In the new world of executive job search, your “Paper” or Word document executive resume will probably not be your first introduction to recruiters and hiring decision makers. Whatever they find out about you online may be the deciding factor – often before you know they’re assessing you.
Today’s C-level / Leadership / Senior-level resume takes the form of a LinkedIn profile, VisualCV, or online portfolio. Savvy executives know they have to have a strong online identity, leading hiring professionals to accurate, on-brand information about them.
Before dusting off your old resume (if you have one), merely updating it with your latest contributions and career history, and expecting that, when you put it out there they will come, you need to get a handle on today’s resume 2.0 and what part it plays in the new world of executive job search.
If you don’t have a strong online footprint providing them with plenty of on-brand information supporting your value proposition, you’re likely facing a prolonged job search.
All things being equal – skill sets, qualifications, relevant experience, education, etc. – job seekers with stronger web presence are the ones who are noticed and chosen over those who have little or no presence online.
A generic resume that tries to cover too many bases will probably fall flat. If you don’t write to a specific target audience, your resume won’t speak to the recruiters and hiring decision makers reading it or help them connect you to the job they’re trying to fill. They don’t have the time or inclination to sift through irrelevant information to see if you warrant interviewing.
2. Personal Branding and Value Proposition
Branding is not optional anymore. Especially in a bad job market, personal branding is more critical than ever. In a nutshell, branding links your passions, key personal attributes, and strengths with your value proposition, in a crystal clear message that differentiates you from your competition and resonates with your target audience. What differentiates your unique promise of value from your job seeking competitors is what will sell you.
3. Forget the Objective Statement
Employers don’t care that you want a “growth position that will utilize my expertise in XYZ”. They want to know what you’ll do for them. Objective statements waste valuable space and prime real estate, and don’t capture attention.
4. Show Financial and Business Impact, Fast
While qualitative results are nice—and can certainly help the reviewer get a feel for what kind of person you are—decision makers working to fill executive spots are looking for impact. You are not likely to land an executive role for simply being a good guy. You’re going to be hired to make money, drive growth, reduce costs, streamline operations, optimize staff performance, and, well, deliver.
The best way to make it instantly clear that you know how to do this? Show the results. Show the numbers. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by creating a sub-section within each job you’ve held called “Key Accomplishments” or “Key Highlights.” Bold the most impressive quantitative stuff, so that it’s beyond easy for people to find this information quickly.
There’s a fine line between including the SEO-friendly keywords you expect the recruiter to look for, and using hackneyed terms that are so overused, they’ve lost all meaning.
Resumes are notorious for being laden with clichés, and management professionals who operate at a high-level are often the worst offenders for relying upon stale, high-level terms like “driving success.”
When every word matters, you need to replace non-specific clichés with specific details, facts and figures, and examples. The best rule I’ve come up with is to apply this classic piece of writing advice: show, rather than tell.
In practice, this means expanding on phrases such as “worked to achieve positive commercial outcomes” by explaining what working and positive outcomes really meant in that context, as in this example:
“You increased sales by X, you cut costs by Y, you improved efficiency by how much. You want to make crystal-clear what you’ve done” — and, by extension, what tangible results you could produce for a prospective employer.
With the spring and summer hiring frenzy in full swing, these tips will help craft your resume into a powerful document that's sure to catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers and land you that next key role in your career.