How to Make Your Executive Resume Stand Out -- The Art of the Humble Brag
Your Executive Resume as a Marketing Document
Firstly, let’s define what an executive resume is, and what its purpose is.
Your executive resume is a carefully crafted MARKETING document meant to inform a potential employer about your skills and qualifications. It communicates what you can do, what you have done, and what contributions you will make.
To put it simply, your executive resume is advertising! Whatever your occupation, when you’re out there in the job market you’re a salesperson, selling the most important product you’ll ever sell — yourself!
What Your Executive Resume MUST Include as Marketing Collateral
To be an effective piece of marketing collateral, your executive resume must include:
A succinct, compelling executive summary or profile that brings your value proposition into focus
Financial and business impacts you have exerted in each of your roles—accurately quantified
Core proficiencies outlined in your summary, and well documented in your work history
Demonstrators of your leadership, team-building abilities, and strategic vision
A sense of scale for your employers and the scope of your financial and functional responsibility
Liberal use of keywords for your functional area and industry throughout
Persuasive answers to the employer’s question, What’s in It for Me (WIFM) if I hire this person?
See How to Write a Dynamite Executive Resume for tips on writing a compelling resume, including a special section on writing your executive summary or profile.
A Major Problem with the Executive Resume as a Marketing Document
It is this sales/marketing aspect of the executive resume that stops many executives cold. To craft a resume that vividly and convincingly tells your reader why you are the best candidate for a position ventures into an area that makes many of us uncomfortable.
You may feel like you are being cocky or a braggart if you persuasively recount your accomplishments and lay out your capabilities in a way that captures your prospective employer’s interest. Yet mastering the art of the humble brag is absolutely critical to positioning yourself effectively in a competitive executive job market.
Executive Resume Writing Tips to Communicate Your Value without Sounding Like a Braggart
Make your reader like you by letting your personality come through, especially in the summary.
Omit the self-serving job objective.
Approach the resume content as a storyteller, including challenges and how you dealt with them.
Express an outward-facing (helping others) versus an inward-facing (helping myself) world view.
Include anecdotes that reflect your character and ethics.
Make sure to acknowledge the team effort that went into each of your accomplishments.
Let your reader know what drives you, and what your professional mantra is.
Don’t over-embellish, but state the facts – let the numbers speak for you.
Back up your claims with quotes from colleagues/superiors and performance evaluations.
Include performance awards and recognition received, with specifics of the criteria for them.
Avoid unsubstantiated, inflated claims.
Above all, NEVER LIE on your executive resume.
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression
Your competitors out there in the executive job market are not going to hold back in touting their skills and accomplishments, so you are doing yourself a disservice if you fail to put your best foot forward. You certainly do not want to come across as a boorish boaster, but you MUST effectively communicate your value to recruiters and hiring executives. If you don’t provide a dynamic, fact-based, quantified account of your value, the candidate who does so will get the interview.
Collaborating with an Objective Third Party to Create Your Executive Resume
One thing I have observed consistently during a 30+ year career writing executive resumes is that most of my clients tend to shy away from convincingly communicating the full extent of their abilities and accomplishments in their executive resume, or in other marketing collateral such as the LinkedIn profile. But like it or not, those who succeed in executive job search are those who best market themselves.
This is where engaging an objective third party to develop your career story and bring it to life comes in. The transformative impact on your career arising from this kind of collaboration can be tremendous.
If for whatever reason you are not able to engage an executive resume writer to assist you, a Resume Evaluation by a qualified professional can set you on the right track. In any case, do make sure that you get the perspective of at least one outside party, preferably a resume writing professional but at least a former coworker or colleague, mentor, or friend. They can provide some much-needed objectivity and may point out important things about what you bring to the table that never crossed your mind.
To learn more about how Creative Keystrokes™ Executive Resume Service functions as your personal advertising agency by creating the various marketing materials that you need to sell yourself effectively, view our Process.