Employment Writing AdviceEmployment, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2009

Composing the Executive-Level Résumé

In the ever-competitive career world, the executive level career field is a whole 'nother ballgame when it comes to applying for and landing jobs in the over $100K realm. With the big bucks and greater responsibility of such positions comes the necessity for a bigger and better presentation when applying for such jobs. In short, the executive-level résumé is not the same animal as the plain, concise document that lower totem pole positions might present.

Breaking the cardinal rule

First off, the executive-level résumé is not limited to one page. While most all résumés in the less than executive realm rarely need to be more than a single page (unless you've got 20 years of work experience to present), the executive-level résumé gives weighty details for potential employers to peruse. Additionally, a few meaningful sections are added for the executive's résumé that aren't on other run-of-the-mill résumés.

Summary statement

The summary statement is often wrongly used by résumé writers, stating some generic job desire one has, replete with career field buzz words to fill it out. However, the executive-level résumé should be a succinct sales pitch in a sentence, letting potential employers know just who they are looking at. Essentially, if someone asked the executive to explain their career life and highlights in a short, descriptive paragraph, the summary is it.

Core competencies

This bulleted list of five to ten strong, relevant skills is a snapshot of your full professional experience. In essence, you want to brag about your most impressive abilities here, not simple tasks like administrative duties or general skills, like "prospecting for customers." You want meaty, detailed descriptions of important job functions that show the employer you know your industry inside and out.

Highlight those accomplishments!

Naturally, everyone should be listing professional experience on their résumé. What's vital to the executive-level résumé, however, is not just the what, where and when, but the accomplishments that you achieved while there. Executives need to boast, boast, boast their greatest accomplishments in the professional experience section, making sure to include important statistics like sales numbers and quotas reached and exceeded, awards gotten, promotions given (and how quickly), etc. It's a dog eat dog world, so employers are typically looking for the best of the best for their exec positions—you must show them that that's you.

The rest of the document

Of course, Education and Organizations and Honors are certainly still meaningful categories to include on your executive-level résumé, or any résumé, for that matter. What's key, again, is pointing out any extra, outstanding things about that education. Were you on honor roll or Dean's List? Did you receive any specific awards or get accepted into elite programs while in college?

Military experience and fraternal organizations are equally as important when it comes to the Organizations and Honors details. Many a bond has been struck by an interviewer when they learn the potential new exec they are questioning is also an ex-Army man or Freemason. Don't miss the chance to point out such associations—they can give you that extra edge.

Cover your bases

Finally, always package your executive résumé with a strong, positive cover letter highlighting your most impressive abilities and accomplishments. That letter should be a tightly written, one-page document that truly sells you as the best choice for the job. And finally, don't get discouraged when you don't land a job in the first few weeks, or even months, of your search. The executive-level job field is highly competitive and specialized, but with a strong résumé and perseverance, you're bound to land that next top-notch position in time!

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