Is 2016 your year to land a new executive job? You’ll need to be ready with a fresh executive resume tuned to this year’s trends. This is especially important if you’ve tried to add executive experience to your old resume, without thinking through the strategy on your document or considering how your career story appears to employers. These tips outline what you’ll need to do (and know) about executive resumes in 2016 — with fresh insight on next-generation, professional resume writing trends:
1 – Conserve your words.
Do you know what happens when you see a long paragraph? Your eyes hit the first few words, then read a few in the middle, then travel to the end. As a result your resume’s long qualifications summary will get only a cursory glance. The trend in 2016 will be short, snappy taglines (think headlines) – giving employers a brief snapshot of your goals and qualifications instead of wordy sentences. Accustomed to reading resumes on a smartphone, recruiters look for quick examples of your effectiveness and notable credentials. In fact, you can eliminate a traditional qualifications summary and simply use a powerful, achievement-based headline (“Global Growth From Strategic Staffing, Operations, and Sales Improvements”) on your resume.
2 – Show your impact on the bottom line.
Money talks. If you can’t quantify the results of your work, it’s time to do some digging for facts. Metrics showing how you’ve cut costs, improved margins, conserved staff, or boosted sales are all attention-getting factors in getting your resume read. At the executive level, employers are interested in your impact on the company, not just one team or department. Prove your ROI as a new leadership hire with specific, quantifiable results spelled out in crisp, clear detail.
3 – Describe the context and backstory behind your career.
Earned promotions faster than your colleagues? Built a legacy of accelerated delivery or growth in your career? Sought to rescue flagging projects as a turnaround expert? If you’ve been able to get results where others stumbled, be sure to describe these accomplishments in your 2016 resume. Employers are not just hiring a collection of skills, but searching for a total solution that includes your reputation, personal work style, and tendencies – including your ability to step into the unknown and resolve business challenges. You can spell out these details by inserting context valuable to your story. As an example, this Enterprise Account Manager resume shows that the candidate “attained significant territory growth (despite recession) in cloud, VoIP, SaaS, DR, and infrastructure solutions” and reached 170% sales results after he “dispelled misconceptions” about the company’s product lines.
4 – Eliminate generic, “fluffy” writing.
Rather than writing an adverb-filled resume qualifications summary with no point, you’ll need to ensure a direct tie-in to your actual experience – giving recruiters a break from reading the same-old descriptors. As an example, the phrase “highly accomplished executive focused on bottom-line results” is barely effective at best, but only if followed by “18% year-over-year revenue gains” or “Millions cut in OPEX, despite company expansion.” Too many resumes rely on a generic description of skills and personal qualities (often prompting an eye-roll from recruiters). Make yours stand out in 2016 with examples relevant to the hiring audience.
5 – Get to the point.
No one – employers, company owners, recruiters, or HR personnel – has time to wonder what you offer as an executive candidate. Punch up your resume by declaring what you’re seeking and showing how you’re qualified to take it on. This CEO and President resume, which won an award in late 2015, shows a clear message of leadership and context (“EMEA, Americas, & APAC Influence” combined with “eliciting top performance at startup, PE-backed, private, public, and independent companies”). By ensuring every word in your executive resume is tuned to your career goal and qualifications, the hiring audience will know exactly what you’re pursuing and why they should contact you.
6 – Pump up your visual presentation.
Many resumes can benefit from a shot of color and innovative formatting; however, not every executive resume needs a four-color infographic. Consider your audience when tuning your resume to 2016 trends; an employer in a conservative industry might prefer a toned-down presentation, while a marketing leadership resume can spark interest with an unusual color and decorative borders. For example, a CFO resume might employ various shades of black and gray, pulling in blue for borders and a chart depicting growth trends.
7 – Use a consistent personal brand message on social media.
Nothing dilutes your personal brand message more than presenting one set of leadership skills on your LinkedIn profile or Twitter bio, with a different set of qualifications on your executive resume. After taking the time to build a strong personal brand message for your resume, transfer the overall message to your social media profiles, including keywords (skills) to help boost your traffic. Remember that recruiters may find your content online first – and therefore, your metrics-driven, accomplishment-rich resume data should exist in both places. Include URLs and links to company projects, awards, and other career accolades in both your online profiles and documents.
Your best strategy for an executive resume in 2016? Realize that trends change according to the methods used by employers to find and vet candidates. Concise, achievement-specific career details are a must for attracting attention, followed by innovation in your executive resume format and approach.