The One Thing Your Executive Resume Has to Convey
The one thing your resume should represent is you.
You probably don’t realize that your resume is a tool to sell yourself. You are the product that companies want to ‘buy’ or invest in. The document itself is a lot like a marketing brochure. It has more information that a simple calling card, but it is not your complete career record. While not everyone has a background in sales or marketing, you have to think about yourself as the product and your resume as the promotional item.
Your ultimate marketing tool is also your first impression to some companies. Your resume needs to show that you are competent in your career and you would be the best candidate for the position. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, and failures, to open yourself to the library of expertise. Any one section of your resume should clearly display that you have what it takes. Once you’ve spent the time to think about it, you need to figure out how to turn that into words. Not being able to write your own resume with wonderful results is not a handicap or character flaw. Writing a resume is hard, not everyone can write an effective one. Resume writing is a craft. Looking at your accomplishments objectively is not an easy task. You need to ask the right questions to get the necessary answers and sometimes, the best way to do that is to hire a professional.
Format Your Brochure
It shouldn’t actually look like a brochure, but a clean and well-organized document. The well-organized resume considers the following:
- Don’t worry about including too many details – keep your resume to a reasonable one-two pages in length. Specifics should come out in your cover letter and during the interview.
- Order your resume with relevant information. If some of your work experience is not related to the industry you are applying for, you have two options. You can either discard that information from your resume, leaving it up to the interview to bring out any details that might have been relevant, or you can move it to a different section outside of your experience. Personally, I organize the experience by “related/relevant” and “other” while paying attention to length. If you are pushing into three pages, it may be time to cut some details.
- Education is important but you need to highlight the experience. Most of the positions you will be applying for will want to see the experience base before considering your education level.
- Don’t list every job, accomplishment, volunteer position, skill, or certification you’ve ever held. Be selective when ordering your resume. Again, this document is not a comprehensive report about your life but a short brochure about what makes you the best person for the job. Accomplishments should take precedence over responsibilities.
- Skills should be displayed briefly in place of your objective statement.
- Unique personal details are fun but don’t always belong on your resume.
- What makes you the best in your field? What unique strengths do you have that no one else does? Use those descriptors instead of an objective statement. Most employers will not spend more than five seconds on a resume containing an objective statement. The reason for that being corporations do not want to hear the things you expect from a job or your intentions of the resume. That should be shown on the document itself.
With all of that in mind, you should also do some research about each company you are considering. Not every position or employer will want the same information brought to the top. Think about what the most important requirement is, for that company, and tailor your resume for that requirement each time.
Your job, in the creation of your resume, is to focus on your value and skills. Talk about your value, not what you are looking to get out of the deal – that part comes later when you are negotiating your contract. You want something that is memorable – like that cat food commercial you can’t get out of your head. You’re more likely to buy that brand of cat food because you remember it from the commercial than you are any other brand. It works similarly with your resume. If there is something on that document that sets you apart, the employer will remember it.
Overall, your resume has to convey you – your expertise, what sets you apart from the rest, and what makes you their top choice. If you struggle with creating a resume for yourself, there are people who enjoy crafting these types of documents – use them. Hire a professional that you feel confident with in order to create that lasting impression of you to any employer.
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor