With an estimated 20% of C-suite – or C-suite-ready – people searching for a new role, it’s clear that there will be constant demand for any position that becomes available. You may have no chance for some of these roles. Many are filled internally, while others are filled by hiring managers who already have a candidate in mind within their network.
However, when you have a chance to submit a resume for a C-suite role, you need to know that the document does everything it can to separate you from the pack. That’s where this article comes in – learn the techniques that professional C-Suite resume writers use to help candidates land new jobs.
Tip 1 – Showcase Your Financial and Business Impact Early
Results are the hallmark of a great executive.
No matter what C-suite role you want to take, your potential employer will want to see that you can make a positive impact. Being a “hard worker” or a “business-minded leader” isn’t going to cut it – your resume must showcase what you’ve achieved quickly.
Start by thinking about what the specific role entails. In other words, what does the company want you to do in your new role? Make money? Streamline business processes? Lower operating costs?
Figure out what the desired deliverable is and showcase how you’ve already proven that you can provide that deliverable in your previous roles. Get specific with the numbers. For instance, a sales executive can highlight how they drove X% more revenue last year than the previous year.
The question is simple – how do you showcase these types of achievements?
The easiest way is to create a section – such as Key Accomplishments – under each of your previous roles where you quantify the impact you had in that role with real numbers.
Tip 2 – Set a Three-Page Max Limit
The general wisdom for resumes is that one page is good for those starting their careers, while those with more experience should create a two-page resume.
That wisdom carries forward into writing C-suite resumes with one caveat – two pages may not be enough.
If you’re a senior-level professional with plenty of experience (think a decade or more) you may have switched roles several times and have quantifiable achievements in each that are relevant to the role for which you’re applying.
In these cases, don’t limit yourself to two pages. Stretching to a third is perfectly fine if you can deliver enough valuable information to justify that third page. It’s also a good idea to add a third page if the role for which you’re applying requires extensive certification, as C-suite roles in fields like engineering or computing may.
Nevertheless, you also want to show that you’re capable of delivering vital information concisely. So, going to three pages is fine, but make that your maximum, rather than your goal. If you have more to say, include an executive summary at the top of your resume that says you can deliver further experience upon request.
Tip 3 – Tell Your Story at the Top
The top of your C-suite resume’s first page is valuable for the simple reason that it’ll be the first place to which a hiring manager’s eye is drawn.
Take advantage of that fact.
Use this portion of the document to craft an executive summary that tells a story of who you are as an executive. This isn’t your life’s story, where you chart how a young pup rose through the ranks to do amazing things, but rather the story of your ambition within the role for which you apply.
You’re telling the hiring manager where you want to go while using your experience – titles, company sizes, and quantifiable achievements – to demonstrate why you’re ready for the role.
Tip 4 – Be Concise with Your Skills
Almost all (99%) of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) to scan resumes before they ever reach the hands of a hiring manager. This software looks for specific keywords – typically mentioned in the job listing – to check that an applicant has paid attention to what the role requires before applying.
Account for the use of this software when writing your C-suite resume.
While you’ll sprinkle key phrases, such as job titles and specific qualifications, throughout your resume, the “Skills” section is your main point of focus here. Keep this section concise, with each skill you mention aligning with a skill that’s specifically asked for in the job description. Use the same language as you see in the listing, too. That’s the language the ATS will scan for when it checks your resume.
Tip 5 – Edit and Proofread Repeatedly
Spelling and grammatical errors can be the death of a promising resume.
According to HR Future, 76% of HR professionals say they’ll reject a resume outright if the cover letter contains typos or similar mistakes. That’s just for standard roles. At the C-suite level, every mistake you make is amplified because hiring managers are looking for candidates who demonstrate a keen eye for detail.
That eye will be needed when analyzing reports and determining the best future path for your department.
So, the advice is simple – proofread everything you write. And when you’re done, proofread again. Have others check the resume, too, as well as run it through services like Grammarly to catch errors. Consider the time spent here as an investment into getting a chance to showcase your skills rather than having your resume dumped in the trash before a hiring manager sees what you have to offer.
Create an Executive-Level Resume
While many of the tips that apply to writing a standard resume also apply to creating a resume for a C-suite role, it’s the specifics that’ll make all the difference. Quantifiable achievements are a must because they showcase your impact and the errors that might lead a hiring manager to reject a candidate for a lower-level role are amplified in a C-suite resume.
Don’t let the failure to adapt your resume be the reason you don’t get hired for an executive role that you really want.
With Expert Resume Pro’s professional resume writing services for executives, we’ll develop a resume that’s detailed – though concise – that you can use for your next application. We’re so confident in our work that we offer a guarantee that you’ll get your money back if you don’t get an interview within 45 days.