You would not create a gourmet meal and serve it on dirty dishes. So why would you conduct a multifaceted job search campaign with outdated, ineffective resume?
If you have been conducting a targeted job search for more than two months and not generating any results that you want, it is time to evaluate your existing resume.
Review some of the basic mistakes that could be hampering your job search.
Is Your Resume Too Short?
Are you one of those die-hard executives who is still abiding by the one-page resume rule? While there are innovative, one-page career marketing documents like the Networking Resume and Career Biography, your standard executive resume should not be squeezed onto one page.
If you downplay your career progression and cut out critical information to get it all onto one page, you run the risk of appearing extremely under-qualified. While your goal is to keep the resume content succinct, concise and brief, if your career story is compelling and accomplishment-focused, then developing a two-page resume is more than acceptable.
Does Your Resume’s First Page Stand Out?
Generally, you have about 30 to 60 seconds to make a great impression to a potential employer. Don’t make the mistake of filling your resume’s first page with heavy detail that does not support your qualifications, experience and expertise. Information like education, certifications, associations and volunteer work take up too much valuable real estate on the first page. Instead, use the first page to strategically draw the reader with strong personal branding statement, career highlights and core competencies.
Does Your Executive Resume Contain Too Much Fluff?
If you have opted to include a summary of executive qualifications, key achievements or an executive profile, avoid adding “fluffy”, superfluous statements that don’t add value like these:
Great problem solver concerning customer relations, inventory management and cost containment. Demonstrates superior leadership through conceptual thinking and strategic planning. Articulate communicator with expertise in professional presentations and key professional relationships.
These statements are very general, they can be used by anyone, and they really do not communicate any differentiating value between you and your competition. Try powerful statements like these:
• Forward-thinking strategist able to structure contract agreements, financial investments, and joint ventures that increase business growth and minimize financial losses. • Broad-based expertise with marketing to diverse cultural and ethnic groups in untapped, domestic, and international markets.
Do Your Achievements Stand Out?
Don’t make the reader work hard to determine if you are the right candidate. Your executive resume is a career marketing document that needs to effectively “sell” you to potential employers.
When your career achievements and high-impact accomplishment statements are buried among your daily or overall responsibilities, you can easily be overlooked as a viable candidate. You can draw attention to major career achievements in several formats:
Try writing an umbrella statement with quantifiable successes that really show your problem-solving and leadership capabilities. In both examples below, you would place the statement before the actual job description.
Developed a healthcare consulting services company from startup to fully operational in just nine months; grew annual revenues from zero to $5 million in first year.
Performance Impact: Introduced innovative process improvement initiatives that automated 45 processes, shrunk operating costs by $500,000, and eliminated 100% of manual, time-consuming tasks.
You can also use hard-hitting, bulleted statements that really stand out like these examples below:
• Delivered $13.5 million savings in general and administrative expenses by conducting extensive review of corporate and field human resources operations. • Reduced annual HR expenditures 50% by eliminating duplicate costs, creating benefit efficiencies, and reducing employee training costs. • Decreased staff turnover 20% and boosted employee satisfaction by implementing targeted recruiting, retention and human resources enhancement programs. • Lowered annual benefit costs for two consecutive years by introducing managed care approach to employee health care plans.
Does Your Executive Resume Show Your Personal Brand?
Adding a personal branding statement to your executive resume helps to manage the readers’ expectations right from the beginning. Think about your professional reputation, your unique attributes and the consistent trend of career accomplishments; use that information to write strong, memorable branding statement and include it as part of the title header on your executive resume. For example a Manufacturing executive may have a branding statement like this:
SENIOR MANUFACTURER EXECUTIVE
Engaging cutting-edge technologies to advance corporate-wide initiatives, expedite manufacturing processes, and achieve aggressive revenue/cost objectives.
An Operations executive would emphasize his leadership and management capabilities in a branding statement like the following:
The Profit Builder: Systematically improving internal systems, strengthening operational processes and mobilizing vital resources that propel companies into stable, profitable entities.
If a career move is going to be on your list of your New Year’s resolutions, take the time now to get your executive resume and career marketing documents in order. It may be time to just toss your existing resume!