Your executive resume or CV is an integral part of your career management and executive job search strategy, and often helps a search consultant, executive recruiter or hiring manager form their first impression of you. We asked researchers at AESC member executive search firms to explain the process they go through when reviewing resumes/CVs, the questions they ask executives after reviewing these documents, and what creates a red flag when sourcing candidates.





Michael Ginsberg, Research Associate, Korn/Ferry, Philadelphia, USA commented that “a resume is a marketing piece from the candidate that is meant to portray their career in the best light possible.” In wanting to fully understand an executive’s career history and their ability to perform in future, and to determine if the candidate really has done what the resume/CV suggests, Michael explained how he begins his review of this document when beginning a search:



  • Establish whether the career path makes sense - can you make an educated guess as to why each move was made? Has the individual moved up with each job move? Are there major gaps between jobs?
  • Look for patterns - does the individual stay with companies for just a few years at a time or are they someone who has had longer tenures? Does the pattern change? For resumes that list tenure with employers by year, delve into the beginning and end dates. For example a job listed as being from 1999 - 2001 could cover almost 3 years (from January 1999 to December 2001) or little more than a year (from December 1999 to January 2001).
  • Pay close attention to the actual wording of duties and accomplishments for each position. Do these make sense, based on what you’ve already read on the resume and prepare to question the candidate about the true nature of their contributions.
  • Remember that titles can mean very little - what is important is the scope of responsibility and depth of accomplishments for each position. A VP at a 200-employee company may have had significantly less scope of responsibility than a Director at a larger firm.
  • Question “Independent Consultant” positions - ask “How many hours per week did you spend consulting?” and “Can I get a list of the assignments you were working on?


Understanding these points, make sure you position your career history and profile to address these key areas executive recruiters and search consultants use for evaluating resumes. A complimentary resume review is available to all BlueSteps Executive members. Not a member yet? Join now:

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