Constructing an Executive Résumé

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Nick Livingstone.



The ‘War for Talent’ intensifies day by day and the competition for executive appointments and C and D level job roles are still high. The résumé presentation process has now become even more crucial in making you stand out from the crowd.

People forget how important a résumé actually is, until they need it! It is like your passport! Just as you can’t travel overseas without an up-to-date passport it is harder these days to obtain a job without an appropriate résumé.

The résumé is not exclusively to showcase your credentials and your successes but to also articulate leadership roles such as Managing Director jobs and your personal brand. At an executive level, the résumé should portray you as a credible business proposition so that you can cut through the pack and be selected for interview.

Questions to consider include:-

How can you add extra value to the next company you are targeting? 
What differentiates you in terms of your approach and ethos? 
When it comes to the senior management team structure, how can you dovetail into the next position?

These answers, if communicated well enough, will strengthen your pitch.

Recently we have seen a shift in how résumés are written and how clients interpret them. Many people feel their résumé should market them through a list of past roles and activities, believing these are the only touchstones of their ‘proposition’ to a prospective employer.

One obvious limitation is if most of the other 150 applicants for the position also submit similar résumés which consist mainly of long, historical lists of past career details. This leads to very little in differentiating the applicants if they’ve all been operating at a similar level. It’s vital to articulate your most recent and relevant skill set elegantly, succinctly and with ‘punch’.

You should show the reader exactly how your management style can be utilised to deliver in your next role; with authority and precision, augmented by any specialist industry acumen.

Your résumé should pitch you heavily in the HERE AND NOW in terms of your brand, with past achievements being consolidated in a more rationalised and concise way to back this up. This is largely an exercise in re-interpreting your career history into a more modern, tighter selling tool. When creating your career section, my advice is to focus on desired outcomes as much as possible.

People often think achievements are best measured on a résumé by figures, and although they do work well to break up pages of text, the analysis, decisions, and implementation of strategies to deliver the figures is more powerful.

Explain what effect your achievements had on the company or your team. Try for weighty, original achievements - for instance, if you were instrumental in devising and piloting a new sales initiative for your firm which proved such a success it was rolled out nationally, then expand on it, as this carries more weight than “Responsible for exceeding sales target by 11% in year one”. Try to add as much detail as possible on the circumstances of your achievements too, e.g. “within the APAC market that the organisation historically had no presence within or impact on”.

A helpful tool is to use Situation, Action and Result (SAR) to demonstrate achievement which had an impact on productivity, sales, and/or profitability.

 It’s vital that you pitch yourself at the right level – in some companies there is a large gulf between the remit and responsibilities of a middle and senior manager. It you want to pitch up a level, use your professional profile and skills section to showcase your potential.

Overall, a management résumé is so much more than a record of information. It should be a compelling profile of both you and your ‘offer’- a purposeful sales document to eclipse others in the pile.

If you require further advice on constructing an Executive Resume or would like to find out more about Redline Executive’s services please contact Nick Livingstone on 01582 450054 or email info@RedlineExecutive.com.

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