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Executive Resumes: Are You Job Hunting With An Expired Tool?

resume, great resume, professional resume, professional resumes, write resume, resume help, resume confidentialThis is a guest post by @AbbyLocke.

The first month of the New Year is always buzzing with activities as we convince ourselves that this will be the year that we finally get it right. You know the usual resolutions, lose those pesky 20 pounds, find a better job, start eating healthy food and exercising.

In fulfilling your efforts to make good on your “new job” resolutions, you have to pull out your professional resume; there is a lot of talk about resume becoming extinct, but here we are in 2013 and employers and recruiters still need your resume before they meet with you or schedule an interview.

I want you to think of your resume as your personal marketing tool – the product it’s selling is YOU, so your career story must be compelling, explain your benefits (not features) and peak the interests of hiring managers.

A tall order for a document, but it can be done effectively if you keep these five resume strategies in mind:

A. Have A Clear Target In Mind

A lot of job seekers kill their job search before it really gets started by casting a super wide net; you cannot be attractive to every employer or be qualified for every job opportunity. So determine your ideal job and tailor your resume accordingly and remember to keep the employers’ needs in mind. Take the time to understand the job/industry requirements and only highlight relevant experience, qualifications, education, training and projects that fit with the job.

B. Have An Opening That Stands Out

Avoid a lengthy, wordy and generic resume summary that uses a ton of keywords, but does nothing for you or potential employers. Combine a title header, personal branding statement and a brief value-driven summary that captures attention and highlights your value in 30 seconds or less. Here’s an example:

SENIOR EXECUTIVE
Delivering High-Level Strategic Vision, “Out-of-Box” Business Innovation And Rainmaker Expertise To Niche Market Companies

C. Learn To Do More With Less

When we start talking about resume length, there’s always that catch-22 – how to make it long enough to cover your work experience, but short enough to not get lost in the pile. For starters, don’t, don’t, please don’t squeeze 15+ years of work experience and achievements onto one page UNLESS it’s a trimmed down networking document.

A standard, two-page resume is fine and yes, even if you have tons and tons of work experience, you can still develop a brief, but effective resume. Consider these quick tips creating an ideal length resume:

  • Keep the more current and relevant content for the first page of resume
  • Draw substantial content from positions you held in past 15-20 years
  • Summarize very early work experience in a brief paragraph
  • Put education, training and certifications on resumes first page only if critical to target position. For example, a project manager would list PMP certification next to his/her name
  • Take a deep breath and break any emotional ties to career story, if it is not RELEVANT or ESSENTIAL to your job target, be brave and let it go

D. Allow Your Career Achievements To Sell You

Resumes with a laundry list of tasks, responsibilities and “to-dos” are not impressive and don’t speak real value; focus your resume on your career achievement and company contributions as these show how well you have done the job.  

E. Be Prolific With Your Career Story

When conducting your job search, you will always need paper and electronic resumes, but remember to leverage other resources to market yourself, online and offline.

  • Develop your resume in Word, PDF, and ASCII (text)
  • Extract key highlights of your career background and achievements into a branded LinkedIn profile or networking resume

Remember, the resume is simply the key that opens the door for further in-depth conversation, but it still has to compelling enough to warrant a phone call or a closer look.

Thanks slightly everything for the photo via Flickr


Written by: Abby Locke
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes

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