For many executives, especially those who have been in their current position for several years, the answer to this question is often out of memory.

But, with the rise of new executive searches in many sectors, now is the time to make sure your executive resume/CV is up-to-date and effectively written.

When working with executive search consultants, if a suitable opportunity arises, your resume will be immediately requested, leading to missed opportunities for those who are underprepared.

Much like everything else, resumes/CVs are subject to changing trends. What was once considered important on a resume may no longer be held with the same regard. This means that when updating your resume, simply adding your most recent position an old existing resume is not enough.

If you’re looking to bring your resume up-to-date, see our checklist below for guidance:

1. Keep it concise: As a general rule, no executive resume should exceed two pages, regardless of how much experience you have. The average resume is read by potential employers and recruiters in less than ten seconds, and should offer just enough to grab attention. With hundreds of resumes to sift through, those which are not considered reader-friendly are put to the bottom of the pile.

2. Keep it simple: There are four main ways to keep your resume simple: the language, the layout, the font and the format. As previously mentioned, if your resume is going to be analysed in less than ten seconds, you need to make sure that your language is simple enough to speed-read, with a layout that is easy to follow. It is also advisable to stick to simple fonts for the same reason. While executive resumes created using high-tech design software can look attractive, it is safer to construct your resume using Microsoft Word so that it can be viewed on most computers. There is no point in creating a beautiful resume if no one can open it!

3. Keep it catchy: If you have any statistics that can endorse claims made about your professional performance, make sure that they are including in your resume. Facts and figures, when used correctly, can be a real draw for potential employers. You should also try to avoid stereotypical resume phrases that lack meaning. With only two pages to make an impression, space on your executive resume is valuable and should be reserved for information that adds value, not empty phrases. Lastly, even when you have had similar roles at different companies, avoid repeating job descriptions. Keep their interest by demonstrating different strengths throughout your resume.

4. Keep it relevant: Make sure that you highlight what is relevant to the particular job that you are applying for. Although altering your resume for each opportunity may take time, it will increase your chances of success. It is recommended that photos are removed from resumes too, as they can distract the reader from the content of the resume and could prompt a snap judgement that is not in favor of the candidate. If you are an executive over a certain age, remember, due to age discrimination laws, you are not required to disclose your date of birth. Finally, keep the title of the document relevant, but precise as this will be seen when saved by an executive recruiter or potential employer. Make sure it contains your name and the word “resume,’” so it is easy for them to find and forward.

5. Keep up your online presence: After receiving your resume/CV, executive search consultants and future employers will often search for further information about you online. As the first result of most searches for a specific executive’s name is their LinkedIn profile, it is vital that your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your resume and equally impressive.

BlueSteps members have access to BlueSteps Executive Career Services, which provides them with expert writers and experienced LinkedIn Strategists who are ready to partner with you for your career advancement.


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