Revisiting and updating your executive resume at least once a year is a smart career move . . . even when you’re not actively job-hunting.
But, this goes beyond revising your resume with your latest accomplishments and to reflect career advances – new jobs, responsibilities, education, training, etc. In addition, you’ll probably need to revamp the look and content of the entire document as well.
The way executive resumes look and read has evolved over time. They will continue to do so to meet the needs of the job seeker and those assessing her/him as a candidate.
You shouldn’t ignore the new ways and send out an old fashioned resume. You’ll be presenting yourself as someone who is not up to date with the new world of work.
If your resume is still partying like it’s 1999 (or even 5 years ago), it’s a dinosaur. It probably lacks critical information and includes arbitrary and superfluous information that won’t help you. And it probably doesn’t look like a modern resume.
10 Reasons Your Executive Resume Needs a Major Face Lift
Your resume needs an overhaul if it:
1. Lacks targeting
Your resume needs to be designed to target specific employers – aligning your qualifications, qualities and areas of expertise with what they’re looking for in candidates. If there’s no targeting, it probably won’t resonate with anyone. It won’t help to prequalify you as a potential good hiring investment.
2. Neglects personal branding
Branding in your resume helps you differentiate the unique value you offer from everyone else competing for the same jobs. And it helps generate chemistry for who you are, what you’re like to work with, how you make things happen, and what you have to offer that no one else does.
3. Includes an executive resume objective statement
It may be hard to believe, but I’m still seeing these dinosaurs in some executive resumes. For the 25+ years I’ve been writing resumes, I have NEVER included an objective statement. Instead of telling employers what YOU want from them, tell them what you’ll DO for them.
4. Neglects strategic positioning in prime real estate
Your resume needs to immediately capture and hold attention. Any content that sits “above the fold” (top third or half of the first page), should succinctly market your value. Design this important real estate to entice readers, provide an overall snapshot of your value proposition, and compel them to want to read further.
5. Neglects career success stories
Your resume should “tell your brand story“. Use the C-A-Rs (Challenge – Actions – Results) or S-T-A-Rs (Situation – Tasks – Actions – Results) method to detail your contributions to past employers. Your C-A-Rs stories help employers see how you’ll add value as an employee of theirs. They also help make your resume an interesting read.
6. Relies on anemic executive resume-speak
Too many resumes are bloated with over-used, boring phrases (“responsible for”) and passive verbs. Instead, use precise and differentiating language and robust action verbs (accelerate, optimize, monetize, pioneer, revitalize, transform, etc.).
7. Pays no attention to readability
Your resume needs white space. Long blocks of information with no breaks are hard on the reader. White space and short-form, precision writing are the way to go. Always keep in mind that you want to make it as easy as possible for people. In addition, many people will be viewing your resume on small screens.
8. Lacks digitization
Show that you’re social media savvy. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile, unless you don’t have one or it’s lacking much content. Also include other professional social media accounts (if you’re active there), along with your online publications and/or other supporting online info.
9. Isn’t complemented by an ATS-friendly executive resume version
You’ll need attractively formatted Word and PDF versions of your resume for human eyeballs, and a stripped down text version that will make it through Applicant Tracking Systems.
10. Isn’t synchronized with your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile and resume need to be in sync with each other, and complement each other.
Because you can only have one LinkedIn profile, it tends to be slightly more generic than your resume, although it shouldn’t be so generic that it doesn’t hit home with anyone.
You can have as many resumes as you need, each one as customized as possible for particular roles and/or companies.