Struggling with executive resumes? Find out what to do and what to avoid
1.What’s Hot: Focus
In today’s go-go-go, over-stimulated world, readers will quickly abandon your rambling, circuitous story. Instead, you must capture their attention with a tailored, what’s-in-it-for-them hook that is easy to spot, and reinforced throughout your executive resumes.
What’s Not: Brain-Dumping
Avoiding being pigeon-holed into a particular role, you instead dump all of your areas of expertise onto the page and expect the reader to figure out why you are a fit for their needs. Trying to be all things to all people is the quickest way to lose the interest of your reader and potential hiring decision maker.
2. What’s Hot: What’s In It For Them?
Show (don’t tell) how you will make your target reader more money, modernize processes, hire better talent, increase productivity and boost profits. Also, ensure your stories appeal to their leadership needs, including examples of how you helped your boss do something bigger and better. While you want to own your achievements, you also want to demonstrate that you are a team player and will shine a light on those leaders and executives you report to as well as colleagues and subordinates.
What’s Not: Me-Me-Me
If your resume is all about your greatness without linking to the overall impact for the company as a whole and to other individual talent who also are part of the overall growth and greatness, then you are missing the mark. Mentoring and coaching others to advance their careers is as much a part of your career track record as your own bottom-line results.
3. What’s Hot: Being Creative in Problem Solving
Articulate how and why you were successful in bridging the chasm between one silo and another and what the specific measurable results were. Shine a light on specific stories that exemplify your ability to see and divert a potential product development issue before it materializes, and how by doing so you prevented loss of hundreds, or perhaps thousands or millions of dollars in bleeding.
What’s Not: Just the Bottom-Line Results
While measurable results are important, discussing the bottom line on your resume is not enough. Reading a series of resumes that all make great claims of soaring revenues without any context is monotonous. The context is what gives executive resumes real texture and traction. It also provides the emotional appeal to really root the reader into your story.
4. What’s Hot: Leadership
Whether you are a newly minted graduate or an executive who has been slogging through the market place for 25+ years, showing how you lead well is not only admirable, but expected. Leadership can be displayed in a multiplicity of ways beyond directly managing people. It also can be leading by example and influencing others around you to behave in a way that is synchronous with your values and those of the company’s. This clearly can be a good thing, especially when your values and the company’s values align (we’ll talk about including values in your resume, in just a moment).
What’s Not: Followership
While being able to take direction is vital in an employer/employee relationship, strictly being a follower is not. In other words, taking initiative and the lead on tasks and projects will prove that you have drive as well as the ability to take a load off the boss’s shoulders.
5. What’s Hot: Career Portfolios
A good, meaty story will dive into the nuanced details of who you are and why that matters to your target audience and is vital in executive resumes. I’ve frequently heard back from executive and professional clients that their heartier resume story wowed the human resources executive, recruiter or CEO in that it told the full story and really drew them in. In fact, I’ve also heard complaints that when a resume doesn’t do this, readers are discouraged and move onto the next candidate. The higher you go in your career, the more value in deeper-dive stories.
With that said, instances where you are casually networking or being asked for an initial overview may require ‘less’ of your story. In these instances, a 1- or 2-page snapshot summary of your career is a proper appetizer. This portfolio component invites the reader for more.
Moreover, a career portfolio is not complete without a robust LinkedIn profile that provides an energizing narrative to accompany your resume. In many cases, the LinkedIn is a lead-in for the resume ask. Company executives and owners, recruiters, human resources managers and others of career influence are navigating their LinkedIn contacts daily for best-fit candidates. You don’t want to be missed.
Other career portfolio items include cover letters, biographies, personal websites, social media profiles and achievements addenda.
What’s Not: One-And-Done
While it’s tempting to build a resume story and stop there, you must realize that communications preferences vary from individual to individual. As mentioned above, some people will start with a taste-test of your value through your brief summary and then if there’s a fit, will ask for ‘more’ (i.e., your meatier resume). Others will begin with a search on LinkedIn and if what they find there is bland or incomplete, they may keep moving. Moreover, others will Google you and if they unearth a robust website that clearly outlines your value, they will be hooked.
Shortcutting your career communications process likely will result in low visibility and low returns.
6. What’s Hot: Values-Focused Resumes
Whether aspiring to a CFO role at the latest start-up, a management role at a Fortune 500 or an executive role at a non-profit, values are important. Weaving in your values can be as overt as stating your position on a specific cause or as subtle as inferring your beliefs through specific initiatives in which you were involved. Your target audience will guide your method of communicating values. Research and know your audience to aim your values arrow in a way that makes best sense.
What’s Not: Just the Facts
While facts are centerpieces of muscular executive resumes, nuances of your values and ethics wound through your stories not only will satisfy the reader’s needs but also will help attract the right-fit audience for you!
Originally posted on LinkedIn on Dec 22 2016