February 28

What Should An Executive Resume Look Like?

Resume Writing & Personal Branding


nisha moores

Article 3 in our Common Questions About Resume Writing Series of articles

Nisha Moores B.A. RYT
Client Happiness Manager
Careers by Design
8 MIN Read

In this article, we'll cover key elements to ensure your executive resume is effective and compels the reader to take note and place it in the approved list.

Moving into an executive-level position comes with its own challenges. The hiring manager will be looking for exceptional candidates and the competition is tight. People targeting executive level positions may be coming from varied backgrounds with different levels of experience and numerous qualifications. Some of these individuals may have not had an interview in a long time or may not even have an updated resume. Your resume and cover letter are your first impression to the hiring manager. These documents need to stand out to distinguish you from other candidates. Working with a professional resume and branding specialist can help you get the edge on the competition and highlight your accomplishments in the best way possible.

1. Choose Highlights That Align With Your Target Role

It’s important to be clear on what the executive position you are targeting is requiring and to align your resume with that. Your resume is first and foremost a marketing tool to present your professional brand. You can use this tool effectively to reach your target audience - the hiring manager - by tailoring it to match the target role responsibilities and requirements. Don’t worry about including everything you’ve ever done on your resume. By the time you reach an executive role, you have probably accomplished a lot, and including everything on your resume will likely look too busy. It’s better to have a more targeted approach so you grab your audience’s attention quickly. Carefully go through your professional history and achievements - what stands out to you the most? What accomplishments would be most impressive to someone hiring for this executive position? What part of your professional experience is most aligned with the role you are targeting? Choose wisely and incorporate only the most important and relevant information in your resume.

2. Include a Core Proficiencies Section (That Screams “Executive”)

Having a key proficiencies section is a great way to highlight your skills and competencies in an easily digestible format. Placing it near the top of your resume ensures that it will grab the attention of the hiring manager. Think about key words that you want to incorporate and that are relevant to executive positions. The important part here is to focus on qualities and skills that are specifically beneficial to executive positions, so don’t worry about including your IT skills in this section. Focus on qualities that show leadership, such as improving employee engagement, developing processes, managing change, handling mergers or acquisitions, and strategic development. Technical skills do not need to be included in this section, but if you feel that they are particularly important to the position, you can include a separate section towards the bottom of your resume.

3. Focus on These 4 Elements of a Job Posting

The job posting will contain a lot of information that will be helpful for you. There are four key elements of a job posting that you can look for to help you improve your resume. First, check to see what the job requirements are and if you meet them. If you do, make sure to illustrate this in both your cover letter and your resume. Second, check for key words that are scattered throughout the job posting. You can use these same key words in your resume and cover letter. This will help both with applicant tracking systems (ATS) and with the person reading your resume. Third, take a look at their corporate culture and see how you fit into it. You can do some digging by going to the organization website or by checking out their social media pages to see what kind of organization they are and what their values are. See how you are aligned with that. Fourth, aim to apply for the job posting before it closes. Ideally you don’t want to be applying on the last day of the job posting, as the hiring managers are probably already reviewing resume and setting up interviews by then. Aim to apply somewhere in the middle of the hiring period.

4. Focus on building your executive brand

Building your executive brand is a great way to impress others and build your following. You can do this through your social media channels. Building an online presence is important because it allows you to connect your voice to your values. It is also a good way to observe and engage with other brands, as well as develop a deeper understanding of a client base. You can create original content in a number of ways to appeal to every audience. Consider using soundbites, video clips, infographics, and photos to entice your audience. Your social media accounts are also a good way to showcase what you are interested in and what topics you may provide expertise on, both by creating your own content and by engaging with others through comments.

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