Your Executive Resume Checklist
Ross Macpherson MA, CPRW, CEIP, CJST

There are many resources out there that tell you how to write a resume, and most of them will help you assemble a competent document. However, when it comes to executive resumes, there's a catch:


If you think about it, they have to be. In order to position you for a 6-figure job in a key strategic role at the helm of an organization, an executive resume not only needs to meet all of the requirements of a good resume, but has to do so at a MUCH greater level and to higher and more critical standards.

In an executive resume, the writing doesn't merely need to be sound and grammatically correct - the writing, tone, and style of an executive resume needs to be SUPERB. It needs to communicate your VALUE to an organization in the most aggressive and compelling way. The readers of your resume need to see, in no uncertain terms, that you are an accomplished and successful leader with the strategic and tactical capabilities to drive a business forward. And you've got only 2-3 pages to do it.

Remember, your resume is all about MARKETING and so it needs to promote you in a way that impacts the reader. As P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion something terrible happens…nothing”. The same is true for you resume.

If you want to determine whether your resume is as good as it needs to be, the following checklist should help. Think of yourself as the person who is doing the hiring and is looking at your resume for the first time, and determine whether your resume meets the following criteria.


  • Opens with a powerful profile that clearly articulates the breadth and depth of my expertise and experience, and that quickly positions me as an above-average candidate
  • Showcases the very best I have to offer on Page 1 (if it's buried on page 2 or 3, it's as good as lost)
  • Uses the right industry “keywords” to position me as an expert and facilitate an electronic search.
  • Uses a powerful sales and marketing style that effectively MERCHANDISES my skills and value.
  • Showcases the high points of my career, those achievements that best define the VALUE I can offer.
  • Clearly positions me as a leader.
  • Spends less time discussing duties (i.e. what I was supposed to do) and more time highlighting RESULTS (i.e. how well I did it).
  • Is a high-impact selling of my career track record, and not a lengthy narrative of my work history and job descriptions.
  • Highlights only my “relevant” education, certification, accreditation, and professional development.
  • Is sharp and upscale in its overall presentation.
  • Will stand out among other executive resumes in its presentation, style, and impact and answers the question, “Why should I interview you this person over another executive with similar experience?”
  • Is dynamic, distinctive, and hard-hitting and positions me not as just another executive candidate, but as the best and most imminently qualified executive candidate

By the very nature of what they are trying to market, executive resumes need to meet these criteria. Companies are looking for the best in their executive team, and your resume needs to position you as such. If your resume does, then you are well on your way to getting the attention you deserve and your job search will be that much more successful.

All the best!

Ross Macpherson is the Founder and President of Career Quest, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and professional Interview Coach with over 12 years' experience in career development and training. You can reach Ross by emailing him at

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