A great interview-generating executive resume is all about differentiating yourself from others competing for the same jobs. With constantly changing trends in strategic resume writing, new ways to accomplish this differentiation are always emerging. If you take advantage of the latest trends before they become mainstream, you are much more likely to stand out, make a positive connection, and stimulate the attention you deserve.
1. Include a leadership/personal brand statement.
Begin to build a vibrant message highlighting your vitality, pivotal leadership strengths, and unique value proposition by answering questions like these:
- What jazzes you about your work each and every day? What are you most passionate about getting to and accomplishing at work?
- What talents and characteristics do you possess that represent the best in your field?
- How did you achieve the career successes that most benefitted your companies? What specific actions did you take?
- What critical contributions did you make to past companies that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there?
You will further support your brand statement if you weave key brand attributes throughout your resume.
2. Format your executive resume for the reader.
More and more hiring decision-makers at the executive level are reviewing resumes on Blackberry-type devices when they are on the go. Brief, concise, brand-focused statements of value surrounded by enough white space to make them stand out will have the greatest impact. Long, dense paragraphs make it hard for the reader to quickly access and digest important make-or-break information about you.
3. Keep your executive resume to two pages.
To accommodate the need for brevity, pare down and consolidate all your great achievements and qualifications into a quickly readable communication. Provide deeper slices of success “stories” in collateral one-to-two-page documents — Leadership Initiatives Brief, Achievement Summary, Career Biography, Reference Dossier, etc. These companion documents can be crafted to stand alone for networking purposes.
[Editor’s note: For a variety of opinions on lengths of executive resumes, please see our articles The Scoop on Resume Length and Top 30 Executive Resume Pet Peeves of Hiring Decision-makers — Part 1.]
4. Use the top of your resume’s first page to your best advantage.
Since the top of your resume is the first, and possibly the only section that will be read, place your most important information here. It’s okay to move up to the forefront information normally found further down within the “Professional Experience” section — especially if it represents the best you have to offer. If you immediately capture your readers’ attention with vivid illustrations of your promise of value, employers will be more likely to read the entire document.
5. Highlight your key areas of expertise once.
Instead of taking up precious space repeating obvious lists of responsibilities for each position you’ve held, consolidate them in the top part of the first page. For best impact, position them in nicely formatted columns or a shaded graphic box.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
With nearly two decades of professional experience, Meg Guiseppi specializes in crafting top interview-generating, brand-focused resumes and other career-marketing communications for executive leaders worldwide. She relies on razor-sharp writing and her innovative personal-branding system to differentiate her clients and position them above others competing for the same jobs. Meg is the Personal Branding Pro at job-hunt.org. She has earned the Master Resume Writer credential, the career industry’s highest designation, as well as the Certified Professional Resume Writer designation. She is an active member of several career-management organizations, including the Reach Branding Club. She has written countless articles for career blogs, online publications, and premier executive networking/job board sites. Meg stays at the forefront of the latest trends in strategic resume writing and job search 2.0. Do you want to propel your job search forward? Contact Meg at her blog Executive Resume Branding Blog or website Executive Resume Branding and Career Services.
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