As 2022 approaches and as business leaders decide to seek new executive posts, they should focus on crafting the perfect executive resume. Several trends remain strong and several are emerging. If you are getting ready to spruce up your resume, you may want to consider these executive resume writing trends for 2022 in your strategy.
3 Trends that Remain Strong for the Year Ahead
Good content creators know that stories sell, but the stories need to be realistic, relatable, and crucially believable. An executive resume is no different, with content tailored towards career highlights and facts that back up these claims.
The resume reader will be looking for proof that the individual has the right skills and abilities. This calls for specifics and metrics. As Angela Watts puts it: “Employers will always care about past behaviour because it is the best predictor of future behaviour.”
To fill an executive resume with results-rich content, the candidate should brainstorm using the “situation – action – result” approach. Detail the situation faced and the challenge involved before discussing the approach to solving the problem and the action(s) taken. Then champion the result, with figures to back it up.
For example, a leader may share that company profits were declining. To help, they initiated a deep dive into expenses and implemented efficiency improvement strategies. These efforts generated $10 million in cost savings over 3 years. EBITDA then increased 25%.
Emphasis on Soft Skills
There is no doubt that resume readers are looking for capability and hard achievement, but they are looking for soft skill evidence as well. After all, an executive is people-facing. Well-developed soft skills augment courses, certifications, or experience.
Some people believe that soft skills are only necessary for those who are seeking customer-facing positions. Yet virtually every position at the executive level involves contact with other people and often an ability to motivate and inspire. Executive presence and effective engagement are hard to teach, and consequently, you should include evidence of soft skill capability.
In any leadership race, soft skills need to come to the forefront. These skills can include problem-solving, good communication, and a natural ability to organize and motivate a team.
Sarah Johnston may have said it best: “Jobseekers who use their resume real estate to share examples of employee engagement, DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) and culture improvement initiatives, and retention results will stand out in the stack as being well rounded.”
We’ve already talked about how important it is to include results-rich content in an executive resume. It’s essential to also use a storytelling approach to effectively merge all facts together and paint a clearer picture.
Begin with a compelling headline (and this can also be your elevator pitch for everyday life). It sets the tone and inspires readers to continue reading.
Include a succinct leadership summary before setting out related accomplishments and big business wins. This sets the stage and introduces the story of how you have dealt with and overcome challenges and how you used your hard and soft skill sets to provide value.
Finally, share more about what you stepped into within each role and where you took things, instead of just overviewing basic job tasks.
Always make sure that the details within your story are relevant and relatable. Focus on your accomplishments and be specific, with metrics, measurements, or numbers to back everything up.
Remember, your resume is more than simply words on paper but a story of your career progression. “Combine the storytelling aspect with the results-rich content,” as Jessica Hernandez puts it, “and you have a winning resume.”
3 Trends that Are Emerging as More Important
If results-rich content emphasizing soft skills and storytelling are key fodder for the modern-day resume, testimonials represent the icing on the cake. Testimonials can add credibility and help convince the reader, but only if they are the right fit.
Therefore, testimonials should always be related to relevant work experience and not generalist. These snippets of selected feedback should be clear, to the point, and supportive. If you have claimed your expertise or accomplishments, aim for a testimonial that backs you up. Remember, the more weight that the person delivering it has, the better.
Quality testimonials provide some much-needed social proof and answer any lingering questions your resume reader may have.
In the absence of any independent testimonials, include a link to a personal website with accolades or supporting media. Or, link to your LinkedIn profile if you have collected personal recommendations there.
As the content of your executive resume is so important, it makes sense to spend some time on the presentation. You don’t need to go overboard, but you may gain a creative advantage if your documentation truly stands out from the rest. Plus, top professionals need professional-looking files. If your resume is still in the same format from 15+ years ago, it likely looks junior and outdated.
Your executive resume needs to read very well with solid content that hits all the correct targets. It also needs an appropriate design and format to please the eye. Once again, Angela Watts weighs in to share that “requests for colour and graphics continue to increase year over year and are being accepted by more fields and industries. The current labour pool is comprised of innovative, boundary-pushing professionals who are willing to be creative for a competitive advantage.”
Some people may choose to convert a simple Word file into a PDF and be done with it. Others may decide to use professional design software or to outsource the task to a graphic designer. Others may partner with a professional resume writer who understands how to marry great content into a great design. Here are some professional resume samples to check out.
With careful use of colour and design components, your executive resume may find its way to the top of a pile due to its highly polished nature.
The pandemic has impacted almost every part of modern-day life. You may need to consider it when crafting an executive resume. Matthew Tooker notes that he’s “not sure its a trend yet, but the need to supply vaccination status will be a major point of discussion”. Adding your vaccination status to your resume may end up being a purely personal choice, and one to be weighed carefully, but you may want to consider the stance of any company that you engage.
Some organizations may require all employees, including executives, to have received the vaccination. On the other hand, they may not require vaccination but may be publicly supportive of the concept. Or, a role may involve travel where vaccination is important. It could be a good idea to disclose your vaccination status as a potential benefit in these cases.
Although not new, an executive resume writing trend that remains important for 2022: detailing pandemic career wins in your executive resume. Demonstrate how you as a leader faced new business challenges, strengthened or expanded your leadership skills, and/or demonstrated a heightened level of resourcefulness and resiliency. Virginia Franco puts it best: “Whether the company did really well or really struggled — 2020 and 2021 were a boondoggle — and decision-makers want to know about the role you played!”.
A final thought from Hannah Mason about changes stemming from the pandemic. She shares that: “many leaders will need to show how they influence teams that are working remotely as I’ve no doubt this trend will continue well into 2022″.
The Great Resignation and the Modern Job Market
The pandemic has had other impacts, prompting a mass-market movement known as the “great resignation.” More people than ever are looking for a career reboot or job change. Jobs at the top are currently hard to fill due to high demand.
Yet the market is always shifting. A recent article in CBC warns that as roles fill during the current hiring frenzy, the balance of power will shift back to employers. When it does, it may be harder to get noticed without a professional executive resume.
Make sure your resume is ready well before you need it. Be ready so you don’t have to get ready – and use these executive resume writing trends to give yourself every advantage.
For more conversation on current and emerging executive resume writing trends for 2022 – and additional comments from contributors on this topic – check out this LinkedIn thread.