Whether you are an experienced executive suddenly in the job market or a senior executive seeking fresh horizons and new opportunities, you need a powerful and effective resume. Your resume must have sharp, targeted writing, with an emphasis on keywords and accomplishments, and a demonstrated understanding of your value and ability to improve the employer’s business. You must communicate that you are ready and experienced at the top level and distinguish yourself from other executives who are qualified and seeking the same positions. Effective senior executive resumes include headlines, branding statements, core competencies and meaningful accomplishments.
Technology and a competitive job market have changed recruiting and job searches for employers and candidates. Everyone must sharply focus and target their recruiting and job search efforts, but executives must demonstrate a higher level of ability to communicate. An executive resume without headlines will not generate interest. Use headlines under your contact information at the top of your executive resume to describe precisely what you’ve done and can do. For example, the headline “Executive Sales Leadership – marketing – new business development – startups” conveys your areas of executive expertise.
Your executive resume must incorporate branding and branding statements to capture and convey your career identity. Show authenticity, passion and essence with a well-crafted branding statement using targeted, meaningful keywords that are relevant to your executive accomplishments and the employer’s industry and business. Use branding to create a consistent, unique appearance by giving the same look to all your job search materials, including resume and cover letter, business cards, portfolio, thank-you letters and online presence on personal websites or social media. Your executive brand is your marketing tool to stand out from competitors.
Core competencies are phrases that communicate your strengths and experience. A core competencies section is near the top of the resume, under an executive summary or branding statement. It should have 12 to 15 powerful and precise phrases that describe what you’ve done in your career and what you can do for prospective employers. Strategic planning, quality control, project leadership and market analysis are examples of targeted, descriptive core competencies.
Companies seek executives to meet their high-level business needs, and want to see that reflected in resumes. Your executive resume must include accomplishments, such as actual results, outcomes, and solutions, using meaningful, relevant terms regarding revenue, competitors and industry trends. Use your resume to demonstrate executive actions affecting the company, such as growing the business and increasing revenues. Use storytelling to communicate your measurable accomplishments. For example, “I worked with my sales team for eighteen months on prospecting and training to increase our new customer base by 25 percent” is much more effective than “My sales division brought in new business in the two years I was there.”
- Top Notch Executive Resumes; Katherine Hansen
- Expert Resumes for Managers and Executives, 3rd Edition; Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark
Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.