Most people who are engaged in an executive job search understand the need for a solid resume to help them attract attention for right-fit opportunities. By solid, I mean one that stands out visually, communicates one’s unique value proposition, is rich in achievements, and is conducive to skimming.
But there is a lesser-known positive side-effect of having a stellar resume. Believe it or not, an exceptional executive resume can actually help you to interview better.
If your executive resume is outstanding, it means that you have thought very carefully about the business pain points your ideal employer is feeling, and that you already have the talking points crafted as to how you plan to alleviate them.
It means you have managed to condense your complex leadership profile and richly diverse skill set into a crisp, compelling, 3- to 4-line summary paragraph—and often even a single branding statement.
It means you went to great lengths to first understand and then carefully relay your greatest career milestones, as they relate to your goal. You have taken a trip back in time, revisiting each of your past roles and mined them for the most value-adding achievements that are in full alignment with the organizational challenges that you want to embrace in your next role.
In essence, you have gone through the critical journey of personal branding and reached the end with a clear idea of who you are, precisely what you have to offer, and the value you have delivered in the past—with the data or proof at your fingertips. This deep understanding on your part is not only reflected in black and white on your executive resume, but it is fresh in your mind as you face the interview panel.
In addition, an excellent executive resume is structured in such a way as to direct the reader’s attention (or in this case, the interviewer(s)) to your greatest success stories. When crafting your executive resume, ask yourself, “What do I want to be asked about during the interview?” and then ensure that you are using formatting strategies to pull the reader to precisely those details.
If you are feeling uneasy about interviewing, take a step back and start with your resume. Does it reflect the greatest challenges of your career, the most strategic, creative initiatives launched, and the most impressive and lasting results you delivered? As it is structured, will it naturally lead the interviewer to ask for further information about the stories that constitute your legacy and that will enable you to truly shine? Have you given enough thought to “Why you?” to properly pitch yourself to an interviewer—and have you eloquently communicated this already on your executive resume?
If the answer is yes, then you are probably more prepared than most to ace the interview. If the answer is no, it is very possible that your personal branding journey to discover what differentiates you from your peers—which is part and parcel to exceptional executive resume development—has not yet begun. By taking that journey, you will shine both on paper and in person.