How to Build an Executive Resume

Crafting a resume that will land you an executive-level interview will force you to revise and revamp the whole document. While an updated Linkedin profile has become almost like a prerequisite, it is still worthwhile to keep your resume fresh and effective. 

Why will these changes boost your resume?  

These resume edits were chosen because they can make the most impact when implemented. While the content shows your expertise, the format of the resume best showcase and organize the points that are most essential for the position. The small changes make your resume easier to read and it’s more likely the recruiter will look at yours for longer. Let’s find out, 

What Recruiters Want to See In Your Resume: 

1. An executive summary 

For any executive resume, it is essential to provide a statement that gives an overall image of how you will provide value to the organization. The top of your resume is also prime real estate space to put your best overarching qualities that align with the job you are applying for. An example of this is if you know the company you’re applying to needs new leadership, you will position yourself as an experienced leader with proven results (Of course, you also need to show you got results in your interview). Given the summary is the first content the recruiter will see, it sets the tone for the rest of your resume. 

2. Credentials and core skills at the top of your resume 

In addition to having the summary at the top, it would be effective to also put a list of your top skills and other important credentials. Moving significant skills to the top is an easy fix that helps isolate your strengths in one area. As mentioned in the first tip, the top of your resume is a hot spot for recruiters’ eyes and there’s no better place to put your best attributes. If you’re struggling to choose which skills to put at the top, look at the job description you’re applying for. If you have any of the skills mentioned, make sure to include them in your list. Your credentials and core skills should complement your executive summary which is just above this list. 

3. A two-page resume length 

You’re not alone if you find this tip surprising. It’s a common misconception that resumes should be only one page. A one-page resume for a senior director or executive can seem like a nearly impossible task. Although you should allow yourself two pages, don’t go overboard. Use these two pages to showcase your experiences, such as work history, accomplishments, and educations. Move any early experience like entry-level jobs to the second page as it is less relevant. Try to go line by line and include only the most applicable information. Recruiters probably don’t care about the side job you did during your college summers. Even with two pages, you will still have to do some elimination which you can accomplish by looking at the next tip.  

4. Focus on your most recent work experience and only include the last 15 years of work experience 

Spend the most time on your most recent positions. It would be most effective to include details about the company itself and how you specifically made an impact there. Most of the time, you want to highlight your most recent experience the most, unless it is completely unrelated to the job you’re applying for. 

5. Less is more 

Many people make the mistake of including day-to-day duties that dilute the rest of the experience. Since you are limited to how much you can include, every word matters. Try to use the first bullet point to describe the intention of the role and strategic objectives. Then use the following bullets to define the scope of the position, such as department, team size, budget accountability, partners, and relationships. By mindfully setting each bullet point, it delivers a directive description that highlights your skills, ability to meet key performance indicators, and what you learned from the position. 

6. Move your education to the end of the document 

One of your best-selling points is your degree, when you are a recent college graduate that is. A few years down the road, your current experience becomes more valued. Once you are ready to become an executive, your recent experience showcases your knowledge and expertise way more than your degree can, except for any advanced, late-career degrees. With that, education is better suited at the end of your resume, on the second page.  

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