Article, Secrets For A High-Calibre Executive Resume by Sharon Graham :

Secrets For A High-Calibre Executive Résumé
Sharon Graham, CPRW, CEIP, CRS, CIS


With the intensely competitive job market for senior-level professionals intensifying, executives find themselves campaigning against hundreds of contenders for one position. Most do not make it to the short list because their résumés are uninspiring and ineffective. If you are an executive, your résumé must market your value effectively. Here are some secrets that you can use to develop a high-calibre résumé that will effectively sell you.


Most recruiters receive numerous résumés, which they scan briefly. If you want to be seen and selected, your résumé must present you effectively enough to be noticed even at a glance. Start by creating a strong power statement that concisely articulates your value proposition. Showcase yourself by communicating in quick, dynamic way your status, qualifications, and the unique value that you bring to the position.


In order to be selected on perusal, you must have a keyword-rich résumé. Keywords are not overly used soft skills such as "communication," "teamwork," or "negotiation." Nor are they obscure industry jargon and acronyms. Keywords are specific, hard competencies that you may bring to the position. You may offer specific strengths covering areas such as start-up ventures, business expansion, turnaround management, strategic partnerships, or mergers and acquisitions.


In your résumé, focus on accomplishments, rather than responsibilities. If an organization is in the market for an executive to fill a position, it only makes sense that the hiring decision maker already knows the job duties. Make your résumé accomplishment-rich to show off your distinguishing features. Aim for a minimum of ten examples that demonstrate your expertise. Focus on accomplishments that highlight leadership traits such as strategic planning, business reengineering, competitive market positioning, financial management, margin improvement, and market development.


To encourage readability and marketability only include your very best achievements that demonstrate your value proposition. Use a concise action/result formula to write succinct achievement stories that can be easily followed and retained with only a cursory read. In a brief phrase, outline the actions you took in order to achieve an objective. Follow this phrase up with another short statement outlining the result of your actions.


Using the above formula, an effective accomplishment statement may sound something like this: "Spearheaded a key strategic alliance with a leading technology vendor, enabling the organization to streamline product offerings, slash inventory levels by 15%, and increase revenue by $15.4 million in the first year alone."


Note in the example above, the action verb "spearheaded" is employed at the beginning of sentence for added punch. Use powerful action words to show your leadership capabilities and avoid repeating the same verb too often.


Note that as an executive, you must know and use numbers to communicate your results clearly. When you cannot use exact or estimated figures, try using percentages and other hard facts to highlight what you will bring to the company.


In your résumé, only your most impressive and relevant qualifications should be highlighted. If used sparingly, italics, bolds, and bullets can help you to make important points in your résumé stand out. Do not highlight items excessively and make sure that there is an appropriate amount of white space on your résumé so that your pitch will be clearly apparent to someone scanning your résumé.


Professional résumé writers know that there are few rigid rules that work in every situation. They market a unique value proposition for every leader. So, use these secrets effectively to make informed decisions in developing your résumé. Your ultimate goal is to create a résumé that enables you to beat your competition with an effective marketing document that is far superior to the rest.



Sharon Graham is a certified professional résumé writer, employment interview strategist, and author of Best Canadian Résumés. She assists job seekers though her consulting firm Graham Management Group, and is executive director of Career Professionals of Canada.