Job hunting at an executive level has its own peculiarities. Firstly, the whole process is likely to take you somewhere from 4 to 6 months – that’s a normal time frame for a C-suite job search. Secondly, since the number of positions on this level is limited, the competition is stronger than at any other level. And finally, due to an enormously high demand for $100K jobs, your personal brand reflected in your resume and other application document affects your job hunting success heavily.
Wondering how to overcome all these challenges in one stroke? Get a professional resume, adapted specifically for a C-level job search.
Why executive resume help?
As the salary goes up, so do the requirements from your candidacy and your resume accordingly. Without a very specific set of writing, marketing, keyword optimization and personal branding skills, it’s nearly impossible to create a resume that will WOW the hiring managers. Our staff resume writers have vast experience in promoting candidates for executive level jobs, creating resumes, covering letters and LinkedIn profiles that highlight their unique value proposition, leadership capabilities and personality. The first draft is ready within one to five days, and then you’ll have two weeks to get your resume polished the way you like, absolutely free of charge.
Need to create a professional resume? Write us anytime to discuss your career goals and get a resume crafted in line with them.
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The big don’ts of an executive resume
If you’ve ever tried composing a resume for $100K job, you know what a challenge it is. In particular, it’s highly important to avoid the resume mistakes that executive job-seekers often make – some of them might be very costly as they completely turn the hiring managers away. To create an eye-catchy resume that will pass an initial selection, correct these biggest don’ts of an executive resume:
- Making it too long or too short
For C-level resumes, length matters. One-page resume of a Marketing Director will not be taken seriously. Four-page document is unlikely to ever be read through – hiring managers are busy people. Writers of executive resume services state that the optimal length for senior management resume is two pages. Nevertheless, three pages can be acceptable as well – learn how to determine the appropriate length for your case here: https://resumeperk.com/blog/perfect-length-of-your-resume.
- Simply updating your old resume rather than creating a new one
If you still have an old resume which managed to land you a job last time, simply adding your most recent job and a few skills into it looks like a sound solution. Not for executive level, though. Top management resume writing requires a whole different approach than a professional or mid-level management one. For instance, skills like “MS Office proficiency” or “Team leadership” may be acceptable in a resume of a professional, but are absolutely nonsense for senior executive. If you need a good executive resume, you’ll have to start from scratch – and start with strategizing your writing, not with copying and pasting your old job responsibilities.
- Using pure chronological or functional format
Chronological format shows career progression, but doesn’t offer reader the “meat” of what distinguishes you for the job. Functional resume, in its turn, summarizes your competencies without showing your easy-to-track career growth. And here’s the problem: to find the right person to direct an organization, hiring managers are interested in both aspects of your career history. This can be achieved only through using a combination resume format, with a career profile at the top of the document and a detailed work history.
At the executive level, professional reputation becomes another key factor that can get you hired. So, be sure to choose the right way to quit your job to preserve your professional image.
- Not concentrating your selling points at the top of the resume
When screening resumes for the first time, the very first thing hiring managers filling the executive spots are looking for is impact. And since the initial screening is brief, a resume should capture the attention in seconds to be read completely. The best thing you can do is to concentrate your loudest accomplishments and strongest qualifications in the top 1/3 of your resume (in the summary, skills and accomplishments sections, depending on what you choose to include). If you strike them by showcasing revenue generated, costs saved, performance increased or downtime reduced and show your business acumen in the very first lines, your chances for that interview calls will be quite high.
Showing off your accomplishments and impact on the organization is helpful not only for your resume – keep this information at hand if you decide to ask for a raise to prove your point.
- Being detailed about your outdated experience
In the ever-evolving world of work, only the most recent experience and the skill set matter. However impressive your accomplishments were ten years ago, it’s time to get modest about them and focus on career events that took place not so long ago. Here are a few examples of way-too-old experience: listing your academic honors if you’ve graduated 15 years ago, mentioning your bartender job at the beginning of your career path, and indicating Windows 98 proficiency (it’s 2018!). If you were awarded for exceeding sales targets as a sales rep, it doesn’t mean much if now you’re applying for VP of Sales role – the scale of challenges at your current career level are a lot different. And do remove the professional experience you had over 10 or 15 years ago – keep your resume concise and up to the point.
Are you ready to go to the great lengths to achieve career success? Check out whether the aim justifies the means: https://resumeperk.com/blog/climbing-career-ladder-all-is-fair.
- Not quantifying your accomplishments
At the executive level, it’s especially important to use figures in order to substantiate claims about your skills and accomplishments. Without bragging figures and percentages here and there, you leave the reader wondering whether your contribution to the company’s growth was that significant as you state. And ultimately, this leads to trashing your resume and opting for someone who presented quantifiable results of their leadership.
When using figures, be specific about the actions you’ve taken to achieve this result and the impact it had on the organization in general. A resume should reflect your ability to think and act globally. Moreover, figures help to capture the hiring manager’s attention as they read. Check out our content writing tips for some inspiration – most of the tactics outlined there are applicable for resume writing as well.
- Using weak action verbs
Some say that the importance of ‘strong action verbs’ is overrated. However, nothing irritates a hiring manager more than the endless “Managed” and “Responsible for” used here and there on literally every resume they receive. These overused resume words lose their initial meaning and sound like buzzwords. Instead, use the less popular verbs that will highlight your contribution and scream executive, such as “Orchestrated”, “Reengineered”, “Accumulated”, etc. Take a look at the most powerful resume words and learn how to use them to strengthen your writing.
Another popular mistake is using the same action verb for several times throughout the document. “Designed” sounds good, but when it’s used for five times and more, it loses its impact on the reader. Vary your language to make a stronger impact on the reader.
- Exaggerating your accomplishments
The issues of exaggerating your contribution or accomplishments, even small ones, should become a big ‘no-no’ for you. All executive level candidates are subjected to background check; moreover, the hiring managers will speak to multiple referees and will be quite disappointed if the facts don’t match. If you want to get your foot to the door at all costs, keep in mind that it will be more costly for you to repair your professional reputation when the truth reveals.
If your resume doesn’t look sparkling comparing to other executive level candidates, use legitimate ways to improve it: add figures, change the structure, or hire a resume writer to liven up your writing.
- Spending too little time networking
It’s not a secret that the lion’s share of jobs is never advertised, and this is especially true for C-level positions. Such openings are typically filled through networking and by recommendations, and are only posted online if the company failed to find the right person within their professional circle.
Here’s the point: a flawless resume matters, but it’s the combination of a good resume and extensive networking that will open the best opportunities for you. If you are actively job-seeking, network everywhere: on LinkedIn, professional events, and reconnect with everyone you’ve worked with in the past. A wide professional network (provided that you’ve recommended yourself as an expert in your field) can generate lots of well-paying opportunities.
Get an expert help with your executive resume
Executive resumes have higher standards of quality than entry-level or professional ones. From formulating a value proposition and bragging your accomplishments to making your resume ATS-optimized, there are lots of rules to follow.
If you feel that your resume could benefit from a professional help, let us know. Our resume experts are well-versed at crafting C-level application documents for any industry. Just choose a resume package that works best for you, and our writers will work on your resume and accompanying documents until you’re satisfied.
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