Your dream job jumped out of nowhere, and you need an updated executive resume in a pinch? If it’s been some time since you’ve dusted off your file and need it NOW, here are 3 quick ways to update your executive resume and get it noticed.
Find Your Focus
Winning executive resumes have a clear focus. What is it that you do best? How do you want potential employers to see you and your career story?
Having a clear job target ensures you can position yourself as the perfect fit. It’s much easier to sell yourself to employers when you develop a personal brand that showcases specific career highlights and accomplishments.
Pinpoint what you can do for an employer – what’s the one big problem you can solve? How do your skillsets, qualifications, and experience help an organization excel? Once you know your value proposition, be sure every point on your resume supports it.
Know what they need.
To truly position yourself as the one for this role, you need to know precisely what this company needs. Spending a little time upfront to research the company gives you an area of focus, so you can highlight the specifics they are looking for. Even skimming company literature and job postings is a great place to start. Pay particular attention to the keywords and phrases you see repeatedly (and mirror their language back at them!)
Showcase your achievements.
Boring job descriptions blend in with the crowd – but hard-hitting business facts and results jump off the page and demand attention! Employers want to see what you have achieved as a top leader. The best executive resumes include proof to back up the claims.
Use action words and phrases with numbers, percentages, or comparisons to describe your positions.
Make ruthless cuts.
You only have a couple of pages to make a significant impact—every word matters. Recruiters and employers will spend approximately 6-7 seconds on the first pass of a file. Be sure the essential points don’t get lost in a sea of unnecessary words.
Edit your file and delete unnecessary content, outdated phrases, and overused words.
While your resume is about you, it should focus on what you can do for a company, not what YOU like to see on the file. Keep all points relevant to the value you offer.
Typically, executive resumes only detail work history from the last 10-15 years and run 2-3 pages in length. Ensure every role has a brief overview (what you stepped into and where you took things) and bullet your accomplishment statements.
Delete any overused words that will show up on every other file (detail-oriented, team player, outstanding communication skills). Rather than SAYING these things, give examples that SHOW how you put these skills to work to achieve results.
Be sure to leave off outdated phrases such as “references available on request” (they know and will ask if they want them). And cut any unnecessary words – can you say it in 1 word instead of 3? Do it!
Clean up the format.
Readability is your number one goal. Most recruiters and hiring managers prefer a clean, easy-to-read format. Simple is better, with clearly defined sections, standard fonts, and lots of white space.
- Use a format that adds interest while highlighting the specifics you want to jump OUT.
- Use keywords to your advantage – there may be certain words or phrases you include on your file to get better noticed as a match, but your #1 priority is to optimize for the human eye. Make sure your reader’s eye is drawn to key points.
- Add interest to your file with colour, bold text, or italics (used sparingly and strategically).
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs or text-heavy bullet points. Make sure details are easy to skim and scan.
- Use titled sections to organize and make it easy for your reader to find the info they seek.
- Use numerals instead of writing out numbers and the % or $ signs instead of the words.
- Keep the style consistent throughout.
- Lead with results (meaning, start the statement with the result) versus burying results far within the text. Remember that readers scan left to right, so placing results near the left side of the page will make it easier to pick them out.
While I always recommend being prepared with an updated file on hand. When time is of the essence, these 3 quick ways to update your executive resume can help get your file into interviewers’ hands!
For more tips on crafting an outstanding executive resume, check out 7 Must-Haves for an Impactful Executive Resume.