4 Tips to an Executive-Level Resume (and What to Leave Out)

4 Tips to an Executive-Level Resume (and What to Leave Out)

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Corporate job searches aren’t what they used to be. The competition for these jobs is fierce. Of course, there will be a lot of unqualified individuals applying for the same position as you. However, there will also be many people that are just as qualified—or more so—than you.

In the massive stack of resumes, how does yours stack up? Many recruiters use software to cycle through mass amounts of resume data to help them get their shortlist; will your resume stand out to this software?

This article will discuss a handful of tips and best practices to follow when it comes to crafting your resume. It’ll also show you a few things that you should leave off your resume or change.

Tips for an Executive-Level Resume

1. Evaluate Your Work History

Once you’ve worked your way into an executive position, you’ll typically have a career full of experiences. These experiences are things that have caused growth and molded you into the leader you are now.

As you brainstorm and remember these experiences, write them down. Once you’ve gone through your list, it’s time to narrow it down to which ones to include on your resume.

When deciding which experiences to share on your resume, think about how the recruiter will perceive your value to their company. After you’ve decided on what you’re including on your resume, using a formula to measure and quantify metrics is vital for demonstrating the value. 

2. Language Use Is Important

Using passive language when writing articles or books doesn’t create strong writing. The same is true on your resume. 

Your performance at a company is tied to your contributions through actions. Using strong, active verbs when describing your past performance looks much better and may rank higher if software scours your resume.

Here is a few examples of the type of verbs to include to show exactly how your past performance benefitted other companies:

  • Executed
  • Developed
  • Initiated
  • Consolidated
  • Yielded
  • Accelerated
  • Expanded

3. Show the Recruiter Your Qualifications

Keywords are important on the web and are important on a resume. What’s even more critical on an executive resume is that those keywords demonstrate why you are the one for the job.

You should include a section on your resume called Area of Expertise, Core Proficiencies, etc. Keywords you include in this section should shout executive.

Some examples of things to include:

  • Result-driven
  • Project management
  • Brand development
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Problem-solving

There are many different proficiencies that you could include. The ones you use depend on your experience and the role you’re applying for.

4. More Info Isn’t Better

There’s so much information, and it may seem like a good idea to include all of it. That isn’t the case, though. When it comes to a resume, less is almost always more.

This is why the initial steps of looking back on your work history and using strong language are so important. The goal is to write a strong, concise resume that gets you the interview. The interview is where you can elaborate a bit more on the information the recruiter wants to know more about.

What to Leave off Your Executive-Level Resume

What hiring managers and recruiters look for on a resume has evolved over the years. The resumes you used five to ten years ago aren’t the same as today. Expectations have changed and with that, so do our resume writing tactics. 

Here are a few things that you should leave off your resume or, in some cases, bring up to a more modern standard. 

Job Objective

Once upon a time, your job objective was front and center at the top of your resume. When you apply for a specific position in a company, whoever is reading your memory knows what your objective is, based on the position—this is especially true at an executive level. 

Alternatively, a career summary is a suitable replacement for the objective. When writing a career summary, keep our next tip in mind.

Outdated Information

You may be proud of earlier accomplishments and skills you’ve picked up throughout your career. However, if there are new skills more relevant in your line of work, you’re not doing yourself any favors by bringing up outdated skills you have.

The big idea is to focus on relevant skills and information on your resume. For example, if you’re adding a career summary instead of a job objective, ensure you keep it concise with only relevant information. 

Past or Expected Salaries

The first rule about salaries is that we don’t talk about salaries—on your resume. You may not even get to the negotiation stage if you leave past salary information on your resume or include your expected salary.

Let’s say you include an expected salary of 110k on your resume, but the recruiter was prepared to offer you 120k. Do you think there is any chance you’ll get that 120k offer if they know you’ll take 110k? Highly unlikely.

As a general rule, until it’s time for salary negotiation, you shouldn’t be talking about salaries.

Personal Information

It’s illegal for employers to ask for personal information such as age, marital status, or sexual orientation. So, there’s no need to open yourself up to discrimination. Unless the information is relevant to the job you’re applying for, leave it off.

This includes all personal information, hobbies, and even your mailing address.

Distracting Formating

Keep it simple. Depending on the company you’re applying at, the recruiter may look at tens or even hundreds of resumes. They may even be using an application tracking system (ATS)

Suppose you’re using rich formatting like headers or footers, charts, graphs, etc. In that case, it’s likely that it will get scrambled and not translated correctly in the software. Once this happens, there’s a good chance your resume gets passed over.

Creating an Executive-Level Resume

There’s no formula to creating a perfect resume and guaranteeing a job. However, by following some best practices and leaving out the things the recruiters don’t want to see, you give yourself an edge over the people who aren’t taking the time to craft a great resume.

If you’re unsure whether your resume will make the cut, reach out to us today and see how our career advisors can help polish your resume until it shines above the rest.


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