Writing an executive resume isn’t what it used to be.
If you’re still adding to a mid-career resume, other leaders WILL edge you out in the race for choice opportunities.
Mundane details for the executive roles in your career trajectory won’t convey your capabilities and strengths at the level you deserve.
Today, executive resumes have evolved into a powerful presentation, complete with metrics, context, keywords, and formatting elements that showcase leadership experience.
Consider adding these branding elements to showcase your expertise and prove your readiness for that next executive role:
1 – Success stories (transformed by incorporating metrics).
Quantifiable results, cost savings, team size, and budget authority are important elements in an executive resume. There’s often no better way to demonstrate how you’ll make an impact than to show it in specific figures.
No matter your role, you can still add metrics critical to your message. For example, a CIO can show cost savings from vendor negotiation or hardware leasing. The COO can focus on improvements across sales revenue or marketing budgets. A VP of Engineering should be able to offer R&D metrics demonstrating improvement in product development.
Remember to list all project budgets, costs, operational and CAPEX figures, and similar metrics when starting to write your executive resume.
Then, as you’re recalling success stories, make a note to quantify savings in productivity, employee retention, or budgets, in addition to contributions that improved profit. (Your competition will be doing exactly that!)
2 – A powerful resume presentation.
If you still see color on executive resumes as trendy, you’ll need to adjust your thinking. The best use of color, other than emphasizing some aspects of your experience, is to help emphasize the right information in your document.
When judiciously placed, color can highlight the words you want employers to notice, or even visually separate text to “add” more space.
This COO resume shows how a dash of color can quickly delineate key points (graduation from a prestigious university, plus high-level job titles)—employing color as both a backdrop and a text enhancement.
Be sure the color you select is in alignment with your industry focus and executive career level. Neon or bright green, for example, would not work well when viewed by a conservative audience.
3 – Context that demonstrates executive leadership and decision-making skills.
Employers need to understand your leadership style and the methods you use to drive results. By writing out your achievements in C-A-R (Challenge-Action-Result) format before building your executive resume, you’ll start to see patterns that represent your personal brand value.
Note: you can also use the S-T-A-R formula representing Situation, Task, Action, and Result for each success story; what’s important is extracting the high points of your career.
As an example of context, this CEO resume example shows how the candidate focused on demand for new services and directed his staff to expand customer volume. In the same manner, this sample CEO and COO resume demonstrates how pursuing government and NGO clients helped turn around the business.
In summary, remember that employers won’t realize the value of your strategic perspective and business acumen unless you illustrate it for them!
To stand out, you’ll need to show both the results you generate AND the leadership style you bring to the company.