As you move up in your career, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a resume. However, the more experience you have the more difficult it is to succinctly craft an impressive overview of yourself on paper. Painting a picture of your capabilities in a resume is crucial. Here are a few tips on how to write an effective senior-level resume:
Identify Dream Employers (and their pain points).
One of the biggest mistakes that senior level candidates make when writing a resume is keeping it too broad. Your resume should be directed towards a role you’d like to land in instead of a wide audience. Howard Seidel, a partner of executive coaching firm Essex Partners, warns in a Fortunearticle that:
"If you try to convey that you’re good at a whole lot of things, you can end up not conveying anything.”
Think through companies you’d be interested in working for and identify some of their problem areas. Then, demonstrate that you have the skills and experience to help alleviate those pain-points.
Show the Competition.
When you’re contending for high-level positions, it’s okay to show the competition in order to highlight your strengths. According to a Forbes article delving into the psychology of great resumes,“by showing your competition, you emphasize how coveted your accomplishments are.”
Here’s an example of how to make an accomplishment stand out with this tactic:
Original: Won the technology mentor award at NYU.
Revised: Won the technology mentor award at NYU out of over 500 nominated CTO’s.
This is especially important for achievements or awards that might not be widely known. Recruiters and hiring managers will likely not take the time to Google the award and see the true value. Include the competition to enable them to see the weight that the award holds right on the page.
Include your Personality.
As someone with multiple years of experience, you’ll likely have great skills and qualities that hiring managers are looking for. So what differentiates you from other executive or senior level employees? Your personality.
When hiring for senior level employees, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for someone that is not only qualified, but someone who will be a good fit for the company and can potentially lead a team.
Make sure that your personal brand and character come through in your bullet points. Use your own voice and add a skill or hobby that reflects something unique about you. For example, Drew Libin, the Talent Executive manager at Vettery, says adding a skill that you’re passionate about can be a great connector and conversation starter. He says, "Specific skills and hobbies stand out more than generic ones."
For example, instead of writing ‘sports’ as a hobby, add something more specific that shows a quirky side of you like ‘scuba diving’. (Make sure you put an actual hobby, though. The last thing you want is to get into a conversation on a subject you know nothing about and don’t care about.)
It’s Okay to Name Drop.
Think about your resume as a sales pitch or marketing tool. Associate yourself with big brands, partnerships, deals, etc. In Robert Cialdini’s famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he teaches that part of establishing your own authority is by showing your connection to people, brands or companies that already have it.
Strategize and Organize.
The average hiring manager skims a resume and makes a quick decision to read further or pass. Put the most important information first, as the ‘above the fold’ theory applies to resumes as well. Dr. Cherry Collier, Executive Coach at Personality Matters, INC., advises to highlight your leadership ROI:
“Establish how your leadership and management abilities directly contributed to measurable indicators of success: higher conversions, revenue and profits, less expenses and faster turnarounds.”
Another way to make important information stand out is through bolding it. Without going overboard, it’s okay to bold some of the most important parts to grab their attention and make them want to read the rest of it. The Muse recommends bolding a few of the quantifying numbers that support your skills and experiences.
Many executives are recruited and scouted online before they even have the chance to send a resume along. So you might be wondering what’s the point of putting time and effort into making one at this level?
The truth is, you never know when you’ll need to send one along in an e-mail or when you’ll need to bring one into an in-person interview.
It's best to have a killer resume on hand at all times. Besides, crafting an impeccable resume will actually help improve your online presence as well, which is key in attracting potential new employers. Once you’ve organized yourself on paper, it will be easier to organize your online presence to create a personal brand that will attract the right job.