How to create an executive resume?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average job growth rate in the USA.
This is good news for professionals who are looking to become executives. However, with that job growth comes enormous competition.
And the best way to stand out in this competition is to create a professional executive resume that will help you sail through the applicant tracking systems and land your resume into the recruiter’s hands.
Executives are top-level professionals with a high level of responsibility. That’s why it’s of utmost importance that you maintain a level of professionalism in your resume with proper formatting, language and by using correct grammar in sentences.
Going ahead, here are some topics to look foward to:
- What is an executive resume?
- How to write a perfect executive resume?
- What are the key sections of an executive resume?
- How to write key skills in your executive resume?
- How to write the training & certification section in the executive resume?
What is an Executive Resume?
Executive resumes answer the employer’s key question: what is in it for me?
Executive resumes are usually read by high-level recruiters, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, or Board Members. They want to know how you will help them solve their future business problems.
The CIO candidate could help solve ERP problems, the GM candidate the struggling division, the CFO candidates help raise money in a harsh climate.
Every recruiter and every executive wants to know what is in the candidate that would help. Yet, almost more than 90% of executive resumes do not answer the question.
However, if you can revise your executive resume to quickly and clearly convey your value, you will be one of the elites who immediately get an opportunity for an interview.
Why Do You Need an Executive Resume?
Your brand and value proposition must be together before you plan on moving them further. This sends a clear, consistent message across your executive resume. Be it social media profiles, your LinkedIn profile, a website, or a resume, targeting and research work before initial branding is a mistake.
You need a resume at some point in the hiring process as a standard and recognized job search currency. Defining your brand and developing content for your resume forms the foundation for all your personal marketing materials. It also:
- Helps you in developing messages designed to resonate with your target audience
- Differentiates your unique value premises from your competitors
- Prepares you to have the knowledge and accept confidently the values you can offer
- Prepares you to network and interview well
Before you can write an outstanding executive resume, you should lay the groundwork with these critical steps first:
- personal branding
Now let's get started. Before that, we have attached a sample executive resume to help you understand the process better. You may also try our online resume builder for further clarity on making a smooth functioning executive resume.
How Do You Write an Executive Resume?
In this section, we will break down the steps for you to create a stellar executive resume.
Choosing the Format
Resumes generally follow three standard formats. However, since an executive is considered to have good experience and universal skills, a chronological resume best shows your career progression.
It makes the reader understand your values in context as your achievements are included within your career timeline.
Identify the Employer's Needs
Your executive resume should be tailored to the job for which you are applying. So should your executive summary. It is crucial to tailor your summary to the job description since that is the first part the recruiters read and decide to read further.
Read the job description to determine what is most important.
- Research Executive: What lab techniques are they looking for?
- Marketing Executive: What kind of campaigns are they looking for? Are they looking for entrepreneurial experiences?
- Customer Service Executive: Do you possess experience managing others, and do you have strong communications skills?
After identifying the required skills, go through your executive resume to determine which of those skills you have. List the most relevant experiences that pertain to each skill set.
Know that it is Your Story
While tailoring your summary to the jobs you apply for, ensure that your summary and your profile are tailored to you. Generic sentences like:
“Motivated and detail-oriented executive with strong problem-solving skills and work ethics.”
This is highly generic. You may however, start with a personal statement in your resume summary. For example,
"30+ years experienced & goal-oriented global Supply Chain Specialist with a proven track record in leading cross-functional teams for the end-to-end supply chain management."
Across your executive summary and your executive resume, emphasize skills, experiences, and attributes that are unique to you.
The above example determines that you are a Supply Chain Specialist with more than 30 years of experience and that you have a track record of handling teams and delivering targets. This adds value to your executive resume.
Understanding Personal Branding and Value Proposition
Branding is not an optional habit. It links your passions, your personal attributes, and your strengths with your value proposition.
It produces a crystal clear message that differentiates you from your competition and resonates with your target audience.
The things that differentiate your unique promise of value from your job-seeking competitors are what will sell you.
Companies look for vitality and personal chemistry in executive candidates. Branding generates chemistry and makes your profile come alive on the paper.
Create your brand positioning statement to lead your executive resume along with the executive resume title.
Brand Yourself Above the Fold
As much as possible, make that section stand on its own as your calling card. Some suggestions for above the fold branding:
- Lead with your personal brand statement, which should generate chemistry by balancing your personality with your hard skills or relevant keywords.
- Add a powerful quote from a recent performance review or someone you work with.
- Include 3 or 4 value-driven statements with metrics.
- Put together your relevant keyword list, or areas of expertise, in an attractive graphic box.
Executive Resume Key Sections
These are the sections required in an executive resume. Follow through.
Writing the Executive Resume Summary on an Executive Resume
The executive resume summary conveys the following things:
Quickly Articulates Your Value
The elevator pitch. If you were in an elevator for 30 seconds with the hiring manager, what would you say to convince them to hire you? Your executive summary does the same.
Recruiters enjoy reading executive resume summaries. The 3-5 line summary shows your qualification for the post and therefore saves time and effort.
The candidate can control their story and get to promote themselves as a great candidate, instead of relying on the recruiter's interpretation of the history of experiences.
As the recruiters check what is upfront and center, putting the most critical information in an executive summary is crucial.
List the most important information to demonstrate your unique qualifications for the job. This will hook the hiring manager and make them want to read more about you.
Consider the two executive resume examples. In both of the resume executive summary examples, we followed the steps.
- Summarized applicant's background as an accomplished Supply Chain Specialist with a proven track record in leading cross-functional teams for the end-to-end supply chain management.
- Expressed applicant's skills in managing multiple stakeholders & talks about his accomplishment in the field of process enhancements and that it resulted in effective cost management.
- Further enhanced his proficiency in optimizing performance & conducting due diligence, which has driven revenue growth and achieved profitability goals.
Makes you Stand out From the Crowd
Your executive resume summary emphasizes strengths and highlights transferable skills.
Your executive resume will likely be one of a long stack under review, which is why it is essential to stand out from others. To make the recruiter's job easier, make your relevant skills and experiences transparent in an executive summary.
An executive summary persuades a recruiter that you are worth considering as an experienced professional and not a fresher.
You should also get a few lines to emphasize your transferable skills to convince the hiring manager why you are an exception.
Along with highlighting your skills, an executive summary should convey to the recruiters that you are a strong communicator. Recruiters look for simple, synthesized takeaways of complex concepts.
But to communicate them clearly and concisely, you should crystallize your experiences into a few vital points. At the end of the day, if you can sell yourself, you can sell your product.
Summarizes all the Essential Points
You might be a "detail-oriented go-getter" with a proven track record of success who values people. But we all are in our resumes. A hard-hitting executive summary positions you to fit the role you are pursuing.
For our executive resume clients, we typically showcase four to five lines to highlight the applicant's overarching value proposition specific to the target job. This is derived from the So-What analysis.
Make the most of your executive summary as this is your most valuable resume real estate. Check out the following executive resume examples for clarification. You may visit our blog on resume summaries to have a better approach to beginning your executive resume.
C-Level Supply Chain Executive
30+ years experienced & goal-oriented global Supply Chain Specialist with a proven track record in leading cross-functional teams for the end-to-end supply chain management. Highly skilled in managing multiple stakeholders & accomplishing process enhancements to ensure effective cost management. Proficient in optimizing performance & conducting due diligence and armed with extensive knowledge of procurement, export-import procedures, and compliance specifications. Adept at formulating strategies to accelerate revenue growth, effectively deliver projects, and successfully achieve profitability goals.
C-level Banking Executive Resume Summary
37+ years experienced & a dynamic, result-oriented C-Level Banking Professional with expertise in Corporate Credit Management. Possesses a stellar track record across a diverse range of profiles in one of India’s largest public-sector banks. Delivers fiscal, strategic & operational leadership to achieve revenue, profit, and business growth objectives in rapidly changing environments. Adept at managing teams to implement best practices & drive process enhancements for optimizing performance. Recognized for seizing control of critical areas & fulfilling customer commitments.
Put Skills on an Executive Resume
If you are an executive, you probably should not spend much time blindly applying for jobs via online applications. You should ideally be networking.
In such cases, despite keywords not being an imperative from the standpoint of the ATS, you probably still need them to showcase core proficiencies that speak "executive.”
Your strengths in MS Office and staff supervision may be necessary. But these are non-executive areas of expertise.
Instead, highlight your employee development skills, change management, P & L, mergers and acquisitions, process engineering/re-engineering, global strategy, etc. Include them in your "Skills" section right under your executive summary.
If you have technical skills vital to your future role, divide your section into "Key Skills" and "Technical Skills.”
|Soft Skills||Hard Skills|
|Interpersonal Skills||New Business Development|
|Perseverance||Budgeting & Finance|
|Math Skills||Presentation Delivery|
|Problem Solving||Relationship Building|
Describing Your Experience on an Executive Resume
Your executive resume should signify the skills that you bring to the table. For instance, if you’re a sales manager with years of experience in upselling, that should be evident in every section of your executive resume.
- Write about your experience in optimizing production/upscaling a former methodology in your work history.
- List leadership skills needed in optimizing processes, improving relationships, and managing workflow.
- Include the savings in workforce and production costs achieved.
While you should include qualitative results to help the recruiter understand what kind of person you are, you must also deliver impact through your points.
Only being a responsible person would probably not land you an executive role. You will be hired to make money, drive growth, reduce costs, streamline operations, optimize staff performance, etc.
The best way to make it instantly clear that you know how to do this? Show the results. Show the numbers.
One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by creating a sub-section within each job you’ve held called “Key Accomplishments” or “Key Highlights.”
Bold the most impressive quantitative stuff so that it’s beyond easy for people to find this information quickly.
Mainstream Microsystems Mar '15 - April '17
- Directed organization's financial and budgetary activities for 100% accurate activities
- Delivered 100% to 2014 sales target by developing a new strategy to target the underdeveloped Gen Y market
- Saved USD 4M in operational costs and improved commercial decision by consolidating regional accounting teams to redirect savings into a future-proofing system upgrade
- Increased ROI 30% by facilitating real-time communication of all sales goals and initiatives to all stakeholders
- Boosted monthly advertising revenues by 7% by dedicating up to one page of the bi-weekly Arts & Lifestyle section to advertorial content
- Ensured continued competitiveness by partnering with the CEO & CFO of 5 corporate development committees to shape and secure approval for a 6-year revenue diversification strategy
- Enhanced pipeline activities by 40% to boost revenue company wide
- Surfaced new revenue opportunities to increase total sales by 30% across 10 regional territories
- Implemented lean sales initiative, cutting costs by 35%
Value Your Education Section
Start with the basics:
College Name and Location.
Years in School.
Align your College Name to the left with your Location and Time Period to the right in the same line. Add your degree and any relevant co-curricular to extracurricular activities that you took care of.
Training & Certification Section
There are specific programs designed to familiarize Executives to drive major changes within companies to transform, innovate, meet future challenges, and build a strategic vision for each sector.
A few of these standard Certifications which benefit a director resume or an executive assistant resume/executive resume are:
- Strategic Business Unit Management
- CSE Certified Sales Executive
- Strategic Sales Management
- Innovation & Social Business
- Executive Leadership Certification
- Advanced General Management
- SME Director
Other Sections in an Executive Resume
As an executive, you must have many significant executive resume points which you must mention. These build your personality along with your profile which is important for the hiring of an executive.
A few important activities or additional information might allow you to build your credentials as an executive. An example is:
- Received 5M views in an article published on data transmission in Forbes
- Headed the team that won the "Best in the West" contest
- Active member, Sales, and Marketing Executive Association
- Attained 5,000 subscribers in the online youtube channel "How We Sell."
Highlight Words that Align With Your Target Role
By the time you are an executive, you have many experiences and accomplishments to be proud of and share. However, it is essential to refrain from stuffing your executive resume.
You must remember that this is not an autobiography. Instead, it is a marketing document that you are using for a specific audience. Always remember that it should be on the professional end.
Share career highlights that align with the specific requirements of your target job profile. Leave off the fluff and refrain from highlighting points that would likely not matter for your next job.
The 5 golden rules of making an executive resume
Keep the following points in mind while drafting your executive resume:
Include what they want to know. Add a powerful summary to showcase the values you can add to potential employers. Demonstrate a precise match between your skills and their needs.
An executive resume needs a clear, concise message about the value you bring. Target that message to your target position. Demonstrate your value by emphasizing the aspects of your expertise and experience that match the employer's needs.
You must present evidence that you add value. Most executive resumes focus on job responsibilities. However, describing achievements is much more powerful. Job responsibilities are simply those things we are supposed to do. Achievements are reliable because they prove that you did what you could. They are a powerful way to show your ability and make a difference. Achievements show that you have increased revenue or boosted productivity.
Compliment your achievements by providing context. If you "increased sales by 10%", compliment it by saying "reversed 5-year sales decline by increasing sales 10% in the first year". Now your recruiter will genuinely appreciate your accomplishment. Provide context in all positions you can.
Your executive resume should be clean, readable, and simple while drawing attention to key information. If you want readers to focus on something, bold them to highlight those names or methodologies in a prominent place. Highlight numbers, techniques, and key skills.
People with similar interests in particular sets of criteria would be reading your executive resume. Put yourself in their shoes and find out the information they could be looking for in a document.
The information must be easily readable and straightforward. To make sure your data is readable, always refer to the current and best resume format 2022. Always remember to do the following:
- Customize your executive resume to the role by reading the job description and researching the company.
- Focus on the skills the board of directors wants and has mentioned in the job description. List those in bullets in your sales executive resume.
- Try including an "Additional Information" section that creates your personality through your competence.
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