Tag: Executive Resume Samples

On Forbes: Key Marketing Elements of the Most Powerful CEO Resumes

On Forbes: Key Marketing Elements of the Most Powerful CEO ResumesIn my latest article on Forbes, I take a sample CEO resume and show you how to communicate key points to your audience fluidly and effectively – both at the cursory glance and in the deeper read.

Click here to read more, plus check out the other articles I’ve contributed as a Forbes Coaches Council author.

The Executive Resume: 3 Advanced Tips to Help You Create a Powerful Marketing Document

resumeWhen creating your resume you need to write TO what you want versus FROM where you have been. Here are some secret tips from the vault that will help you to create a compelling executive resume:

Tip #1: Keywords and Summary Statements

One of the most important things to remember is that the keywords at the top of your resume create the reader’s initial perception of you by defining alignment and scale. You need to help the reader understand and appreciate your capabilities and career focus during a cursory glance.

For example, you could say:

Transformational Leader | Team Builder | Government Projects

But what do the keywords above really tell someone who does not know you? If you said, “Very little,” I agree! You have just used prime real estate to make a rather subtle ripple vs. a big splash.

Much more effective:

General Manager | Aviation and Aeronautics | Global Government Projects to $1 Billion | Transformational Technologies

Key points after that may include elements such as:

MBA, 9 Advanced Aeronautical Certifications | NASA Award Winner | Teams to 60 | 20+ Years’ Experience with World Class, Global Aerospace Companies

The second bunch of keywords supports your alignment and scale—and they “make your argument.”

Tip #2: Your Resume is Two Resumes in One

Your resume has to be effective during a cursory glance and also the deeper read—essentially, two resumes in one.

The first resume is the most important—it’s the snapshot … and YOU control where the eyes go. Your cursory-glance resume is laid over the entire resume—everything you color, bold, underline, or put in a call-out box is what the eyes are drawn to first—and thus it needs to include the following information for your reader to be “satisfied” at the end of 10 or 15 seconds. These little nuances are extremely powerful:

  • Scale: Include things such as P&L to $600M or budgets to / industry or industries / company sizes / locations: global or national or regional or select: North and South America and Asia Pacific / Teams to 350 / Degrees | Board Positions / Certifications etc.
  • Career Focus and Alignment: The bullets must support the direction you want to go in—not just the successes you have had.If you want to do turnaround work for large corporate divisions you will focus on all the turnarounds, reorganizations and transformations, and re-engineering of processes, setting a company up for sale, etc. Amplify your successes in the direction you want to go. Connect the dots for your reader.
  • Front Load $$%% Metrics: It says to the reader, “Hey, I understand what you want to read because I am a leader.” It sets perception and builds confidence (in you). It also makes the conversation more fluid, creates excitement during the interview, and, at the first read, helps the reader picture you achieving similar results for them.

Tip #3: Design

The reason top executive resume writers pay so much attention to the balance and visual design of a client’s executive resume is because when the resume looks a little different, a little better, at the first glance the reader thinks, “Wow, this looks good … and a little different. So the content must be different too.” And thus, they stay on the page a little longer.

Well-organized information parsed out in sections and given enough white space between bullets, etc. has a similar effect. It makes the document easier to read and assimilate—thereby having a pleasing (not irritating) effect on the reader.

Bonus Tip

Most seasoned, credentialed resume writers “get” these points. Just like any other business investment in graphic design, professional photos, websites etc. “pays off,” investing in a professionally designed resume has the same effect—and usually pays for itself … though it often yields a return on investment many times over!

A Checklist to Help You Pick the Best Executive Resume Writer For You

If you are an executive, you may be wondering if it is worth it for you to invest in having your resume professionally written. VP Resumes, CIO Resumes, COO Resumes and the like are often professionally written for a few main reasons:

  1. The time it takes you as an executive to put together your own resume and do it well is usually a driving factor. You have probably already figured out that as a multi-six-figure plus executive, it costs you money to try to develop your own marketing collateral (at your salary) vs. hiring someone knowledgeable to do it for you.
  2. There is the struggle of writing about yourself and conveying a successful career track record without feeling like you are bragging.
  3. Perhaps most important is the edge a professionally written resume (also called a leadership resume) can give you as an executive in today’s market. Many studies have been done that show a well laid out document keeps the reader on the page longer. A resume that truly has a polished and professional appearance is more attractive and better received by key decision makers; it creates excitement, establishes trust and generally garners more interest. This is very important at the top executive level where there are statistically fewer opportunities.

So, with all the resume writers out there, how does an executive decide who to work with? Below is a checklist of items you can use as you determine the best writer for you.

  • Certification. There are very good writers who are not certified, but in an unregulated industry such as career services, a certification from a top association such as Career Directors International acts as an insurance policy to you.
  • Industry Expertise. Have they written for your level, your geographic location and for your industry before? This isn’t a deal breaker if they haven’t done all three, but it is important they have at least been in the general ballpark in terms of experience.
  • Price. At the end of the day your focus should not be the price of the resume but the return on investment you stand to gain. When it comes to resume writers, this is why I always say hire the absolute best you can afford. There is often a very good reason a top career pro commands top dollar. Lower-priced writers often do high volume. Think of what you want. Is it to change industries without taking a pay cut? Is it to get a 5k raise or make $50k more a year? Jeremy, a friend of mine that I recently wrote a resume for, told me that by using it, he landed a position with a Fortune 100 energy company and tripled his salary – in just a few weeks! So to Jeremy, does it matter now if I was $1000 less or $500 more than writer X? Not one bit with returns like that. Price should be way down on your list. Your confidence that your writer can help get you where you want to go should be top priority.
  • Brownie Buttons. What other brownie buttons (as I call them) does the writer have to offer you? Certifications, inclusions in books, magazine articles and major media, as well as winning awards, are ALL excellent indications that someone is pretty good at what they do. It also indicates that person is probably a pretty good marketer. When it comes to your resume – a marketing document – having a writer who has a strong foundational understanding of marketing 101 plays very well to your success. If you like how they market themselves, they will probably know how to market you, too!

  • Resume Samples. It is very important to check out the resume samples on that writer’s website and ask for more if you need to. Do you like them? Do you resonate with them? Do you want a resume that looks very similar? You should, because that is probably what your resume will end up looking like! Of course, understanding what represents good content is foundational too, but that’s material for another article!
  • The Writer. Do you like the writer? You’d better, because that person is going to be working with you – translating intimate parts of your career and personality for you and possibly giving you guidance to help you with next steps. You have to like and trust them enough to follow their lead. Can and will you trust them enough to let them lead you? Even if the writer is a fantastic resume writer, if they rub you the wrong way or they are not a good fit for whatever reason, it is best to keep looking.
  • Job Search Support. How much does the writer know about next steps? Are they savvy enough that they can accelerate your results with additional support, coaching, services and resources above and beyond your resume and/or LinkedIn profile? It is my belief that a resume writer who understands what happens after they give you your professionally written executive resume is going to be looking through that lens when they write your resume; thus they will produce a more focused and results-producing document overall.

Geeking Out on the Art of Designing the C-Level Executive Resume

What is it – that secret thing that top resume writers do that make their clients look so darned appealing? I am addressing this article to c-level executives (CEOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs etc.), but these points are really applicable to most every resume.

A really well-written leadership resume says, “I know who I am, what I am good at and where I want to go.” Most (not all) self-written resumes I read leave the reader guessing here. They are almost written with a mindset of, “if I write down all the things I am wonderful at, surely someone out there will read it, find a spot for me and know where to put me.” You can almost hear the author’s voice clearly stating this through the thicket of dense, broad information packed on the first page of their resume.

You might say to yourself, “But I really don’t know where I want to go. There are so many options out there, how can I possibly take the lead? It feels much more natural to put myself out there and see what comes of it.”

You certainly have the right to feel and think this way, but when it comes to your resume, you need to demonstrate much more focus. You need to approach the entire resume as a clear-cut marketing document – just like a business would.

Keyword Focus
Focus involves understanding what kind of industry/position you want to target. This makes it easier for your reader to have confidence in you. The following are simple, yet focused keywords that help your reader understand exactly where you see yourself:

  • Division Director/General Manager – Multinational Companies – Technology Services
  • Chief Marketing Officer – Fast Growing Restaurant & Hospitality Chains

Your branding message is another key feature of your resume. This message is peppered throughout your document in continuity. Many times it is a nice touch if you can offer a “branding statement” at the top of your resume. This can be in the form of a short statement or a quote from you or another person. It can be a statement of philosophy or work ethic. Above all, it is a promise of the experience someone is going to have when they are given the opportunity to work with you.

Here are several examples:

  • 15 Years’ Excellence Supporting Growth With Innovative Technology Strategies & Business Intelligence
  • A good leader is one who can tell another how to reach his or her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for him or herself.” – Bo Bennett
  • Sophisticated financial expertise with tactical execution of profit-generating initiatives that exceed company-mandated goals
    15+ years’ experience developing a large COI network. Colleagues refer to me as their “Secret Weapon.”

Here are a few points at the top of one executive’s resume that are so strong, the branding happens on its own!

  • Collaborate with Top Minds In Government & Industry | Included in FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People In Finance” | Executed 9- and 10-Figure IPO’s

Here is a focused statement for a top project engineer:

  • Delivering Complex, Multi-Million Dollar Projects Ÿ Raising Profit & Enhancing Safety With Process Improvement

The last point I want to share is on design. Repeated surveys show that decision-makers are 6 times more responsive to images that express professionalism, attention to detail and a “sense of caring” about identity. The appearance of your resume matters! The right layout can work absolute wonders for you and a good writer (who is also a good marketer and has an eye for design) knows how to work out tables, charts, boxes and graphs, as well as use bold and italic words, different complimentary colors and spacing to draw the readers eye down through the document. This way the reader scans the most critical information at the cursory glance and can get a baseline of perspective on you and your skills.

It took me many years to learn how to do this very valuable service for my clients! I have always put just as much emphasis on a nicely designed and laid out document as I have good, tightly written content. A readable, well-organized resume is attractive, magnetic, and shows caring and initiative on the part of the candidate. It is all of these subtle yet powerful components that go into a well-thought-out and well-designed resume.

Resume Tips: Avoid These 3 Mistakes at All Costs When Writing Your Resume Opening Statement

The most precious piece of real estate in your entire resume is the top of the first page. At the cursory glance, this is the area that is going to get the most attention. And there are some things you can do to make the most of that – or get your resume tossed in the “not interested” pile.

Here is a quick checklist of things NOT to do when crafting the opening statement of your resume:

Don’t generalize. Focus, not generalization is critical. For example, say the VP of Sales for a Fortune 500 company gets ahold of your resume. He or she reads your opening statement which begins with, “Sales executive with 15 years of experience building teams and consensus, expanding territories, etc., etc… Ultimately, this tells the reader very little.

Ask yourself what questions the reader might have. I guarantee they are trying to come up with a framework of perspective about you that includes things like:

  • Do you have experience with regional, national or global sales?
  • How big are the teams you have managed?
  • What kind of companies have you called on and what is the dollar figure of the products or services you have represented?
  • Do you have any particular selling skills, such as conceptual selling, or academic credentials, like an MBA?

Using a combination of keywords and a brief opening statement, you can paint a picture (quickly) that satisfies (not frustrates) your reader.

Don’t write an opening statement over 6 lines deep. If you have Googled “executive resume writers” and viewed their samples, you might notice professional resumes are becoming more and more visually impactful and much less dense in text. This is because big blocks of text in your resume will seldom get read.

You must say what you wish to say directly, simply and briefly. Focus on the value you bring to the table. In other words, describe what happens when you do what you do as opposed to just providing an outline of your tasks and skills. After all, what does someone who reads your resume want to know? It sounds harsh, but the questions that are really being asked are, “What good are you to me?” and “Why should I be reading this?” Your focus on value demonstrates that you “get” that.

Don’t speak in first person or past tense. New graduate resumes, mid-level resumes and executive resumes all have one thing in common: they are written in implied first person. Don’t say, “I offer 5 years of social media marketing experience,” but, “Offering 5 years of social media marketing experience.”

BONUS TIP: Enhance your opening statement with keywords either above or below it. This is an easy way to help your reader understand your value. For example, a construction executive resume might say:

Commercial Construction | Healthcare & Academia | Teams to 400 | P&L to 500 Million

How to Find a Job When You Are Not Looking for One

Many executives I speak to share with me that they have never had to look for a job before – the jobs came to them. And even though in recent years the market is tougher, it is still quite possible to draw opportunities to you.

Here are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for success:

Connect With Recruiters
Back when I was a recruiter, there were some executives that would actually hang up on me when I called to pitch them a job – only to call me a year or two later asking about open jobs I was working on. Unbelievable! But I know YOU are not ever going to do this, right? Right! Because today it is all about being networked so everyone can help each other.

So first things first: find the recruiters in your industry. It makes no difference if they are close to you geographically, only that they work in your industry or specialty. Call them and let them know you are happy where you are, but that you would like to invite them to call to network with you, and to keep you in mind for any particular opportunities that might be a good fit. Remind them to keep this confidential and not to send your resume to any companies without your prior consent. Do this with 5 or 6 good recruiters and you will be in good shape!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Did you know that your Linked In profile, done correctly, can dramatically increase your weekly visitor rate? You want to pull the right eyes to your profile so that you are top of mind for networking and potential opportunities with the people you most need and want to be connected to. There is a trick to this, but it is not hard to set up if you know how. I just took a large group of executives step-by-step through how to set up their LI profile and recorded it here. This is a “must-know” for every career-minded professional.

Become a Thought Leader
How do superstars attract opportunities? By being good at what they do, yes, but many times you will find them stepping into the fullness of their potential through leadership positions outside of their companies. This includes speaking at associations and trade conferences, writing articles for associations on their area of expertise or getting involved in their local chamber of commerce for their particular business function (such as being an ambassador for their cities local manufacturing sector). This attracts people, makes networking easy, and challenges you mentally to always be the best you can be – step out and try new things using your career expertise as your springboard. Years ago I stepped up to become a thought leader in my industry, especially on the topic of tapping the hidden job market. You just have to be willing to share what you know with others. Many people struggle with the “but who am I to do that?” syndrome. In fact, most everyone does. Those feelings are a normal and a part of the progression. Acknowledge those feelings, but continue on!

Have An Outstanding Resume
Are you really serious about the edge you want in the market? A professionally written resume will wow both recruiters and companies, set you well apart from your competition, and work to secure you more interviews and offers. There is just no getting around the ROI you can experience by investing in yourself in this area. Make sure your writer is certified with a top association and an experienced writer in your industry. You can see samples of professionally written executive resumes here. Put a reminder in your calendar every 90 days to keep track of your career accomplishments, no matter how small – and try to quantify them with %% and $$ whenever possible. This small effort has a direct effect on your future salary.

Looking For The Best Online Resume Samples? I Have Online Resume Templates In MS Word For You To Download, Keep & Use!

I just updated my best selling eBook on Amazon: The Career Artisan Series, The 21st Century Resume. This is my step-by-step guidebook on how to write your own resume and perhaps the best part is that it comes with a link to download custom resume templates. I have just added and updated all the resume sample templates to serve the new grad resume – on up to the executive level resumes.

*Oh, and I am a multi-award winning and internationally certified advanced resume writer and career coach who has served on multiple judging panels and committees for our Gold Standard Association: Career Directors International.  J

Here are the templates:1. Professional Resume Sample Template: Universal format. 2 pages.

2. Professional Resume Sample Industry Change: Great for industry or function change. 1 page.

3. Professional Resume Sample Industry Transition:Good for industry transitions – bold crimson colors, great for more dynamic roles such as sales, marketing or other leadership positions. 2 pages.

4. Executive Resume Samples: Straightforward executive resume template – business blue inspires confidence and leadership. 2 or 3-pages.

5. Professional Resume Sample Career Change: Great for traditional or career change with areas to call out projects, awards or technical proficiencies. 2 pages.

6. Technical Resume Sample: Good resume for technical roles. 2 pages.

7. Executive Resume Sample: Good for those who have been with a single company for many years. 2 pages.

8. Professional Resume Sample: Well laid out with call out boxes for projects, special skills or awards. Cool blue – great for construction. 2 pages.

9. New Graduate Resume Sample: Perfect for the new graduate. 1 page.

10. Executive Resume Sample: Clean design and easy to read. 2 pages.


The best part? I have offered this book for nearly 18 months now for just $3.99 on Amazon! Grab your copy and your online templates here.



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