Even those with a high level of job security need to keep their resumes fresh, and this involves more than adding each new accomplishment and award to your list as you receive them. Too many professionals let their resumes sit for years without a major reformat. Keep your executive resume fresh and market ready with these three tips.
Review the Layout
Start your resume update by taking a look at the big picture. How does the document look at a quick glance both on paper and on the screen? Is there enough white space? Is information arranged in easy-to-digest portions? Does the most important information stand out from the rest? Modern executive resumes need to look appealing, drawing readers? in and encouraging them to find out more.
Avoid large blocks of text that are hard to read, and be sure to have your most important accomplishments accentuated near the top of the front page. Use bullet lists to make the most important facts stand out. On average, resumes only get a six-second glance from hiring managers before being passed over, so consider adding infographics, charts or graphs to make the information on your executive resume more accessible.
You may be "successful," "professional" and "accomplished," but so are most others applying for executive positions. Clean up your executive resume by removing these generic adjectives and replacing them with power words that highlight your specific accomplishments. Power words are active verbs, such as "increased," "coordinated" and "built," that specify professional achievements. For example, instead of saying that you are an accomplished fundraiser, state that you coordinated yearly fundraising campaigns that exceeded organizational goals by at least 10 percent for the past five years.
While you are at it, remove past jobs and certifications that have nothing to do with your career goals. Companies hiring for executive positions likely don't care about your past entry-level work. Stick to those things that show directly how you are prepared to benefit the companies to which you are applying now.
Focus on Culture
Organizations increasingly focus on job candidates' fit with their company culture, and this is especially important at the executive level. No one wants a new manager who is clueless about how the company works or who wants to move things in a completely different direction. Take the time to learn about the values and mission of the companies you are aspiring to join, and be sure your resume is in line with those values. If possible, talk to others who work at those organizations, and ask them what they value in management. Share your matching values and beliefs on your executive resume.
A great resume has an attractive, contemporary layout and uses active verbs to quantify career achievements. Improve your executive resume by streamlining your layout, adding graphics, and removing generic descriptive words and phrases. Get in the habit of reviewing your resume regularly to ensure it is ready in the event of an unexpected layoff or a surprise opportunity.
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