Tag: executive resume tips (page 1 of 3)
Check out my latest Forbes article, “Top 10 Qualities Of Chief Executive Officer Resumes,” for executive resume advice on how to get full market leverage with your CEO resume .
You can read all of my articles as a Forbes Contributor by visiting Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, Forbes Coaches Council Member.
A big thanks to Forbes for publishing my article, Today’s Executive Resume Is No Longer Just For Job Searching, which highlights five ways executives may not have considered utilizing their resume to advance their career.
Is it time to dust off your CEO resume? If you are being recruited or ready to vet a new CEO position or wishing to step into your first CEO role – your executive resume is the foundation for your audiences first perception of you. You know how first perceptions are – once they are “set” it’s very hard to move the needle – so your executive resume has a tremendous amount of power to create the impression you want.
20+ years of expertise summarized in a 2- or 3-page document is not an easy feat. This explains why developing a Chief Executive Officer resume can be tricky. Often, CEOs will come to me with original 5- pages resumes, simply as a result of not knowing what strengths to emphasize and which to minimize or exclude.
However, here are three Executive CEO Resume samples that demonstrate universal selling points that are generally applicable across all C-Level resumes.
Executive Resume Sample #1
Give your audience a clear table of contents at the top of Page 1.
Click to view full resume.
In this first resume, you see how the CEO spelled out who he is, and where he wants to go—very clearly. For example, just the keywords at the top give you the following information:
- Industry of Preference and Expertise: Tech Companies in Growth Mode
- Title: CEO / Advisor
- Organizational Structure Preferred: Private Equity
- Special Area of Expertise: M&A’s, Growth
As the eye draws to the document’s other supporting areas, what this CEO specializes in is very clear:
Risk Controls / Executive Board Partnerships / Strategic Exits
With this context – now the reader not only knows the CEO’s primary skills, strengths, and industry preferences, he/she also has enough context to read deeper into the document and digest it. In other words, without a table of contents or summary overview, it’s difficult to digest the details.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #1 here.
Executive Resume Sample #2
Speak from a position of leadership and metrics to set the perception as a results-driven leader in the minds of your readers.
Click to view full resume.
Leaders are expected to garner results. It is anticipated that their vision and personality will inspire and motivate their teams. By clearly focusing on the results you deliver, you inspire the trust of your readers.
This second executive resume example demonstrates the results the CEO garners. It spans revenue growth, expansions, major transactions, major awards (industry thought leadership), and high-visibility projects.
IMPORTANT: Note that the bullets begin with the CEO’s result…not the activity and THEN the metric result at the end. I wrote a more in depth post about C-level resume tips like this here.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #2 here.
Executive Resume Sample #3
Set up your storyline to make it easy for your reader to understand your value.
Click to view full resume.
This particular resume has some special components. First, it’s a one-page version of a three- page resume. One-page resumes are often preferred by banks, boards, and private equity firms. This resume is also color-branded to the CEO’s industry of choice. It clearly demonstrates her thought leadership and industry expertise. It gives scale and scope at the cursory glance. It is visually very attractive.
Even though it’s only one page, this resume clearly outlines this CEO’s career narrative. It starts with her title and provides a summary of why she was hired. Then, it crisply delivers her primary accomplishments, which are supported with just enough detail in the few bullets below the summary accomplishment. This respects the reader and sets up the storyline so that the reader WANTS to digest, read, and understand this CEO’s career narrative.
IMPORTANT: Note that each bullet begins with her quantifiable result…NOT the activity and then, the result at the end. Beginning with the result shows more energy and power. It translates that this CEO understands it’s the RESULT—not the activity—that is of primary importance.
View the full CEO executive resume sample #3 here.
In summary, the majority of CEOs hire a resume writing firm to develop their marketing documents —but even if you don’t write your own resume, these tips will help you know what to look for in a top executive resume writer or executive resume writing firm!
If you would like to chat about executive resume services, you can request a confidential, complimentary call here.
The best executive resume writing tips in one quick, 3-minute video. Mary Elizabeth Bradford, The Career Artisan, addresses the top issue executives encounter when writing their own resume and shares the resume tips she uses in her practice.
Want more information on DIY resumes? Visit Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s Success Store at: http://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/success-store.php
Interested in having Mary Elizabeth create your resume for you? Visit http://maryelizabethbradford.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call.
One of the main challenges my CXO clients have is knowing WHAT to put in their resumes. This is why they will often have 5-page resumes that are crammed with everything they have ever done. When top achievers try to share all of their accomplishments, this is what happens!
The solution to this dilemma is to clearly identify what the end game is and then work backwards so that your resume is written to the industry and general position you want. For example: You are interested in COO or VP of Operations roles in mid-market growth companies that range in size from $500M and $1B in the technology services industry. This is a good scale that is not too broad and not too narrow.
Identifying your sweet spot generally ensures you will get what you want, are clear and direct from the beginning (this energy will radiate confidently out to all those you come in contact with during your transition) and will generally make your entire transition easier to manage and your results quicker.
Good executive resumes have keywords and snapshots at the top ½ of the first page that help the reader quickly understand your scope of abilities and your career focus. You can look at the resume samples page on my website for examples of this principle in action.
When you are targeting positions with slight variations in title and scope, first detail everything you know about the opportunity you want to tailor your resume to. A powerful but simple exercise is to highlight the keywords that are the main aspects of the position, then go back through and ascertain which of those keywords are a “match” for you. It could be all of them – in which case you could simply embed those new keywords, using them to accentuate the points about the opportunity that you are perfectly aligned with. Here is an example:
Chief Operating Officer, Vice President Global Operations | Technology Services
P&L to $1B | Teams to 500 | Fast Growth Mid-Market Companies
Augmented for a Specific Opportunity:
Chief Operating Officer | PE Backed, Rapid Growth Technology Services Companies | SAAS
P&L from $100M to $1B | Teams to 500 | M&A | Turnarounds
This is generally quick and easy to do and allows you to match your skills to mirror specific opportunities. Although this doesn’t require much effort on your part, it has a strong resonance with the reader because you reflect the qualities they are looking for – which creates more interest and intrigue.
There are times when you may feel it necessary to dig into the body of your resume to accentuate various strengths and achievements more clearly to align with your position of choice. However, I have found that the more clarity you have from the start regarding your driving motivators and what kinds of career opportunities you are looking for, the less you will encounter this issue because you will be naturally in alignment with what best suits you from the beginning.
When 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.
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!
One of the major reasons resume writers—or any writers for that matter—are in business is because it’s simply so hard for people to be objective when writing about themselves or their businesses.
It’s for this very reason you may find it tricky to customize your own resume for the position you are going after. To make it easier, here are three tips that you can use to “tweak” your resume properly. I call it “The Mirroring Technique.”
Tip #1: Find Your Focus. This is an obvious one, but there is a trick to it. So often, professions only think their resume is “focused,” when in reality, they are generalizing. I believe this is because many professionals believe (incorrectly) that they should not focus their job search goals too narrowly for fear of losing out on possible open positions. You can exacerbate this misguided belief by limiting your job search to job boards for executive jobs and positions. Job boards represent about 1 percent of actual jobs that are available and are awash with competition.
The first thing I do when working with my clients is have them complete my Career Success Blueprint™. This gets them hyper-focused on exactly what they want and really understanding where the low-hanging fruit is for them. This information, now on paper, also gets them out of “job board” head space and helps direct their energies to thoughts like, “what exactly do I really want and what are some of my primary job search motivators (i.e. money, geographic, and industry parameters)?” When they get crystal clear on these important components, then and only then can they take the next step—which is to write their resume and formulate the right job search plan. The same is true for you.
Tip #2: Shift Your Perspective. You must approach the information contained in your resume through the eyes of potential employers. In other words, you are going to want to write some things about your career history that will probably not be applicable to your ideal position. Shift your perspective by taking into consideration the position requirements that you know of and, most importantly, the results you can bring to the table: your quantifiable achievements.
For example, if you have a background of experience in operations AND marketing and you are focusing on a marketing director position, you will most likely want to minimize your operations experience and draw forth only the experience relevant to your goals.
Tip #3: Use “The Mirroring Technique.” This is an extension of shifting your perspective. Take an example of your ideal job from any relevant job description using a job aggregator like indeed.com. Next, highlight ALL the keywords and phrases used in the job description that communicate the ideal candidate and also match your skills and strengths. Now weave those keywords into the first page of your resume, essentially “mirroring” what they are asking for.
So often we say to ourselves mentally, “Oh, this position fits me perfectly!” and yet we fail to take that rather simple next step, which is to and make sure we are communicating this in our resume. By using the mirroring technique, it becomes quite easy!
Let me elaborate on the technique of using a sample position from indeed.com—and how powerful this little exercise truly is. Let’s say, that you are interested in a VP of Sales position for a mid-size technology company. Using those search keywords, in about 10 or 15 minutes you will have found three or four position descriptions that sound like a great match for you. It doesn’t matter where these positions are located or even what companies they are with. You are looking for descriptions that excite and energize you and you will know you have found a great match by the emotions they evoke in you. Cut and paste each of these descriptions into a Word document and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that match you. Most likely you will begin to see a pattern of keywords in each position. Simply take and use these keywords and phrases in your resume. You can use them in your showcase keywords at the top of your resume, in your opening statement, and in your bulleted list of core competencies.
Bonus Tip: I like to use a lot of keywords at the very beginning of my resumes so that the reader can (at a glance) get a pretty good idea of what my client is all about in just a few seconds. By using very clear communication at the very top of your resume—which also can be called “good branding”—not only will your resume clearly and powerfully communicate your career objectives and expertise, but you can subtly tweak your keywords to “mirror” a particular industry or position. For example, let’s say you have both start-up and turnaround experience. “Technology Start-Ups” might be one of your keyword phrases at the top of your resume. If you are reaching out to a mid-size technology firm that you know needs a turnaround expert, you can replace “Technology Start-Ups” with “Turnaround Expert.”
Using the simple techniques above should increase your interviews and interest from potential employers.
I always approach any tips I provide you from the perspective of the job seeker going direct to employers versus waiting for the perfect job found on a job board. Remember, almost ALL jobs (more than 85 percent) are not publicly advertised. So no matter what your industry is, or what stage you are at in your career, it makes total sense for you to get your information to the key decision-makers, companies, and industries that you are most interested in. You might be surprised at their show of interest in YOU and your initiative! If you are ready to learn more about how easy it is to tap into the hidden job market, you can check out my home study program at www.job-searchsystem.com.
Check out where I share what contact information you should include on your executive resume.
As an executive, if you want to up-level your executive title, make more money, or land a position at a specific, top-tier company such as Apple or Google, then the first thing you need to do is focus your executive resume on what you want vs. where you have been.
- First things first … make sure your target industry/company is stable, growing, and in general, has a good long-term economic outlook.
- Next, find two to four relative job descriptions that match and resonate with the title and industry you are focused on. Then, highlight the keywords and phrases in each position that you resonate with. Pay attention to running themes and patterns in each of the position requirements.
- Now frame out your executive resume with these positions as your touchstone and start to build out your keywords and taglines based on what your aligned position descriptions are calling for, and your core leadership strengths and attributes.
- Your summary statement should only be four to six lines deep and mirror the top strengths being asked for in your ideal job description. For example, if your ideal job lists “a strategic leader” who “has led turnarounds” and “has heavy expertise in fast growth organizations and M&A’s” as the top three qualifications, THAT is what you need to center your summary statement around (providing you have all of those skills, of course). As a top executive, you have a lot of skills and strengths; the challenge is mirroring what your next role is asking for.
These are the four most critical initial steps to solving the majority of executive resume issues, especially when it comes to “knowing what to put in and what to leave out.” Essentially, begin at the end and work backwards.
Now for the less-talked-about psychology behind these actions: If you are indeed interested in a company such as Apple or Google (the examples I used above), go to their websites as part of this executive exercise; look at the CXO players, their website colors, the keywords they use over and over again—and let the feel of the culture and the website really sink in. Mirror that back to them in the form of your communication, both written and verbal.
This is simply leadership and marketing 101 applied to your executive job transition. It is not something often spoken about from executive resume writers—but it should be! It’s truly the X factor in your ability to take a leadership approach in your 100K+ job search. Just like the other executive leadership initiatives and positions you have held in your career, when you manage your executive job search you are bringing everything you are into it—your mental outlook, your emotions, and of course, your focus of alignment and marketing collateral. You want everything to vibrate at the highest level possible and peg initial impressions as favorably as you possibly can. Where it gets set in motion tends to continue in that direction at the higher level.
That is how my executive clients are able to propel themselves to greater heights at an accelerated rate. They make it look effortless, though in-depth planning and preparation goes on behind the scenes!