5 Reasons Why Your Executive Resume is Scary Not Strategic

Today around world, many people will celebrate and engage in the festivities of that silly tradition called Halloween. I will be celebrating too, but for a different reason…you see, today is my birthday.

Yes, I am born on October 31, but here’s the twist, I HATE Halloween and everything that comes with it.

Yup, I am officially the Halloween scrooge…no candy at my house, there are absolutely no treats coming from me and I told my mother that she tricked me! LOL

So while I won’t be playing dress-up or going to any costume parties, I would like to share with you a few things about bad executive resumes that really scare me. Now these mistakes are really spooky…

1) Your resume summary and profile are too general

You are convinced that a one-size resume will work, so you cram your marketing, accounting and public relations experiences into one document , leaving employers very confused.

Your executive resume is a strategic, branded marketing document that must “sell” you effectively.

Make sure your resume convinces hiring managers that you are the right person for the job. Which one of these executive would you trust as your next CFO?

Candidate A: By training and professional experience, highly qualified in financial and strategic management of business in many industries.

Candidate B: Finance executive offering expertise in spearheading global initiatives that expand revenue-generating capabilities and maximize ROI for high-growth companies.

2) Your resume tells what you want, not what you offer

Having an executive resume say that you are seeking growth opportunities that fit your long-term career goals is really not saying anything.

Avoid self-centered objective statements that scream “I am only concerned about my needs”.

Try brand-focused, value statements that show employers what they get from hiring you. Which candidate seems like the right fit for a manufacturing executive position?

Candidate A: Seeking a challenging leadership position in manufacturing and product operations.

Candidate B: Pioneering manufacturing executive with reputation for devising manufacturing strategies that eliminate redundancies, increase production output, and deliver efficiency improvements.

3) Your resume under values your extensive leadership experience

A concern for age discrimination may influence how you develop your resume, but you should not randomly eliminate or “erase” earlier career experience. Executive recruiters and employers need to understand the depth, scope, and breadth of your experience.

You can flush out 10-15 years and capture earlier career in a short paragraph…be prepared to discuss further details in an interview. Here are two effective ways of handling early career experience.

[pullquote]Note: Executive recruiters prefer to see a lengthier executive resume that describes every position, so you may consider creating a recruiter-only resume.[/pullquote]

Choice A: EARLY COMPANY EXPERIENCE: Delivered significant contributions to company’s revenue growth and production output through Manager of Engineering & Maintenance and Project Engineer positions.

Choice B: EARLY CAREER: Held series of executive management and leadership roles including VP, Finance/Controller for several national restaurant chains.

4) Your resume has boring job tasks not compelling leadership challenges

You want employers to understand what you do, but don’t let your job tasks have more weight on your executive resume than value.

Go light on the facts/statistics (budget, # of reports, revenue goals, client base etc) Instead drill down to a 3-to-5 paragraph that is rich with vibrant action verbs and industry keywords.

Here’s how to maximize your valuable resume space with details on important projects, achievements, and other accolades.

Before: Manage daily activities for real estate portfolio for investment management company and supervise staff members.

After: Challenged to deliver 10% return on $700 million investment portfolio in unpredictable, evolving real estate industry. Oversee client relations, loan negotiations, and investment dispositions.

5) Your resume makes you qualified, but not distinctive

While you may move mountains in your day job and your boss loves you, how do you stand out from your peers who have a similar background and the same expertise?

Take your executive resume to the next level by extracting strong statements from your performance evaluations, client testimonials and 360 assessment  to spark interest and entice employers to call you.

Which of these candidates makes you want to pick up the phone?

Candidate A: Fifteen years experience supporting corporate IT operations and application development in complex 24×7 environments involving multi-site locations.

Candidate B: Primary architect and pioneer of groundbreaking, “first-of-its-kind” technology initiatives that reposition companies for long-term sustainability and continued financial success. “He is truly a strategic thinker who can ascertain the business challenge and deliver an innovative, technology-driven solution.”

Now don’t let my anti-Halloween rant spoil your fun…get dressed up, eat plenty candy, but DON’T make these executive resume mistakes!