Starting to write your executive resume?
Many business people sitting in chairs and looking at papers
You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to produce a standout document – especially if you have decades of experience to cover.
I recommend taking a step back to look at your value proposition and contributions from throughout your career, framing your story step by step. Not only will this aid you in writing your resume succinctly and clearly, but you’ll be in better shape when it comes to fielding interview questions.
Consider using these 5 tactics to mine for career and personal branding in an executive career (the same steps employed by professional resume experts):
1 – Interview Yourself.
Ever stopped to ask yourself the same critical questions thrown at you in an interview? Most people don’t. However, you’ll find that providing answers to these queries is a great pre-writing exercise for developing your executive resume.
As a first step, note your responses to these common questions:
- What do you offer that makes you a competitive candidate?
- How have you changed company operations, revenues, or market share for the better?
- What do you expect to be accomplishing in your first year on the job?
- How have your previous positions prepared you for this role?
Next, take your answers and fold them into the summary section of your new executive resume. You should have a list of key qualifications and an impression of the ROI you’ve generated, as well as an idea of your future contributions, from this exercise.
2 – Include Your Top Success Stories.
If you haven’t made a list of your top 10 career hits, now’s the time to do so. In fact, don’t stop at 10! Continue on until you’ve documented the best examples of your leadership abilities and reasons for promotion.
To include these in your executive resume, consider using a format such as C-A-R (which stands for Challenge-Action-Result) to show the situation you stepped into, the actions you took, and the resulting outcome for your employer.
When you add success stories like these, you’ll find these narratives will resonate far more with a prospective employer than a tired listing of job duties and divisional responsibilities.
3 – Answer The “Why Should I Hire You?” Question.
Consider this: when an employer makes an investment in you, they’re automatically rejecting the talents of every other executive candidate. They’re also taking the chance that the expenditures needed to hire you will result in serious ROI.
When you form your answer, think in terms of what this employer will gain? What can you deliver faster (or to higher-quality standards) than other candidates? Will your teams be more well-trained or responsive? How will you take the company’s needs seriously — and produce results attuned to their internal and external customer requirements?
You don’t have to supply a grandiose response to use it in your executive resume. Simply list the unique qualifications and capabilities you bring to the table, then further illustrate these competencies with success stories (see #2 above), and accolades from others (see #4 below). Back these skills up with metrics showing your results in cost savings or profit.
4 – Poll Your Colleagues.
Here, you can put the feedback from bosses, customers, and co-workers to good use. Chances are good that you’ve received kudos from the Board, within customer responses, on your LinkedIn Profile, and via email from colleagues. This information needn’t be contained in a formal recommendation letter to be valid; you might spot a pattern in the abilities that others have noted in their commendations.
Take a few minutes to summarize these accolades for use in your executive resume, pulling in a sound bite such as “Commended for hiring employees later promoted to SVP and VP roles.” You can also use a quote from a former boss or subordinate, shortening it for clarity and noting the job title of the source (such as “Peter’s skill in Lean Six Sigma has allowed our operation to become 34% more efficient.” – COO).
5 – Mine Your Performance Reviews.
Most performance appraisals are set up to outline your achievements and supply you with personal feedback. No matter the content of your reviews, these documents are useful in tracking projects and results you may have overlooked in your resume-writing process.
If your performance appraisals contain metrics for key projects, you can use this information to show trends in your results against aggressive goals. You might also find key initiatives or contributions that you’d forgotten to note in your resume. In addition, look at the personal notes listed by your supervisor, as this information may be useful in producing a sound bite (as described in #4 above).
In summary, these pre-writing exercises can help extract the right data for your executive resume – while giving you a shot of confidence in the process!
Take the time to examine your career successes and develop branded success stories and details worthy of your leadership career.