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Critical Steps to Writing a Compelling Executive Resume

by Kim on July 17, 2017

While there are any number of ways to make sure your resume is noticed, i.e., read, there are several key areas that are frequently not addressed or thought of at all. I review several resumes a day from those who’ve been frustrated at the lack of response during what they consider an aggressive job search. Even when people are well qualified, it’s clear after a close inspection of their resume, that those qualifications are either not coming through or missing entirely.

Way back in the day, resumes were simple documents that usually started with a meaningless objective statement followed by a list of duties that all led with “Responsible for….”. Thankfully, those days are gone, and we have advanced to resumes that stand in as career marketing documents in the form of a resume.

I always suggest that people invest a good amount of thoughtful time on their executive resume, yet I am still aware that people always won’t, which is why these simple, yet critical, steps should be followed to ensure maximum visibility and interest.

First off, you want to make sure that the message your resume conveys is what YOU want to seek in terms of a new position; you don’t want readers to have to figure it out. Hiring Managers and Recruiters are busy, and they won’t take the time to see where you fit. For example, if you’re a sales dynamo or a talented process improvement manager, make sure that is the focus.

You want to use a pleasing, yet not-too-busy format; resumes should read easily, make sense and look professional with information easy to find. Unless you’re in a highly-creative field, your resume should not contain color, graphics, numerous tables, different font changes, etc. And use a popular common font vs. an intricate one to ensure that it’s compatible with all systems.

Do not use an objective statement, as they are useless – readers want to see what you can do for THEM, not the other way around. However, you can lead with a title/heading such as “Senior Merchandising Manager” or whatever it is that ties into your goal followed by a well-written qualifications summary that will immediately tell the reader what value, strengths and skills you can bring to an organization. I do have samples on my website that show how this is done.

The majority of your resume should be achievement driven vs. duty-driven. It doesn’t matter what you did, it matters how WELL you did it. Also, take your bullet points to the next level. Instead of mentioning a 55% increase in sales or a $600K cost savings, explain HOW those results were achieved…otherwise, there is no context for the reader.

As there are really no set-in-stone resume “rules” (minus the non-use of an objective statement) these tips should get you on your way to building a better executive resume that sets you apart from hundreds of other candidates.

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