When applying for executive-level positions, you can’t use the same type of resume you did as an entry-level candidate. While the typical resume focuses on work history and job titles, an executive resume should paint a picture of your career progression and most notable achievements.
The traditional resume begins with an objective statement, in which applicants briefly describe the type of position they’re seeking. However, this usually reveals little about a candidate’s unique qualifications. For an executive resume, use a branding statement or executive summary instead. Give your resume a title, such as “Chief Marketing Officer, specializing in enhancing the public image of nonprofit agencies.” Offer a concise snapshot of your skills and accomplishments by including three or four bulleted statements such as “20 years of experience working with local nonprofit community.”
Traditional resume advice dictates that you should limit your resume to one page, and definitely no more than two. You can make an exception for executive-level resumes. In this case, it’s more important to accurately showcase your skills and accomplishments. You don’t want to omit something for the sake of brevity when it might be what wins you the job. Also, employers expect executive resumes to be longer. You’ve likely been in the industry 10, 15 or even 20 years, and if your resume is too short, employers will wonder what you achieved during that time.
With a typical resume, the employer might learn all he needs to from your job titles and a description of your responsibilities. An executive resume, however, must demonstrate what you’ve accomplished and how it can benefit the company. Be as specific as possible. For example, mention that you consistently increased sales by 15 percent each year at your previous firm. Or, note that you were the youngest executive to receive a prestigious national award.
When hiring for C-level positions, employers seek candidates who will help enhance the company’s image. An effective executive resume is also a marketing document and serves the same function as a sales pitch. Highlight your connections within the industry and your strong professional reputation. Include quotes from satisfied clients or from a recent performance review. Show employers that they’re not just hiring an employee, they’re also boosting their reputation by bringing on a respected and influential member of the business community.