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Executive Resumes, CVs & Career Documents

Read these BlueSteps Executive Search blog articles for the latest tips that will help improve your executive resume and your brand. For additional tips, register for the webinar: How to Optimize Your Executive Resume.

With the holidays well underway, the season of excess is upon us. There are too many parties to go to and too many delicious things to tempt us. But as we all know, when it’s your third holiday gathering in one week and you are facing yet another table full of rich delights, you may begin to appreciate those heavy dishes less and long for a lighter meal.

Looking to give your executive resume, LinkedIn and career documents a boost? Here are a few quick tips to help.
 

As a BlueSteps executive resume writer, I spend a lot of time evaluating resumes and CVs and sharing insights regarding the ways in which my clients can improve their career literature—and to be honest, I see a lot of good resumes.

Most executives I work with have impressive achievements and strong selling points, such as MBAs from prestigious universities, fluency in multiple languages, and experience in leading some of the biggest names in global business. Sometimes this information alone will garner enough interest for them to be invited to an interview.

When trying to write your executive resume, you may find yourself lost in a forest of information. Most executives have decades of experience, sometimes spanning many fields and industries. How can you pour all that background into just a few 8 x 11 inch pages? Where do you even start?

To tackle this challenge, it helps to frame your experience and goals as a Venn diagram (see image below). Picture the left circle as every detail of your work experience, going all the way back to that pizza delivery job in high school. Then picture the right circle as every detail of your career goal. This includes your target job title, duties, industry, and company size.

In my days as a hiring agent, I saw my fair share of applicants who were befuddled by the cover letter vs. E-note conundrum. As I opened their emails, I could almost see them—brows furrowed, hesitating to click “send”—puzzled by what on earth to write in the email, since they were also attaching a cover letter.

If you’ve ever tried to loosen a flathead screw with a Phillips screwdriver, you know how frustrating and difficult it can be to get the result you’re after. The Phillips is simply not made for the job you want it to do. The same goes for trying to empty a swimming pool by scooping out a bucketful of water at a time. Using the wrong tool for the job can fall anywhere between impossible and unnecessarily hard.
 

It may go without saying that having an internationally focused, branded bio, resume or CV and other career marketing materials is a must if you want to be seriously considered for jobs overseas or an international assignment.

But in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace, even if you are not looking to work abroad, having a more international profile can help you stand out and strengthen your application for many types of positions.

As an executive, you know the importance of distinguishing between activities that are strategically focused and those that are tactical in nature. Often, you develop and direct strategic plans while delegating the related tactical actions to your management team and those who report to them. Not surprisingly, a similar distinction applies to your executive resume.
 
What do I mean by that? To start with, your resume can be considered a strategic document overall, in the sense that it takes a long-range look at your career and is kept current in terms of job-market trends, your expanding business expertise, and other factors that have long-term implications.
 

Executive bios take branding to another level, linking an executive’s softer skills to their value proposition in a way that isn’t possible to emphasize in a resume. BlueSteps allows you to include your executive bio in your career profile, so it’s important to have a professionally written bio that will represent you in the best light. To clarify any confusion around executive bios, let’s look at a few points:

Purpose:

  • To reflect who you are and what you have accomplished in your career 
  • To reinforce your brand
  • To tell your career story with more personality

It complements your resume:

It’s fairly easy to craft a professional brand for career advancement when you’ve been building on the same career track the whole time. Your brand is essentially a summary of what you’ve been doing all this while and how you’re ready to take it to a whole new level. But what do you do if you’re looking for a career change?
 
The good news is that the biggest obstacle career changers face is more often one of perception rather than ability—in other words, it’s not so much a matter of having the requisite skills to take on a new role but convincing others that you can make the switch. (Of course, this assumes you do, in fact, have the technical skillset and necessary qualifications.)