Resume Checklist for Executives

Executives, it should come as no surprise that your job competitors will be strategic, sharp, and savvy top professionals.  Many of them will pursue a job search with precision and be highly qualified for the role.  Are you prepared to sell yourself, with confidence, in your resume?

To be considered for a top position, your resume must promote you with purpose!

Executive-level resumes are unique. They need to convey deep strategic value with supporting metrics and rich results.  Too little information in an executive resume will cause the document to pale in comparison next to strong leaders, and too much information will suffocate your value.

To position yourself as a strong and qualified leader, showcasing how you can helm an organization and drive a business forward, here is a checklist of 5 tasks to help you compile a resume that shines:

1. Brand Yourself to Stand Out

You likely already know the value of branding a business, so treat yourself the same.

You are the commodity; what is going to motivate others to buy-in to what you are selling?

What strongly positions you as a leader?

You need to know your specific value and share it with confidence throughout the document.  Tell your story.

Start the resume with a branded statement that sets the stage for the upcoming content and immediately engages the reader.  Need some value proposition ideas or headlines for top executives?  Check out this post on top executive resume strategies with branded headline examples.

2. Think Quality over Quantity

A long and solid work history is expected for positions at the top; but the reader doesn’t care about all of the details.

Roles held over 20 years ago, or earlier positions where direct leadership was not as prevalent, should be kept off the resume or minimized (ie: your early management days are not as exciting as your recent VP, EVP, or CSuite positions).

Keep content refined.  Everyday tasks are a snore and will do NOTHING to set you apart from competitors, so be strategic with your resume offerings.

What impacts can you showcase that will capture and keep the eye of the reader?  A few solid and major impacts will speak volumes over everyday responsibilities and keep content from rambling on and on and on…..

3. Watch the Length!

If your content is strategically aligned with the position needs and only your best supporting details are shared, the resume length will be kept in check.  Well-written executive resumes need not be longer than 3 pages.  Yes, just 3.

A resume is not a career chronology, it is a marketing tool.  Succinct and tight content is easier to absorb and packs more punch.

Unsure how to write a resume that is just 3 pages long but still delivers with purpose?  Check these award-winning samples here.

4. Maximize Metrics and Wow with Results

High-impact career stories need proof of skill. Skill is best demonstrated with rich results.  Laden your executive resume with solid metrics to support your abilities and position you as a top expert.

You’ve likely heard the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’ – this applies in your resume, only the actions are the impacts!

Start bullet points with the achievement and succinctly weave in the story about how end results came to be under your leadership and direction.  Those are wow factors.

At the executive level you need lots of wow to promote you as an above-average candidate.  Examples of good front-loaded impact statements include:

  • Slashed $13M in costs over 2 years with efficiency improvements.
  • Spearheaded development processes for 235 projects, from concept to close out, valued over $2.4B.
  • Helmed $13M acquisition negotiation that produced 8 times the return on investment within 3 years.

Continue the above bullets with the skills you applied in the situation and infuse stories to keep people engaged.

5. Finally, Keep Presentation on Point

You are not ordinary; your resume shouldn’t be either.  Basic, bland, black and white text resumes written with Times New Roman font are old-school.

Prove that you are keeping with the times; showcase your career in a resume that includes distinct presentations, layouts, and formats.

Infuse your resume with appropriate keywords and employ color, charts, testimonials, or graphs to better demonstrate skill.   Again, a sampling of top tier resumes can be seen on Career Impressions website.

Keep in mind that at the executive level you should have several versions of your resume ready to go: a human-eye-friendly resume for applying in person, via email, or for presentation interviews or networking opportunities and a stripped down version for ATS applications.   If you don’t know what ATS is you need to educate yourself: find out more on ATS here.

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