- By Randi S. Lewis, Executive Resume Writer and President of Resume Boutique LLC
Executives at all levels need powerful, up-to-date resumes in substance and in format. But more often than not, some of the most accomplished CEO's, VP's, Directors and others in top management don't. And when another business opportunity presents itself, they often send their current resume - the format of which they haven't updated in 8 years, 10, years, 15 years, 20 years - to a retained executive search firm that posted the position. Twenty years ago, we used personal typewriters. Fifteen years ago, Word Perfect was the program of choice. Now most of us use an updated version of Microsoft Word and we've become more sophisticated in our ability to market everything, including people. Even if their credentials get them past the search consultant, the resume is unlikely to wow their true target audience: the entity looking for top talent. Other top executives have skeletal resumes, relying instead on their biographies written by their company's marketing departments. Bios are different from resumes. We've worked with many top executives who have submitted bios in applying for corporate positions only to be asked to submit a resume. Then they search the web for a company to help with their resume. We believe that's not the best time to be looking for a skilled resume writer.
Below are ten executive resume tips from Resume Boutique:
- Hire a professional to revise your current resume and to draft or punch up your company bio at the same time. It's easier for someone else to tout your accomplishments and be a bit more bold about them.
- Talk with the actual resume writer - the person who will be revising or drafting your resume - before you engage the company to determine her/his: -- Process for working on your resume. -- General comments on the current resume and what types of changes she/he anticipates. -- The total cost and the precise services you will receive [e.g.: are cover letters or other ancillary documents included; is there any period of time for free updates or consultation after the resume is completed; the charge for a resume and a bio]. -- Establish a comfort level with the writer. Use your instincts to determine if this writer is the right one for you.
- Once you have an updated and professional format of your resume and your bio, it will be ready at a minute's notice to present to the next professional opportunity.
- Update it every 5 years even if you have no intention to seek new employment.
Although I am not a fan of the functional resume, we suggest a hybrid between that and the traditional chronological resume. It will be different for each of you. [The next suggestions relate to your experience and accomplishments.]
- At your level, you have significant accomplishments, success is typically measured in return on investment, exceeding projected margins, cost savings and more. Your resume should feature prominent accomplishments.
- Your resume also should feature your leadership and management skills and achievements as well as your ability to collaborate well with colleagues in your organization and organizations past.
- It also should contain a brief summary paragraph of 3 or 4 sentences below your name and contact information but above your list of experiences. Think of it as an introductory marketing tool.
- In some cases, a section on representative skills/competencies or something similar should follow to help the reader understand who you are and what value you'd bring.
- Then you would present your experience chronogically but in a manner that groups and organizes your experience in each position.
Although your resumes and achievements vary dramatically, at the end of the resume writing process, we hear the same thing from every top executive: "I should have done this years ago. "
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