Success Insights

CFO-ResumeIf your job search strategy keeps running into a brick wall or you keep getting calls for lower paying positions, it may be time to re-think your executive resume strategy.

One key reminder is that your executive resume is a strategic marketing tool.

Your resume’s main objective should be a “Sell Me” not “Tell Me” document.

A resume with a laundry list of job responsibilities and task-driven statements only tells employers what you get paid to do.

However, hiring managers and executive recruiters want to know what you can do for them.

Your career story is best illustrated through a compelling executive resume that

…highlights your qualifications, expertise and personal brand

…demonstrates your value through evidence of bottom-line impact and quantifiable results

So, how do you communicate all these factors in an executive resume?

Well, glad you asked, here are 7 steps to get you on the right track.

 1. Have a crystal, clear profile

Your executive resume is your personal marketing tool and its main product is YOU.

The resume profile section should quickly reveal who you are, your value proposition and key differentiators.

If you’re unclear about your job target or career goal, a one-size-fits-all executive resume is not the answer.

Develop a focused, targeted executive resume that convinces and compels hiring managers to call you.

Which one of these executives would you trust as your next CFO?

Candidate A: By training and professional experience, highly qualified in financial and strategic management of business in many industries.

Candidate B: History of spearheading financial management initiatives that optimize internal operations, strengthen revenue-generating capabilities and maximize ROI for start-up companies.

 2. Showcase your differentiating traits and value proposition

Do your homework and learn how to stand out from your peers with a similar career background and experience.

Examine and extract strong statements from your performance evaluations or management feedback.

Your goal is to make an immediate emotional connection with employers, generate real interest, and entice employers to call you for a personal interview.

Which of the following candidates would you be interested in meeting right away?

Candidate A: Fifteen years experience supporting corporate IT operations and application development in complex 24×7 environments involving multi-site locations.

Candidate B: Primary architect and pioneer of groundbreaking, “first-of-its-kind” technology initiatives that reposition companies for long-term sustainability and continued financial success.

Management Commentary: “He is truly a strategic thinker who can ascertain the business challenge and deliver an innovative, technology-driven solution.”

 3. Throw away the vague, “me-oriented” resume objective

Get potential employers to take a closer look at your executive resume by pulling them in with “buying” motivators.

Instead of self-centered objective statement that screams, “I am in this just for me”, incorporate brand-focused, value statements that show employers why they need you on their team.

Which of the following candidate seems like the right fit for a manufacturing executive position?

Candidate A: Seeking a challenging leadership position in manufacturing and product operations.

Candidate B: Devising operational strategies that eliminate redundancies, increase production output, and achieve productivity, quality, and efficiency improvements in global manufacturing plants.

Work directly with Abby on your professional and executive resume

 4. Develop a personal brand statement that sizzles

There is a big difference between being qualified for the job and being the best fit.

Your direct experience and executive qualifications help employers to determine whether you can do the job.

A strong personal brand and brand statement concisely captures your strengths, value, talents, and performance drivers.

When used strategically on an executive resume, your personal brand statement has a powerful impact.

SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE

Telecommunications & Technology Services

Driving operational initiatives that propel revenue growth, expand market share, and increase competitive advantage for startup, international companies.

5. Create strategic resumes, not career obituaries

While it is essential to cover the depth, scope, and breadth of your executive experience, you don’t need a lengthy, career obituary to effectively market yourself.

Even if you have 20-plus years of experience and achievements, you can still streamline your background into a winning 2-page document.

Highlight your key qualifications without weighing down your executive resume with extraneous details.

Not sure how to handle early career experience that is still relevant to your career target?

Here are 2 strategies that can work effectively on your resume:

Choice A: EARLY COMPANY EXPERIENCE: Delivered significant contributions to company’s revenue growth and production output through Manager of Engineering & Maintenance and Project Engineer positions.

Choice B: EARLY CAREER:Held series of executive management and leadership roles including VP, Finance/Controller for national restaurant chains.

6. Enhance your responsibilities with quantifiable, descriptive details

Tell employers about the scope of your leadership and management responsibilities, but don’t drown your executive resume with every minor detail.

Powerful facts/statistics to include on your resume include

    • budget size
    • number of direct/indirect reports
    • number of divisions or branches you manage
    • sales and revenue goals
  • number of clients, local, national or regional offices

Condense your tasks to no more than 3 to 4 sentences in a paragraph, infuse with vibrant action verbs, industry keywords and leave out overused, passive phrases like “Responsible for the development of marketing plans for clients in the Northern region.”

You have limited space to tell your story; save valuable resume space for important projects, achievements, and accolades.

Before: Manage daily activities for real estate portfolio for investment management company and supervise staff members.

After: Challenged to deliver 10% return on $700M investment portfolio in highly volatile real estate industry. Oversee 15-person team and direct daily activities including ROI maximizations, client relations, negotiations and investment dispositions.

7. Add icing to your executive resume

You can tell everyone how great you are, but your executive resume is useless without concrete examples of your “greatness”.

Quantifiable, high-impact achievement statements help you sell your career story quickly and succinctly.

Don’t forget to communicate the business context and circumstances around your career achievement.

In other words, saying you grew revenues 25% in one year sounds fantastic, but if it was already growing at that pace then your actual contribution was minimal.

Which of the following candidates comes across like a powerhouse to you?

Candidate A: Saved the company thousands of dollars during first year on the job.

Candidate B: Achieved zero lost time and 100% staff productivity for 12 consecutive months for first time in company’s operating history, consequently saved company $500K.

When was the last time you worked on your executive resume?

Let the new year be a fresh start for your career and professional growth.

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Abby Locke is an executive resume writer and career transformation coach who helps emerging leaders, executives and professional women to craft compelling career narratives and standout brand profiles.

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