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Read these BlueSteps Executive Search blog articles for the latest tips that will help improve your executive resume and your brand.

A friend of mine reached out recently, asking for advice on how best to write her resume. I then delved into my dossier, containing a compendium on do’s and don’ts handed out over the years, and figured out at one glance that my advice is a departure from the standard by-the-book norm – instead, it shares tips from the point of view of the reviewer, who has barely 60 seconds to flick through your “autobiography” and form an impression of you! 

If you’re like me, you can’t help feeling like the coming of the fall season is a new beginning. Those many years of school conditioned me to have that association. It’s a time for refocusing on our goals and to determine where we want to be before the year’s end.  Perhaps you’ve enjoyed some summer vacation time, which has allowed you to slow down and reflect on the bigger picture of your career.

For many executives, it is a time to examine their career trajectory and take necessary steps to keep the momentum going, such as refreshing an outdated resume and beginning to explore “what’s out there”.

Depending on how long it has been, you may need more than a mere resume update. Ask yourself:

 

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.

The reason?

Is your resume not achieving you the results you want in the executive job market? If you’re not getting traction from executive recruiters, you could be succumbing to one of these 20 common executive resume pitfalls. Take a fresh look at your resume and see if you can spot any of these recruiter faux-pas.

 

1. Offering Up Personal Details

As an executive career consultant of 25 years, I am often asked: “Is this a good resume?” However, it is impossible to answer this frequently asked question without understanding the individual’s career context. An executive resume can be considered “good” for a variety of reasons. What really matters is if it is an effective resume, which is much harder to achieve.

Whenever I do a resume consultation, I always start by asking, “What is your goal?” The answer to that question is what guides how the resume is written. Your resume needs to be aspirational as much as it is historical to achieve its purpose. 

Imagine the following scenario...

You come up with a breakthrough idea that will disrupt your market or sharpen your company’s competitive edge. You hire the most reputable researchers to meticulously analyze the potential market and its challengers. You recruit the best prototype engineers to labor over features and design. You partner with acclaimed product-testing labs to ensure that you get it right the first time. You invest heavily in high-price-tag Big-5 consultants to scrupulously plan every detail of the supply chain to optimize performance from Day 1. 

As any executive who has tried to write one will know, creating an effective executive resume requires reflective thinking, strategic planning, considerable time and effort, and a lot of proof-reading. For executive career advisors, recruiters and potential employers who view resumes on a daily basis, there are many common pitfalls that executive candidates succumb to which could be easily avoided if they had been provided with the correct advice. Based on questions submitted by BlueSteps webinar registrants, BlueSteps has compiled a list of executive resume FAQs to help you on your way to optimizing your own document.

 

 

I see lots of resumes every week – some are sent in by my hiring team, some come to me from absolute strangers via LinkedIn & some come via referrals from friends & acquaintances.

Often, I have experienced a difference between the persona reflected in the resume, and the person you meet in reality. Based on my real-life experience, here’s my take on what C-level cover letters & resumes should look like: 

It may come as a surprise that—as someone who earns a living writing resumes for executives—I do, on occasion, turn prospective clients away.

The reason? They aren’t ready for my services.

For a resume to be effective, it must unequivocally position a candidate for the function, industry, and challenge they are hoping to take on next. But I often speak to executive job seekers who don’t have a clear idea of where they are aiming. Trying to polish and prime your resume when you haven’t clarified your objective is akin to sharpening arrows and then hoping to shoot them blindfolded and still hit the target. 

As more senior-level executives are becoming active LinkedIn users, including a reported 80% of CEOs, recruiters are also tapping into LinkedIn’s potential when researching new executive candidates for their searches. But with such time-demanding jobs, what can executives do to optimize their LinkedIn profiles to increase their visibility to search consultants?

There are many simple alterations that can be made to your LinkedIn profile that can have a considerable impact on your searchability to recruiters and only take a matter of minutes to achieve. Here are our top 6 LinkedIn hacks for busy executives: