Effective executive resumes do several things at once:

  • They are visually attractive. White space in the resume – or “real estate” – is respected. Big blocks of text that are hard to read through are omitted.
  • At the top of the resume, key words are used precisely to help the reader understand the executive’s focus of direction, and any metrics are added to help the reader understand the size and scope of the executive’s profile. Examples include P&L to $200 Million, Fortune 500 Companies, Manage Teams to 300, Mergers and Acquisitions, Turnaround Expert, and so on…
  • Parsing out leadership highlights in a box or sidebar builds on their executive snapshot – again, helping the reader understand their expertise in quick sound bites. They match up their skills TO the positions and titles they are focusing on moving into. Relevant keywords in their leadership snapshot may include things like: MBA, Total Years of Industry Expertise, Board Appointments, Awards, Certifications and even community highlights such as nonprofit committee positions.
  • Charts and graphs are used in moderation to help add powerful visuals to their executive resume and can help to accent particular career successes. Colors – again, used in moderation – liven the document, creating an easier read, and solidifying branding by reinforcing an industry or position color. Examples include red for some sales and marketing or larger than life personalities, and blue and grey for healthcare executives.
  • Under professional history, a story is well constructed and includes the size of the company and whether the executive was recruited, appointed or promoted. Bullets lead with results first, as this keeps the reader’s interest. Leading with something such as, “Improved customer service ratings 75% in 12 months,” becomes a powerful motivator to the reader; they want to keep reading to understand why. The executive has successfully communicated that they understand their value to potential companies, which heightens the reader’s confidence in them.

Crafting executive resumes is considered by many professional resume writers to be an art. And although executive resume writing is a component of an unregulated industry (the careers industry), top internationally certified advanced resume writing certifications can be earned through highly credible associations such as Career Directors International.