How To Write An Executive CV: Top Tips

By | January 13, 2014
Length
The length of an executive CV, most of the times, should not exceed 2 pages. If you are afraid that by leaving off some information you are “cutting muscle” of your resume, you might end up with a historical representation of your career that adds no value for the recruiter. Also, it is always worth checking if you can use a more succinct wording to describe your work achievements. The art of shortening a resume to include only the information relevant to a position is not easy to master, once you get there though, you will be surprised by the impact of your resume.

Portfolio managementA good executive resume should be focused on the target positions or companies.  This practically means that you may need more than one resume. For example, if you have experience in accounting and investment banking (more than one function) or a strong knowledge of more than one industry, you should write different resumes for each one. According to Louise Fletcher, Recruitment expert, this practice allows you to focus only on the aspects of your expertise and experience that match the employer’s needs. You can also achieve greater consistency throughout the resume and make it more coherent.

Except for your resume(s) your career “portfolio” should include an updated Linkedin profile, executive bios (in varying lengths) and letters for different occasions (networking, follow-up etc.).

Clear value proposition

Dartmouth-College

A unique value proposition not only serves as your personal branding but also saves recruiters’ valuable time. Most importantly, it helps employers understand fast who you are and why they should consider you for a role. To make your personal statement unique, start by taking off over-used phrases such as “results-oriented” and “great communicator”. You will know that your personal statement is powerful when it indicates clearly what you can bring to a company and what makes you stand out.

Context

It goes without saying that an executive resume should list quantifiable achievements -for instance “increased sales by 10%” rather than merely describe responsibilities. In this example though there is something missing. In order for your reader to really appreciate your achievements, you need to put them into context.  Try to rephrase “increased sales by 10%” to “reversed a four-year sales decline and increased sales 10% in the first year”. This simple tweak in wording makes a big difference in terms of how you showcase your achievement.

Focus on the present

Many executives feel their CV should market them through a list of past roles and activities, believing these are the basic elements of their ‘proposition’ to a prospective employer. This leads to very little in differentiating the applicants for a position if they have all been operating at a similar level. You need to articulate your current skill set with past achievements being consolidated in a more streamlined and succinct way to simply back it up. Pitching your CV heavily in the present tense is largely an exercise in reinterpreting your career history into a modern selling tool.

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