Resume Tips for Executives and Professionals

Executive Resume Tips

In case you haven’t heard, your resume is your personal brand marketing tool that is intended to get hiring managers excited to call you in for an interview.  A lot goes into a good resume, particularly an executive level resume.  But do you know what that good stuff is?  Here are some tips geared towards executives and professionals.


Defining Your Value

This area is often overlooked.  To give yourself an edge over your competitors you need to make very clear what your value is to the hiring organization.  What is the bottom line of what you will bring to the company.  Think about what your role is as an executive of an organization and think about what you do and why you do it.  Couple that with key skills that offer additional value to your statement.  For example: “I am an experienced billion-dollar business builder with the knowhow to roadmap strategic vision and turn ideas into actions, leading organizations to new heights through motivation and effective communication.”  Let it be known what you do well and what you bring to the table.  The last thing someone want to read is a list of responsibilities.


Backing it Up with the Facts

So, once you’ve made a claim about your value and what you can bring to the company you need to provide the proof.  Dig into your past and think about the big picture numbers and success stories that have helped your career.  Increases in numbers, KPI’s, percentages, dollar figures, revenue growth, acquisitions, etc. are all a few great examples we use regularly.  You can list these key points in a bullet format, in a sentence or paragraph that provides a bit more context, or you can use visual graphics or charts.


Formatting for Visual Appeal

Long gone are the days of a resume being boring black and white text.  In order to stand out among your competitors (many of whom are likely using professional resume writing services), you need to liven up your presentation.  Incorporating graphs, growth charts, and graphics, in combination with splashes of color, will help make your resume pop.  Some of the executives we write resumes for choose to have a graphic created with their initials that is integrated into the header.  Do something memorable with your resume.  Just keep in mind that you need to balance visual creativity with relevant content.  Your executive resume is still telling a personal story as to why you are the best fit for the job.


ATS Compatible

Applicant Tracking Systems (or software) is an important consideration.  Sometimes the use of tables or special characters can confuse the software which will limit your ability to get your resume through ATS and in the hands of a hiring manager.  If you are going to write your resume yourself be sure to spend time to understand what will help your resume pass.  Also, study the job postings and integrate some of the commonly used key words as these will likely be used in the ATS.  Another way to circumnavigate ATS is to network with key members of the organizations you are targeting, trying to get personal invitations to continue the vetting or interview process.


Keep it Short

Some people think they need to tell their life story in their resume.  This is far from the case.  Keep the content relevant and targeted.  Showcase your talents and be sure to provide a bottom line message about your value and what you can do for the organization.  Back it up with relevant facts and figures, as we discussed earlier.  Avoid a list of responsibilities and focus on results and how you can solve big picture problems, citing key experiences from your past.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Executive Interview Questions You WILL Be Asked (not directly, however…)

executive interview

I found this article particularly interesting, because at an executive level, it is assumed you already have a certain handfull of skill sets, like program development and management, corporate leadership, answering to a Board of Directors, managing and improving KPI’s, and meeting corporate goals and objectives. So how do you land that CEO/COO/CFO role? Below are 5 key questions you need to answer, without directly addressing it.

Here are five key questions almost every chief executive needs to have answered in the interview. They may not ask them out loud, but you can be sure they’re thinking of them.

Are you commercial?
Your technical skills may have got you to this stage in your career, but unless you have well-rounded commercial skills and business acumen, you are unlikely to progress further. To shine in the interview, talk numbers and results. Show that you understand what’s going on in the business outside the confines of your own department and show financial intelligence.

Tip: When preparing for your interview, go back through your key achievements in your career and find out what the numbers were. It’s not enough to say the work you did resulted in improvements – prove it. Show the return on investment for the projects and activities you led.

Are you strategic?
You may be fantastic operationally – and this is a good skill to have – but to bring in someone at a senior level, the chief executive needs to be satisfied that you can think and behave strategically. They are looking for someone who thinks further ahead than next week or next month. They want a person who understands the organisation’s vision, mission and goals. If they don’t have them documented, they may want you to help create the vision, mission and goals, so you need to show you’re up to the job.

Tip: Think about examples when you have behaved strategically and practise talking about what you did. You probably won’t be asked this question outright so you need to weave your strategic abilities into the answers to other questions – make sure you use the word “strategy” at several points in the interview. Look at the organisation’s website to research their vision, mission and business goals and make sure you refer to them in the interview.

Do you understand our culture?
Every organisation’s culture is unique. Even when you’ve worked at a very similar organisation, there will be differences in the way things are done. This is as much about understanding the organisation’s values as the personalities within it.

The chief executive needs to be satisfied that you are going to fit in and not rock the boat too much. This isn’t about being a “yes” person; more about how well you will work with the other senior executives.

Tip: You can get a good feel for the culture from the website. Look at how they present themselves to the world: go through with a fine-toothed comb to see what they say and how they say it. Also look at how they have photographed the senior people in the organisation. These portraits can be very telling and also give you a good indication of the dress code.

Do you respond well to being challenged?
At a senior level, you are likely to be challenged on your decisions and the work of your department. Will you run out of the office in tears, explode in rage or deal with it calmly in an appropriate manner? You might be asked this question or, more likely, the chief executive will be challenging in the interview to test how you respond.

Tip: Be ready to back up anything you claim in the interview. Avoid giving vague answers as these are likely to be challenged. Deal with any challenging comments assertively but not aggressively – after all, this person could be your next boss.

Can I trust you?
As they say, it’s lonely at the top and the chief executive is well aware of the political games played at work. It can take a lot for the chief executive to open up about any development issues they have or any decisions they are struggling with. They need to trust that anything they discuss with you will be confidential and handled discreetly. Do you want to be seen as their right-hand person or the gossip who goes blabbing to the rest of the executive team?

Tip: Demonstrate that you have a trusting relationship with your current boss by not being drawn into any discussions about what you like or dislike about working with them. If you have been a sounding-board to a senior person in the past, you let them know this is the case without divulging any confidential information.

To perform well in an interview with a chief executive, you need to think like a chief executive. If you were in their position, what would you be looking for?

More related executive search tip links:

13 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Executive Candidates


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!