position you’re seeking. There are common key words applicable for COO positions including strategic planning, operational management, and business development. As you’re listing your current qualifications as Chief Operational Officer, you should elaborate on any ERP systems you utilized to innovate your company practices; furthermore, feature major implemented or utilized operational processes. If you’re a specialized COO in a particular industry, still specify the industry relevant key words as they can vary greatly from one industry to another. In addition, list the departments you manage; never assume it’s expected.
Executive Experiment: Imagine this: you’ve held an executive position for the past two decades at your company and your experience is exceptional. After all, your company has had you manage all the departments for the past two decades with the exception of the technology department. Now, IBM has an appealing COO opening and is seeking an experienced COO. Suddenly, you no longer meet their qualifications because you lack experience in the one department IBM is seeking.
Executive Insider Tip: Since recruiters aren’t manually reviewing thousands of resumes, they filter resumes through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). This presents qualified candidates to the hiring managers much simpler than the manual method. If you’re hoping your resume lands on that recruiter or hiring manager’s desk, you must ensure your resume is visible in an ATS by including key words throughout your resume.
- Non-Operational Executive Summary
Resume Mistake: Your summary doesn’t qualify as a summary nor as an objective statement. It’s somewhere between both but could more accurately be classified as a compilation of key words, goals, awards, and irrelevant personal information. You organized all five paragraphs by categories: qualifications, executive leadership, operational experience, vision and goals, and an “about me.” Your idea of an executive summary is a multi-functional piece that suffices as a cover letter, objective statement and a summary.
Solution: The executive summary is placed at the top of your resume to highlight your most important information with the intention of selling your professional brand. The summary should be formatted correctly and cater towards your current position, the position you’re pursuing, and even tailored towards a particular industry if it’s different than what your content offers.
Executive Insider Tip: Remember that hiring managers and recruiters should be intrigued by your resume upon first glance. If the format is correct and the content is readable and full of the information they’re seeking, they will likely spend more time reading the resume or attending it to later. Even though we do agree that looks matter on your resume, don’t spam the recruiter with irrelevant text just to make it look like you have an executive resume because the content placed closer to the top of a page weighs more with search engines.
- Lack of Quantitative Data
Resume Mistake: There is simply too much information to include on a resume that would accurately feature your accomplishments. If you list some of it, a hiring manager will assume that’s all you did, and that’s definitely not true. If you list all of it, you’re going to be spending at least ten more hours on this resume and that’s definitely not happening. You include general numbers and facts then refer the hiring managers and recruiters to a link so they can go visit your company website and complete the research on their own time. After all, you’re an amazing candidate that needs to showcase all the glory in person. Once you get that interview, success is inevitable.
Executive Experiment: Consider methods, processes, accomplishments, and responsibilities during your executive positions.
- Have you integrated new technologies to additionally advance company networking? If so, how?
- Did you reorganize corporate structure and streamline new operational processes?
- Did you reduce overall spending and increase revenues? By how much?
- Were new markets reached by your strategic developments and growth and goal implementation? How many? What successes did this bring?
Use these questions as a starting point in creating a content outline for your resume. These questions will produce quantitative data you can utilize in your resume.
Solution: Your executive expertise is constituent of results-producing work. As you’re listing your qualifications under each position, compliment your information with supporting data such as numbers, dollars, and percentages. As an integral part of the management team, there is quantitative data produced for annual reports and other progress reports. Having quantitative data in addition to quality information truly distinguishes you for the executive candidate that you are.
Professional Tip: If you’re struggling with appropriately formatting your content or correctly featuring your content to market your accomplishments without distorting your resume format, seek professional consultation. While this may seem like a shameless plug-in, we encourage you to seek professional expertise when it comes to your resume, even for what may seem like a simple concept. At Employment BOOST, we invest in our clients and their career planning – beginning with the resume. You should consult with a company that will invest in your future by producing the perfect resume tailored to your brand, the industry’s demand, and executive expertise.
- Too Much Information with Poor Format
Resume Mistake: Your resume resembles a short story. Although you’re capable of condensing entire departments and restructuring an entire company, your resume is an exception. With your leadership experience, assembling your resume is one of the most difficult tasks you’ve encountered in years. It’s nearly impossible for you to navigate through the details and list the information so you write it in paragraph form ensuring that you, at least, use a spell check program. To differentiate between the really important text and the important text, you bold fonts, italicize adjectives and color code the super content that makes you, you.
Executive Experiment: Consider the following questions:
- What is your current position title? What qualifications does it include?
- What is the position you’re pursuing? What qualifications does it require?
- How do you want to market your brand to hiring managers and recruiters?
- What are your most notable accomplishments? How would your coworkers describe you?
Solution: The answers to these questions should be included in your resume. Starting with the end in mind can allow you to define the style you want to organize your resume. As an executive, you should be able to condense your professional experience to produce the most valuable information in a resume that does not exceed two pages. Having an extremely lengthy resume also shows that you’re out-of-date and unaware of resume trends. Ageism is a trending, yet major flaw. By listing every single thing you’ve accomplished in the past twenty years, you’ve categorized yourself as outdated – not necessarily more qualified.
Professional Tip: Hiring managers and recruiters will find a poorly formatted and extensive resume as overkill and will likely eliminate you as a qualifying candidate. Clear and concise is the way to go!
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