Four Rules For Successful Executive Resumes

Recruiters and hiring executives want to know one thing when scanning executive resumes: what will this person do for us?

Employers and their agents are busy people. They don't have the time to wade through boring, run-on paragraphs searching for the information they need; nor are they interested in learning what you want from a position, at least not yet. They need to know how you can help them solve their business problems.

Good executive resumes answer this question within the first fifty words. What you bring to the table should jump off the page with a clear statement that differentiates your proven abilities and your promise of value to the company from those of your competition.

Rule #1: Begin your executive resume with a clear personal-branding statement

Develop a concise summary which defines your business strengths, what you've been able to accomplish in the past, your passions, your expertise, your unique abilities in one sentence. Word it actively with robust verbs and key words. Remember, less is more and avoid superlatives. (Everyone appreciates success, but no one likes a braggart.)

"A professional sales manager building new opportunities and expanding existing markets around the globe, I consistently overcome obstacles to increase the company's profits and market recognition."

"My documented track record of business development, operational planning, and successful leadership solutions drives my passion for rescuing troubled companies."

"As a dedicated healthcare manager with a track-record of success, I am adept in linking health science with market leadership to build high-performance organizations. "

This statement will become your "brand," the phrase synonymous with you. Use it in your social media sites and place it at the top of your resume.

Rule #2: Narrow your focus, pinpoint your audience

A good executive resume needs to convey the value you bring to your target position and company.

A generic resume that tries to cover all bases will miss the bull's eye. This means you will probably need more than one resume. If you have experience in more than one industry or function, such as financial controllership and investment banking, write different resumes for each one.

Emphasize only the aspects of your expertise that match the employer's stated needs and merely mention those which do not. Make sure the focus is consistent throughout the resume and highlight explicit examples of your successes.

Rule #3: Show them your value

Support your branding statement with evidence that you will add value to the organization.

Avoid simply listing job responsibilities. Your readers will already understand the responsibilities of a controller, a sales manager or IT director. Instead, describe your achievements, specific examples that show your ability to benefit an organization. Don't simply say "I increased sales" without adding by how much sales increased (without infringing on confidentiality, of course.)

Be sure to provide context. Increasing sales by 16% may impress the reader, but if you say you were recruited to turn-around a company whose market share had been declining for five years, the reader can now appreciate your accomplishment.

Rule #4: Make yourself and your resume "look good."

While we shouldn't judge a man by his clothes, we do, so ensure your resume is well-dressed.

It must be well designed, look professional, certainly free of typos and with the focus information clearly highlighted.

While conducting her own executive job search Elizabeth Shelton conducted research on executive resumes. To be competitive and land a job fast she recommends job seekers contact a resume expert. To get expert help on your resume, she recommends one of the top executive resume firms her research found at


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