Okay…confession time. I love October 31, but hate Halloween. Why? Today’s my birthday, so that’s a reason to celebrate, but I really don’t like or get caught up in the Halloween festivities…not at all. I cringe when people say Halloween baby and I don’t keep candy at my house for trick or treaters…I know, I am the bah hum bug for Halloweens past and present. Don’t write me off as a party pooper and take away my cool points…please:)
So anyway, that’s my gripe, but that does stop me from sharing my wealth of knowledge even on Halloween…like the blog title suggests, consider this my “career candy” to you. So in the spirit of the “dreaded” Halloween day, I have decided to offer you a few resume improvements tips – let’s just call it my treat to you:
1. Stop Playing The Guessing Game With Employers
Your executive resume is a strategic marketing document and the product you are selling is YOU. At first glance – especially in the resume profile section – the reader should know who you are and the value you bring to the table.
If you are unsure of your job target or immediate career goals, a generic resume is not going to help you. A focused, targeted executive 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: Performance-driven finance executive with deep expertise in spearheading initiatives that strengthen internal infrastructure, expand revenue-generating capabilities, and maximize ROI for startup and high-growth companies.
2. Stop Making It All About You
You need to hook employers in with buying motivators. Instead of starting of your executive resume with a self-centered, me-oriented objective statement that screams “I am only focused on my needs”, use brand-focused statements of value that show employers how they gain from bringing you on board. 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 proven success in devising operating strategies that eliminate redundancies, increase production output, and deliver productivity, quality, and efficiency improvements.
3. Stop Choking Readers With Lengthy Resume Content
Even if you have more 20 years of experience, you can still create an effective, two-page executive resume that highlights your key qualifications without weighing down the document with too much detail or inadvertently “aging” you. Here are two effective ways of handling early career experience without having to flush out every job you had since high school.
Choice A: EARLY COMPANY EXPERIENCE: Delivered significant contributions to company’s revenue growth and production output through earlier roles as Manager of Maintenance and Project Engineer.
Choice B: EARLY CAREER: Held series of executive management and leadership roles including VP, Finance/Controller for several national restaurant chains.
4. Stop Talking About What You Are Paid To Do
Don’t be so married to your job tasks that your executive resume is weak on branding and value proposition. Good facts, statistics and metrics that work well on your resume are budget size, # of direct/indirect reports, # of divisions or branches you manage, sales/revenue objectives, # of clients, local, national or regional offices, and the title of your immediate boss.
Maximize your valuable resume space for 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 all daily activities including ROI maximizations, client relations, loan negotiations, and investment dispositions.
5. Stop Hiding Your Unique Differentiation
Extract strong statements from your performance evaluations or management feedback reports to make an immediate connection, generate real interest, and entice employers to call you in for a personal interview. Who would you be interested in meeting?
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.”
6. Stop Leaving The “Beef” Off Your Executive Resume
You can say you’re great, but unless you demonstrate your “greatness” through verifiable, high-impact achievement statements, employers and recruiters will have a hard time believing you. Keep in mind that the context/circumstances surrounding the achievement is critical to share – in other words, if you grew revenues 25% in one year, that sounds fantastic, but if you joined a rapidly growing company, then your actual contribution could be seen as minimal. Which of the following candidates sound like a powerhouse to you?
Candidate A: Saved the company thousands of dollars during first year on the job.
Candidate B: Achieved zero lost time and 100% staff productivity during 12 consecutive months for first time in company’s operating history—saving company $500,000.