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A senior vice president fills a leadership role, accountable for the success of a department or division. Compensation will reflect this level of responsibility -- and competition for job openings is fierce. An employer's first impression of you will come from your resume and it needs to outline your qualifications and accomplishments in a compelling way. It's worth spending time developing a well-crafted resume that enables you to advance to the next stage of the process.
Start with a Sales Pitch
A resume is a tool to sell yourself and your accomplishments to a prospective employer. The first section of your resume goes by different names (headline, introduction, profile) but is, in essence, an advertisement for your professional self. First, do some research to find out what the person reading your resume will be looking for. Job descriptions for advertised positions are a good place to find out what an employer's expectations are. Then, in a few sentences, explain why you are the perfect candidate. Highlight specific achievements and important characteristics that are relevant to your industry and focus on those things that will have the greatest impact.
Your Best Foot Forward
This section, sometimes called skills or core competencies, includes a "bullet" list of skills that are relevant to the job for which you apply. The list should include things that might be found in the "requirements and qualifications" sections of an employment ad. Since the skills required of a senior vice president will vary from one company to the next, make sure to create a customized list of competencies for each job opening you are investigating. For a senior vice president, competencies related to leadership and management will be expected.
In the Spotlight
Senior vice presidents are expected to list at least a few noteworthy accomplishments. If you have been responsible for starting up a new division, launching a new product or significantly improving a company’s financial performance, describe each of these achievements in a sentence or two. As much as possible, attach a dollar amount to the accomplishment to highlight the way in which you contributed to your employer’s success. If your accomplishments have been more modest, you might be better off merging this section with the list of core competencies.
You've Come a Long Way
This is the main section of your resume and what will serve to substantiate the claims you made about yourself in the earlier sections. Outline your employment history, starting with the most recent job first, and focus on how your employers benefited from having you in those positions. If you haven’t highlighted your accomplishments in a separate section, you will want to provide details on those here, including the financial impact they had on your employers.
Education and Awards
Education becomes less important as you advance in your career, but employers still need to see what degrees you have earned and from where. This is also the place to list any professional awards or honors and any publications that you were responsible for or contributed to that relate specifically to your profession.
Either a one-or two-page resume is acceptable, but anyone applying for a senior vice president position should have enough job history and career highlights to easily fill two pages. Use headings with different fonts and leave space between sections. Grammar and spelling errors are, of course, unacceptable.
Based in coastal Maine, Irene Lang has more than 20 years of experience as a professional business writer. With an M.B.A. from Rutgers University, Lang’s writing has primarily been in the fields of marketing, health care and travel. Her work has been published online at various websites.
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