See Your Experience through the Eyes of Your Audience

If you’re like most of my executive clients, you’re probably looking to take your career to the next level

If you are, I’m hoping you aren’t making the biggest mistake I see your peers making. They limit themselves to describing their experience from their level only, when in fac they need to see their experience through the eyes of their audiences. If you’re looking to grow, I strongly recommend you change the way you think about your experience.

Two different ethnic men’s eyes closeup

First, look top-down rather than bottom-up.

When it comes to writing a winning executive resume, shift your focus from ground-level changes to impactful, executive transformation. After all, as a true leader, you make things happen through others – both direct reports and peers. By describing the ways you deliver broader organizational results from your seat down to all of the people who report up into your team, you showcase your management and leadership skills in a much more meaningful way. This powerful technique starts with the big picture and then drills down into specific team accomplishments.

Now, if you really want to wow your audience, move your lens from downward-facing to upward-facing.

Talk about the ways you’ve influenced the top-level audiences like the C-suite and the Executive Board.

You might talk about:

  • Innovation
  • financial strategy
  • marketing
  • strategy
  • governance
  • operations and cost controls

or any number of transformations that yielded significant turnarounds.

From there, add greater detail, zeroing in on the initiatives that made these experiences profound successes. You now have a complete story, with a challenge—the situation you were facing, an action—your specific contribution, and a result—exactly how the company benefitted from your wisdom.

More than giving your resume depth and color, these multifocal stories help your C-suite and board understand that a) you know how to do what they need you to do, and b) that you’ve solved similar problems before. You’re showing them–not telling them–that you are exactly the kind of expert they need to hire right now.