It happened…the call about the executive job of your dreams opening up just came through via your contact, and the HR Director wants to see your resume. You might be ready to take the next step in your career, but is your resume ready for an executive-level position? Submitting a bland, non-focused resume with boring content will do nothing but get you taken off of the “call for an interview” list.
Moving on from a middle management position to the c-suite is not for the faint of heart, and your resume needs to show that you have the experience, skills, ROI, and drive to do the job, and do it well. Writing your resume is not just including your career history and where you received your degree, it’s more about creating a document that tells the complete story of who you are, what you have achieved, how you achieved it, and the value you will provide at the next level…in a creative and exciting manner. Below are 5 quick tips that will help you to ensure that your updated resume effectively states “I’m ready for the c-suite and you need to hire me”…
Your format matters – People judge books by their covers! Start with an eye-catching format. While you don’t need to put so much color on your resume that it looks like the 4th of July blew up on your piece of paper, a pop of color will appeal to the reader and help your document to stand out right from the get-go. A font style that is clean and business-like is just as important. Fancy scripts may look pretty, but they are difficult to read and you don’t want people having to work hard to read your text (and believe me, if they have to work hard, they aren’t going to read much past your name).
An exciting executive summary is a must – create a strong career summary that communicates what you have done in your career and the value you can provide at the next level. Include position and industry-specific keywords (not buzzwords…there is a difference!) that match your target position.
Highlight your biggest achievements – include a “Career Highlights” section to give a brief synopsis of your biggest accomplishments if you want. Hint: quantifiable achievements speak the loudest and make a stronger impact than just a bullet list of text. Graphs and charts tell a quick story as well!
Your career history needs to make a big impact in a small amount of time – if you are at an executive-level, it’s pretty safe to say that you have had quite a few years of employment under your belt. Focus on your most recent work experience, and don’t go back more than 15 years into your career history (you can summarize the earlier stuff). A chronological format is the easiest, most clean-cut way to do this. The exception – if your career goals/new job are unrelated to your current job…then you will want to use more of a function format to show that you DO still have the skills and experience for the job you’re trying to land.
Your education information is not as important as your career history – so move it to the end of your resume. Like your career history, degrees received 15+ years ago are probably not going to be as important to the hiring manager as your most recent career experience. Include your degrees and any relevant certifications, but remove the years. The degree is what is important, not when you received it, and announcing “I’m really old…” on your resume is probably not going to win points with the hiring manager. Minimize ageism by eliminating years if they go beyond fifteen. Wow them with your accomplishments and skillset instead.
If you are being recommended for that coveted c-suite position, be sure you have a resume that can back-up up the recommendation. Don’t embarrass yourself (or the friend that recommended you) by submitting a bland resume that does nothing to market you as the ideal candidate for the job. Instead, take the time to update your resume and maximize your chances of being the candidate whose next phone call is “we’d like to offer you the position”!