If you are a successful CEO and have recently found yourself in the job market, you may have run into a few “surprises.” You may be sending your resume out to a small network of contacts, a few recruiters and perhaps applied for a few positions listed on job boards; yet, for all that effort, you may not be landing interviews.

There are many reasons that your CEO resume may not be getting you any traction. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Your CEO Resume may be dated. Have you done a quick search for CEO resumes on the internet and clicked on images? Or Googled top executive resume writers and looked at their award-winning executive resume samples? Leadership resumes have changed a lot in the last few years. More attention to visual design, layout, charts and graphs which detail accomplishment metrics and incorporate colors are all techniques that executive resume writers will use to make the professional documents they create stand out. Other executives are investing in hiring professional resume writers to create highly compelling, professional CEO resumes. They understand the value of standing out from the pack and the criticality of presenting themselves in the best light possible, including improving the ease with which their marketing documents can be read.
  • Your CEO Resume may be too long, contain too much information and be too text dense. Written communication has become more distilled and is most easily assimilated in short sound bites. This is where a good design can make a profound difference for you. By creating tables or call out boxes to showcase key leadership strengths, you can highlight things such as years of experience, how much P&L you have been responsible for, the size of companies you have expertise with and any special skills, such as reorganization or fast growth environments and advanced degrees. If you feel you are lacking in any of these areas, parsing out a section just to highlight key skills will help to accentuate the core abilities you do bring to the table and minimize any concerns about skills you may lack. If your resume is 3 or 4 or more pages long because after 20+ years you have “seen and done everything,” then it can be a challenge to create a resume that it more in line with the expected 2-page executive resume which is the most reasonable and easy to read. You might struggle with knowing what to put in and what to leave out of your resume. If you are going after particular CEO roles, listing all of your successes in detail – including what you did 15 years ago as a sales manager – may leave the impression that you are a little out of touch. Highlighting relevant results, not tasks, is the name of the game with today’s CEO resume. You probably have done some amazing things in your career, but the ones to list in your executive resume are those that align with your goals moving forward.

  • Your resume may not be focused. Again, a generalized overview of what you do is good. But companies, board members and top executives expect that you come to the table with a clear message that communicates your value and especially your branding. I like to think of your branding as “the promise of an experience; the experience a company or team will have when they work with you.” What are the main things you are known for in your leadership style? What are you doing when you are loving your work? What principals do you stand for no matter what? What special skills are you reputed for? Are these points communicated in your CEO resume? If not – they should be.