The higher you climb in your career, the more competitive it becomes. So, in a crowded executive job market, how will your resume set you apart, showcase your value and get you through to the next stage of candidacy?

While some executive trends remain consistent over the years, there are some emerging executive resume trends top candidates need to be aware of before submitting their career documents.

1. Customize Your Resume for Each New Opportunity

While this might appear to be a time-consuming endeavour, the more focused and relevant your resume appears, the greater your chances are of success. It can be tempting to, once you feel you have perfected your resume, fire it off to recruiters and new opportunities as they appear. But that may not be the ideal approach if you’re looking for the best possible results from your executive job search. Taking time to ensure that your resume reflects the desired candidate qualifications will demonstrate to the potential employer that you’re qualified for the job. It’s an important step that will go a long way in showcasing how you can add value to your potential new employer. Even if you’re planning on applying to the same type of opportunity in different companies until you find your dream role, customizing your resume is important. Candidates forget that no matter how similar the roles are, the criteria and desired skill set vary from company to company. A resume that highlights how well it matches a specific job requirement stands out among the rest. In addition, tailoring your resume to each job also gives you the opportunity to indicate you’re a good cultural fit - a move that will definitely pay off.

2. The 10-Second Rule

With the ease of online job applications increasing the number of candidates for each new role, recruiters and potential employers are limited to the amount of time they are able to spend reviewing each resume. So, while your resume may have taken days, weeks or even months to perfect, it's likely that at the initial stage, a recruiter will spend around 6-10 seconds on your resume. Rather than feeling disheartened, candidates should be encouraged to ensure that they make those 10 seconds count by increasing the clarity of their documents, highlighting important information and making them more impactful. Using clear language, easy-to-view layouts and distinct headings can all add to the clarity of your document and help your reader take in more information in that allotted time, while leaving enough intrigue to make them want to invite you for that interview. Other techniques that could be used include graphs, bullet points, and company summaries with clear dates.

3. Showcase Success Data

It's not enough to tell someone that you are great at something; you need to prove it, especially when it comes to executive resumes. When conveying your professional accomplishments, be sure to use metrics to highlight and give context to your success. Showcasing your achievements in this way can give weight to your resume and help you stand out above your competition. Additionally, quantifying your achievements with data, where possible, makes your resume appear more professional. It also indicates that you’ve taken the effort to work on your resume. Lastly nothing can highlight your achievements better than metrics - they catch immediate attention.

4. Be Concise

With the wealth of experience you have amassed during your career, it can be difficult to condense your career history to one or two pages. Recruiters and potential employers are often turned off by long resumes. So less is often more. In addition to providing a concise description of your accomplishments and career highlights, you demonstrate your ability to communicate vital information in a meaningful way.

In addition, remove fluff from your resume, such as experiences over 10 years ago that is no longer relevant to your career story and make sure each section of your executive resume is carefully crafted and succinct.

5. Optimize Your Resume with Keywords

You need to understand the keywords within the position you are applying for and ensure that they are featured throughout your executive resume. Understand and utilize the terminology within the job description and make sure your resume syncs up.

6. Be Consistent and Create Continuity Between Your Career Tools:

If you are considered as a candidate, it is highly likely that any hiring organization or recruiter will not only review your resume, but also your LinkedIn profile as part of candidate research. If your resume and LinkedIn profile have inconsistency regarding experience, dates of employment, employers, titles or skills, it could place your application in jeopardy. Furthermore, a LinkedIn profile is a great way to elaborate on key areas from your resume, without the constraints of 1-2 pages. Make the most of this additional platform and ensure you utilize it to its full potential. Other candidates will!

7. Ask for Feedback:

Once you have finished writing your resume, share it with a few trusted friends, family members or advisors to gather their feedback on potential edits, typos and other suggestions. It’s not uncommon to unearth errors and identify possible areas for improvement at this stage. Besides detecting typos and syntactical errors, having another pair of eyes to pore over your resume can also be beneficial in terms of getting valuable pointers that didn’t occur to you. Having a fresh perspective will help you improve the quality of your resume and increase the clarity of the overall document.

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