Are you convinced you can write the best executive resume possible?
Maybe you can.
If you’ve been in on the hiring process at your company for some time, and have been in a position to review resumes of candidates, you may have a good handle on what should and shouldn’t be in a resume . . . and resume writing strategy, in general.
You know which resumes made those candidates stand out so much that you had to call them in for an interview.
Your experience being in the shoes of a hiring decision maker perhaps better qualifies you to write your own resume than others.
Or, you may be a CMO or other marketing professional who understands that the key to good resume writing is differentiating, positioning and marketing your personal brand as a good fit for your target employers, just as you market your current employer’s brands as the right choice for your target audience.
There could be any number of reasons why you are more qualified and able to write your own resume than the average executive job seeker.
I say, give it a go. You really have nothing to lose.
Want some help with this?
First thing, you’ll need to start with information-mining. My worksheets for personal branding and job search success will help.
Then check out the blog posts below on executive resume writing. You’ll find plenty of information on the writing strategy . . . including how to write your biography.
And I’ve included a post on why you may not be able to write your own resume.
My Popular Blog Posts on Executive Resume Writing
Here’s one misstep many executives make with their resume. Eager to land as soon as possible, they manage to locate that 10 (or 15, or 20) year old resume, and begin updating it.
The problem? Many of them do the update within the framework of that outdated, limiting document.
They don’t understand that today’s resume is a marketing document, designed for the digital age – not a career history merely outlining job responsibilities, with a few achievements thrown in.
Before dusting off your old resume (if you have one), merely updating it with your latest contributions and career history, and expecting that, when you put it out there they will come, you need to get a handle on today’s modern resume and what part it plays in the new world of executive job search.
My 10-step process gives you an overview of what makes a great executive resume. It includes all the ingredients for a personal brand-reinforcing executive resume that will position you as a good-fit for your target employers.
Do you fret about the length of your resume?
Many executives have resumes that are 4 or 5, or even more pages. I typically advise that we should keep it to around 2-3 pages.
But they ask me, “How can I possibly distinguish my career and do me justice in 2 measly pages. Does it have to be that short?“
The thinking on length has evolved, but it’s always a topic debated among career professionals. For a time, I was stuck on the absolute 2-page rule. But often enough I found that to best present and market my clients’ unique value promise, content had to spill over to a third page. In some cases, to a fourth page.
Learn how to update and revive your over-edited, old executive resume that you’ve tweaked to death, so that now you have a disjointed, unfocused mess that doesn’t represent the best you have to offer.
Some of the mistakes you’re probably making, by re-tooling the same, tired old executive resume:
- The message and formatting are not cohesive.
- The formatting and font choices are inconsistent throughout.
- The formatting – typically an old style from years ago – doesn’t advance the message well.
- They clearly don’t know what a modern, optimized resume looks like.
- The newer content often contains spelling, usage and grammatical errors.
- Someone told them to use a functional format to try to hide various red flags.
- The content doesn’t communicate their unique value proposition.
- The content doesn’t generate chemistry by giving a feel for their personality.
The unique value you offer goes well beyond hard skills.
Employers want to get a feel for what kind of person you are. They want to get some idea of your leadership style and how you get things done . . . what you’ll be like to work with.
What’s the best way to convey your personality?
A storytelling device resume writers have been using for decades is the C-A-Rs approach, or Challenge – Actions – Results, also known by other acronyms such as S-T-A-Rs (Situation – Tasks – Actions – Results).
Read my post for all the details.
Think you got it all right, but you’re not getting the response you expected with your executive resume? I’ve outlined 5 reasons why it may not be working and how to fix it.
Here are the first 3 reasons:
1. Your resume lacks targeting and therefore compelling content that supports your good fit.
2. Your resume doesn’t generate chemistry and differentiate you from your competitors.
3. You’re spending 80% of your time sending your resume in response to job listings on job boards and company websites.
Read about the other 2 reasons in the post noted above.
Let’s face it. An executive resume is typically pretty boring, because of the inherent constraints in terms of formatting, length and necessary content . . . or so it would seem.
A resume usually starts with some kind of summary section that is a repository for lifeless relevant keywords and phrases, representing key areas of expertise.
The Experience section follows, often hitting only on a list of duties and responsibilities . . . maybe with a few achievements sprinkled in.
Don’t get me wrong. Those things need to be there.
Unfortunately, many resumes stop there, and neglect any content that breathes life into them.
These kinds of resumes can be boring to write, but even more boring to read for the people tasked with assessing perhaps hundreds of potential candidates at any one time.
Many executives don’t know about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and the executive resume black hole.
ATS were developed to deal with the overwhelming number of resumes executive recruiters and employers receive these days for openings posted on job boards and company websites.
Many job seekers have aggravated this situation because, even though they may be unqualified for a job posting, they’ll send out their resume to any and all job listings that are even remotely a fit for them.
Get tips and strategies to get your resume through ATS in this post.
An executive job seeker told me in our initial call that he was so impressed with an executive resume sample on my website, he was tempted to copy some of it.
He said that one or two of the opening brand bites described him to a tee. He wanted them in his resume. I explained why he shouldn’t and couldn’t “re-use” content in my samples.
Another job seeker had actually swiped an entire brand statement verbatim from one of my samples. You can imagine my shock when I saw that. I set him straight about his mistake.
A typical biography walks you through the person’s career progression and provides hard facts. Aside from touching briefly on marital status and perhaps hobbies, they lack vibrancy. They give you little feel for what kind of person you’re reading about and what drives them.
A brand biography is a storytelling tool that breathes life into an otherwise flat rehash of your resume. For job search and career management, a bio affords the opportunity to reinforce your brand with storytelling in a way that a resume doesn’t allow.
What you can do with a bio that you can’t do as well with a resume:
- Showcase your leadership and management acumen through softer skills and “good fit” attributes, and link them to your value proposition.
- Personalize your C-A-Rs stories and use them to reinforce your brand attributes and key strengths.
- Generate chemistry around how you use your key personal attributes, passions, strengths, and motivated skills to make things happen for employers.
- Help employers connect with you and envision you on the job, having a positive impact.
The main reason you may not be able to write your own resume is that you have trouble distancing yourself enough to objectively assess what you have to offer.
And you may not understand the complicated strategy involved in writing compelling personal marketing content (for their resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.) to differentiate your value from your job-seeking competitors’.
The first specific mistake executives make when writing their own resumes is that they fail to position themselves as the best hiring choice for their target employers.
Check out my post above for the other 3 mistakes that you may be making.