You are an intelligent business executive. You’ve worked hard to acquire knowledge and master your craft, but today you set out to conquer the next challenge of your ambitious career. As is the case with most overachievers, you understand the importance of planning and execution.
You are here because you are searching for proven answers to questions like these:
How do I position myself for executive career advancement?
How do I start my executive job search?
How do I write an executive resume?
Perhaps you aspire to transition from the military to a civilian career, overcome age discrimination in the workplace or switch careers despite a lack of experience?
Regardless of your motivation, this post will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know about executive resumes, including an executive resume writing guide, specific dos and don’ts of executive resume writing and numerous executive resume samples.
Disclaimer: There are no shortcuts to crafting an elite executive resume that gets 10X more interviews. Those who apply everything as instructed always outperform those who take shortcuts and skim past the important details. You earn the job you deserve.
Ok. Let’s begin with the most important question of all…
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A RESUME?
Certified professional resume writers and recruiters will tell you the objective of a resume is to summarize your qualifications, strengths and match for a job. This is incredibly short-sighted and sets you up to fail from the beginning. Let me explain why.
Imagine your spouse, sibling or child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. There is a cure, but it costs $10,000,000. Doctors estimate 2 years of survival without treatment.
You have $1,000,000 in total assets and a business plan that, if executed properly, could deliver the 10X ROI needed to save a life. It will cost $250,000 to develop the innovative product.
That leaves $750,000 to hire 10 heroic business leaders and key staff. 10,000 candidates apply. The clock is ticking. Who will you entrust with the fate of your loved one?
Will you hire the first 10 applicants who can get the job done or will you carefully invest in those who champion your cause and demonstrate they will deliver 10X ROI?
An executive resume should articulate passion and value creation, yet so few do. Apply what I am about to share and you will gain a competitive advantage!
SHOULD I HIRE AN EXECUTIVE RESUME WRITER?
Before you waste $1,000 on an executive resume writing service, understand that few certified professional resume writers have ever started or grown a business. In fact, most have never worked in your function, let alone accomplished your career goals.
How can you expect someone without a business background, who paid $325 to become a certified resume writer in as little as 7 days, to market you to executive hiring managers?
No time? Do you expect the author of your resume to interview for you too? Last I checked, the demand for “leaders” who cannot articulate their own value proposition in person is still 0.
Your resume is your first and last impression. Crafting it on your own will boost your confidence, elevate your communication skills and better prepare you for interviews.
I’ll never forget Patrick, an early client who resisted my D-I-Y approach. After shortcutting my resume writing process, we had a heated debate. I gave him the option to commit to doing it right or hire someone else. 34 days and 2 target executive job offers later… he was a believer.
WHO SHOULD MY EXECUTIVE RESUME SPEAK TO?
Survey 100 HR managers, recruiters and headhunters. Ask them what they look for in a target candidate. They’ll list the following: experience, education, certifications, career progression, work gaps, location and salary expectations.
Why? That is what their predecessors taught them to look for.
Now survey 100 successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and executive-level hiring managers. Their response is vastly different. They look for 4 characteristics in core team members: passion, problem solving, performance and communication.
Why? They know what it takes to launch and grow a business.
If you want to generate 10X more interviews, you must grab the attention of the business leaders with a fiduciary responsibility to protect their “baby” and grow the bottom line. Learn how to win their trust and you’ll catapult your career.
Sebastien came to me after 3 months of being rejected by recruiters. An accomplished VP, he was demoralized. I taught him how to market to the right audience. 90 days later he had met with 40+ C-level executives, accepted a target offer and negotiated a $10,000 salary boost.
A PROVEN EXECUTIVE RESUME WRITING GUIDE
Enlightened leaders recognize, value and surround themselves with other great leaders. The problem with most executive resumes is they fail to distinguish superior leadership. But, if you aren’t afraid to outwork your competition, you can easily stand out.
If you’ve ever participated in a corporate strategic planning initiative, or earned an executive MBA, you are likely familiar with the VRIO framework. The 4 components that determine competitive potential in business also predict resume efficacy. Take notes!
Value: Would you rather drive a Fiat or a Ferrari? Guess what? Executive hiring managers are no different. Poor spelling and grammar? Long autobiography? Useless or irrelevant content? Inconsistent formatting or ugly design? Trash can. Are you a high-quality brand?
Rarity: Why does LeBron James get paid $33,000,000 a season to play basketball? Because GMs know he averages 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per night, and has led his teams to 7 NBA Finals in a row. What is your return on investment? Are you 1 of 10,000,000 or 1 of 1?
Imitability: There are lots of amazing female vocal artists, but there is only one Adele. Likewise, nobody else shares your exact vision, values, personality, career path, knowledge, perspective, skills and habits. How can you leverage this wisdom to improve any organization?
Organization: Would you pay flawless diamond prices for cubic zirconia? Never. Similarly, if you fail to articulate your process for delivering superior ROI, executive hiring managers will never trust your ability to execute for them. Are you presenting a $100,000+ investment?
WHY SHOULD COMPANIES INVEST 6-FIGURES INTO YOU?
Every employee represents a business investment with an expected rate of return that exceeds the cost. Naturally, companies hire those with the greatest perceived ROI (these famous Warren Buffett quotes
can quickly help you understand how employers invest too).
While there is no publicly traded talent market, your resume serves as a prospectus none-the-less. For $100,000+, are employers investing in Tesla or a penny stock? If you want to be perceived as the Amazon of your talent pool, the best executive career advancement advice I can offer you is to quantify your talent ROI.
Start by asking yourself these 3 simple questions:
How do I make companies money?
How do I save companies money?
How do I save companies time?
Every project you’ve ever executed checks these boxes, directly or indirectly (estimated). For example, authoring strategic plans, optimizing portfolios, developing technology, streamlining operations, repairing relationships and mentoring staff all create value.
It takes time to quantify ROI for every accomplishment in every role spanning your entire career, but you’ll gain a competitive advantage over thousands with similar experience, education and certifications. And you’ll never have to do it again!
When executed properly, your versatile solutions and documented ROI are transferable across industry, company and role. And, because every company is seeking to improve profitability, you are free to pursue the opportunities that make you happiest. That is true empowerment.
At this point, you should feel both excited and a bit overwhelmed. Stick with me and I promise I’ll show you exactly how to get to the finish line, step-by-step.
HOW TO COMPOSE AN ELITE EXECUTIVE RESUME
A premier executive resume tells a story of passion, problem solving and performance.
It communicates only what a busy CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, CTO, President, Vice President or Director needs to know. A top executive resume includes 6 sequential sections:
Profile Summary: Includes a broad target functional title, followed by a short paragraph describing your value proposition, then a comprehensive list of high-level functional hats you can wear relative to your target role.
Select Accomplishments: Demonstrates your leadership versatility by showcasing 5 different functional business strengths relative to your target role. Each highlights a specific business challenge you were exposed to, your high-level process for solving the problem and the quantifiable value you delivered.
Professional Achievements: Specify title, company, location, start and end dates, plus a brief overview of your scope of responsibility and the functional hats you wore in that role. List specific functional contributions followed by the quantifiable value you delivered.
Education: List degree, major, institution and location.
Certifications: List certificate and sponsoring or administrating organization.
Proficiencies: List specific technologies, methodologies and other relevant skills.
Having helped 1,000+ ambitious executives generate 10X more interviews, I’ve learned that instructional videos work best. This executive resume writing tutorial walks you through the entire process, step-by-step, and features numerous cross-functional examples…
FREQUENTLY ASKED EXECUTIVE RESUME QUESTIONS
How long should my executive resume be?
Your executive resume should always be 2 pages long. No more. No less. No exceptions. If it is longer, work harder to present relevant data more concisely. If it is shorter, invest time to showcase more value creation. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
How many versions of my executive resume should I create?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, you only need 1 version of your executive resume. If executed as instructed, your value proposition will be transferable across industry, company and role. The time to tailor your solutions to their specific challenges is during interviews.
YOU’VE CRAFTED A TOP EXECUTIVE RESUME. NOW WHAT?
A word document on your computer has no value. A printed copy of your resume has value for the person you hand it to. Conversely, an expert-crafted LinkedIn profile will create value for thousands of prospective talent evaluators and hiring managers, every single day.
Now that you have a top executive resume, let’s go over how to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
Headline: <Target Function(s)> Executive | Consultant | Open Networker
This is purely for positioning and maximizing conversion rates when you send connection requests to business leaders (that will make sense in the next section).
The rest is as easy as copy, paste or match…
Summary: Paste your 5 Select Accomplishments
Experience: Match your resume
Education: Match your resume
Certifications: Match your resume
Skills: Utilize the maximum amount and select relevant skills only
Also, be sure to join target industry, functional or professional groups.
Lastly, create a custom LinkedIn profile URL and add it to your resume
In just 30 minutes, you will have completed your LinkedIn profile optimization process. Congratulations, now you have an All-Star profile! By the way, thousands of LinkedIn profile optimization services charge $500 or more for that. You’re welcome.
HOW TO GET 10X MORE EXECUTIVE-LEVEL INTERVIEWS
Josh, like most IT executives, came to me as an introvert. Initially, he was uncomfortable with what I am about to share, but he ended up authoring an incredible success story. In 90 days, he met with 100+ C-level executives and secured a dream job with an emerging business!
Most executive job seekers invest their time browsing job boards, tailoring their resume, submitting online applications, attending networking events, asking for referrals and waiting for recruiters to find them. They engage everyone except for the hiring manager.
As an accomplished executive, you’re used to spending time with key decision makers and having 100% control of your destiny. If you want to learn how to tap into the hidden job market to land your dream job, here is a proven formula for success:
Tactic: Engage hundreds of CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, CTOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents and Directors directly, via LinkedIn.
Approach: Express an interest in learning more about their business and formula for success.
Golden Rule: Never mention you are looking for a job or attach your resume.
Bonus: Sending out hundreds of connection requests per week will catapult you into the Top 1% in LinkedIn profile views, enabling you to appear higher in organic search rankings.
HOW TO CONVERT 10X MORE INTERVIEWS INTO JOB OFFERS
When you engage these influential business leaders and key decision makers, follow this simple, systematic approach to convert coffee into career advancement:
Ask questions > Listen attentively > Learn their story, philosophies and motivations > Identify common vision, purpose and values > Discover their organizational goals > Scope their business challenges > Identify areas for improvement > Share a plan for how you can improve and grow their business.
Demand for your leadership will skyrocket.
While your peers are focused on one-time transactions (all about them, all about now), you will build long-term relationships with successful business leaders, cultivating a stream of executive career advancement options for years to come.
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