In this article, we are going to share seven easy to fix reasons your Executive Level Resume isn’t working.
We define an executive resume as a resume used to apply for six-figure jobs. In most cases, this resume will be used for Director, VP, and C-Suite Careers. An executive level resume is very different from a traditional resume due to the expectations of your hiring manager.
Typically, recruiters and hiring managers screen six-figure earners much harder than lower-income earners. This is why you need to bring your A-game.
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1. Poor resume formatting
When it comes to your resume format, there are a few rules of thumb that are important to follow.
Excessive Font Use
Two different fonts should be the absolute max. One for headers and one for the rest of the text. Sure, you can make some things bold or italicized, but try to avoid using more than two font types.
- I can’t tell you how many executive-level resumes I see that are overcrowded. A resume with practically no margins and size eight font is going to be a pain to read. You should attempt to control where the reader’s attention is focused on by using clean spacing, bolded headings, and easy to scan content.
Way Too Fancy
As of August 2017, traditional resumes are still the best. I have noticed a lot of “new” executive level resumes lately. They tend to be very graphic, full of charts and visuals. While those might look appealing, they are hurting your chances of landing the job. Applicant Tracking Systems are not advanced enough to handle these types of resumes resulting in a swift rejection.
Find the best executive level resume styles, headers, fonts, and themes.
2. Objective instead of summary
If you haven’t already heard the news, objective statements are dead. They passed away many years ago and sadly, not everybody got the news. Fortunately, summary statements came in to ease the pain.
The main difference between an objective and a summary is that your objective will tell the reader what it is you are looking to get out of your next role. The summary will tell the reader what it is you have to offer for the role.
Sadly, nobody cares what you want anymore. They want to know what you bring to the table. It’s just not the job seekers market like it used to be. Adapt, or be left behind. See all the details on how to write a great resume summary statement.
3. One-size fits all resume
Customize your resume to reflect the job description. As much as I wanted to avoid this section entirely, I wouldn’t be doing you any favors. While this is just about everybody’s least favorite part, it is truly one of the most important pieces that will set your executive level resume apart.
Before you apply, read through the job description. Highlight the skills you have and the responsibilities you have experience with. Now, make those skills and responsibilities apparent on your resume. All you have to do is re-word the bullet point from the job description and use it on your resume including the main key words used in the job description.
For more on resume keywords, check out this article.
4. No quantifiable achievements
As an executive, you should have a huge selection of quantifiable achievements that you can display on your resume. The last thing anybody wants to see is a resume explaining the job duties of a “Job Title.”
I can promise you that if you are applying for a VP, Marketing role, the hiring manager has a pretty good idea about what kind of work you have done in the past.
Instead of listing out daily responsibilities that will be almost identical to your competition, list out achievements that will blow them out of the water.
- Increased sales 250% first-quarter 2017
- Rewarded #1 Marketer and Presidents Club Winner 2016
- Improved customer acquisition rates by 33% via successful email campaign
5. Typos and grammatical errors
Typos and grammar errors are pretty self-explanatory. These are big no-no’s and do not reflective positively on your executive level resume.
We won’t spend a lot of time on this section. Instead, I will provide you with one life-changing application that will improve your writing and correct your grammar automatically. Grammarly.
The length of your resume is also very important. There is a ton of discussion surrounding the web on how long your executive level resume should be.
Some say five pages, some say one page. We believe that your resume should be somewhere in between.
After surveying over 500 recruiters and hiring managers, we discovered that the average suggested page length for a six-figure earner is 2-3 pages. Here are some additional tips:
- List only relevant work experience.
- Avoid job duties. Instead, quantify achievements.
- Use bullet points that take up 1-2 lines max.
7. Your resume alone is not enough
At the end of the day, your executive level resume alone won’t cut it. You are going to need to put a lot more effort than simply applying to a few jobs with your new resume.
Networking, referrals, and a ton of hard work paired with a high-quality executive resume is the recipe for success. If all this sounds a little overwhelming for you, don’t worry.
There are amazing services out there such as Find My Profession who can take care of your resume, networking, referrals, and do the hard work for you while guaranteeing interviews.