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Making an Executive Transition

by Kim on July 22, 2015

No matter how accomplished your career background is, you might find it challenging to write an executive resume that highlights those achievements while conveying your ability to actually step into a role that is clearly a departure from your current or previous leadership role.

If you are currently at the helm of a multimillion-dollar, Fortune 500 company, it might see odd to readers to learn that you now want a new challenge of running a startup, taking over a small non-profit or even switching industries entirely. While many have successfully made the transition, you need to know a few things before developing an executive resume that will have a different approach than normally would be used if you were forging a career path to the next natural level in your progression.

So how do you approach this new career adventure?

Highlight your strengths and transferable skills. Every resume should include a mix of your “best” skills, transferable and industry specific; however, it’s even more important during a transition to think like a hiring manager and identify the most relevant skills specific to your goal. For example, if your primary skill set is high-level finance, and you are now seeking a role that does not require such complexity, you can focus on your ability to work well with numbers, help an organization understand reporting requirements and/or your exceptional attention to detail, “proving” those points through achievement bullets which highlight these strengths and how they combined to produce results.

Study Various Job Postings in areas which interest you. Maybe the thought of joining a non-profit has been something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, yet never had the time or inclination to make a change until now. Find out the common thread of qualifications typically sought out, find people you already know in the industry to understand the nuances unique to the industry and subsequent success.

Consider using what some call a “hybrid” resume. This executive resume writing strategy is generally not a favorite of hiring managers, as it sometimes can take key points out of context through a separate achievement section vs. highlighting accomplishments under respective positions. However, if some of your “older” successes are relevant to your career goals, they may get lost in a traditional chronological format (stuck on the end of a second page), so this technique affords you the ability to draw attention to those highlights first.

While it is not always easy to bring others onboard your new transition venture, a new role can certainly become a reality when you step out of your normal operating box with proper planning, a change-oriented mindset and the confidence needed to position yourself as someone who can make valuable contributions no matter what your new role entails.

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