7 Ways to Impress HR with Your Executive Resume
So, you’re moving up in the executive world, congratulations! There are many differences between executive-level jobs and other jobs. Even the resumes you use to get the executive jobs are different than normal ones - they’re longer, they include and exclude different sections, and they focus heavily on what you’ve accomplished so far in your career.
Learn all about ways to make your executive resume stand out from the rest so you can be one step closer to landing the position of your dreams!
1. Provide an Executive Summary
An Executive Summary is something you don’t see on your average resume. However, this is the perfect way to get your resume to stand out because it’s right at the top! Under your name, titles, and contact info, this is where you want to start.
You can use a bolded, italicized, or underlined header (“Executive Summary”) to indicate this part of your resume. In this section, you want to write all about who you are as a professional, objectively. Be concise, yet clear about what you can bring to the table! This summary is intended to pique HR’s interest and get them to read further.
Besides being a great way to quickly show the hiring staff what you have to offer, the executive summary is the perfect place to work in keywords. These days, your resume has a high chance of being run through a digital screening process before a person ever sees it. These digital applications scan for the top keywords and throw out resumes that don’t use them.
Read carefully through the job description of the position you’re applying for, take note of any skills or qualifications that seem to be very important, and be sure to work those into your executive resume! Even if the company you’re applying to doesn’t use a digital screening process, these keywords will surely catch the HR official’s eye.
Tip: This summary is much different than the commonly used “objective”. Objectives are traditionally one-line descriptors stating the intention of the resume (indicating the position you’re hoping to land an interview for), but the executive summary is a snapshot of what kind of asset you could be for the prospective business.
2. Bullet Point Your Areas of Expertise
After your executive summary, a great way to make sure your resume stands out is to include a bulleted list of your greatest skills. Use hard skills only in this section, if you can - meaning, only include the technical abilities and skills that fit the job, are measurable, and that can be taught. Be sure to refer back to that list of keywords you made after reading the job description and try to use more of them here!
Here are a few examples of hard skills:
● Software Knowledge
● Program Knowledge (G Suite, Microsoft, Industry-Specific Programs, etc.)
● Expertise in a Certain Field (Math, Science, etc.)
● Marketing Skills (SEO, SEM, PPC, CMS, Campaign Management, etc.)
● Foreign Languages
● Licenses and Certifications
● Risk Management
Do a little digging on the internet to find more hard skill examples for your specific industry. List your skills, group them together, make sure they’re all written in a similar tense and expression, and make sure the grouping arrangement looks nice and is easy to read.
This section should go hand in hand with your summary section! Having this eye-catching, scannable list of the things you’re best at is an excellent way to keep the hiring staff’s eyes on your resume a little bit longer.
Where should you put your soft skills (leadership, time management, critical thinking, etc.)? List them out on a piece of paper and work them into your current and past job descriptions!
3. Quantify Your Achievements
This is one of the biggest differences between an everyday resume and a winning executive resume. If you can come up with hard numbers for your resume to quantify your skills and abilities, you’re way more likely to wow any hiring official.
Don’t just say you increased the revenue of your last company, tell them by how much!
In general, it’s good to use numbers whenever you can on an executive resume. Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself when building your resume, the answers will help you incorporate some quantifiable info!
● How often?
● How much?
● How many?
● How often did you do a certain executive-level task?
● How much money did you save your previous business by implementing a new strategy?
● How many people are on the team you manage?
Don’t forget to take advantage of the bold, underline, and italicize features to help your numbers stand out!
4. Shorten Your Job History
On an executive resume, your job history doesn’t need to include the gas station you worked for in high school or the place you waited tables in your undergrad. You should include only positions relevant to the executive position you are applying for. What are the jobs you’ve had so far that led you here?
When describing your career history on an executive resume, spend the most time on your current job (unless it’s completely unrelated to what you’re applying for). Your most current position will be on the first page of your executive resume, and it’s the most recent example of what kind of professional you are.
Take your time and really dive into the description you give. Provide some information about not just your job, but the company in general. Use lots of soft skills to describe your current role and even include a bulleted list of your quantifiable achievements.
The other jobs you include need no more than a couple of sentences and a handful of bullets to describe the most transferrable skills and accomplishments you gained that are transferable and relevant to the executive position you’re applying for.
5. Use Multiple Pages
When you are an executive no one’s expecting a one-page resume. In fact, the traditional 2-page recommendation can be difficult to adhere to as an executive. Instead, it is likely that your resume will be 2-3 pages in order to capture the extensive work you have done throughout your career. With this in mind, it is important to remember that HR professionals should be able to quickly sift through your application to determine your suitability for the job. This means that a 4 page resume is not ideal and that it is best to keep it as short as possible to make sure they don’t lose interest.
In 2 pages, you can fit a lot of great stuff about yourself and your career! The executive summary, your top skills, relevant work history, awards and achievements, education, volunteer work, and affiliations which will likely all fit on a 2 pages as long as you’re selective about the information you are providing. Exceptions to this are executive working in the IT industry who may need a much longer resume to identify individual projects and technological applications used.
6. Save Your Personal Info for Later
Everyone knows that one of the best ways to set yourself apart in the job-hunting process is to humanize yourself and/or network to build a connection with one or multiple people at the prospective company Your resume is not the place to ‘get personal’ and list things like salary, marital info, religious association, age or family details.
Additionally, you want to keep your resume info factual, concise, and professional by avoiding first-person pronouns (like “I”, “me”, “we”, etc.). Save the anecdotes and personal stories for the interview or the cover letter at best.
7. Hire a Professional Executive Summary Writer
Whew! Sounds like a lot of work to get this whole executive resume thing just right, doesn’t it? Don’t worry! If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating an executive resume, are unsure of what to include on yours, or are simply still confused on why your resume isn’t landing you the interviews you want and deserve in the executive world, we’re here to help!
We build powerhouse executive resumes by working with you to describe your talents and abilities. Our executive resume writers understand the latest resume writing trends and want nothing more than to see you succeed! If you need help crafting an executive resume that gets results-reach out to us today!