A CEO career is guaranteed to be rich in detail. Yet a common mistake I see CEO’s make in their resume is spending too much time writing about their work and not enough time emphasizing their results.
What sets a CEO apart from competitors, are results.
Bottom line business impacts, organizational growth, and business expansion are the big, CEO-career-wins that need to be strategically packaged and positioned in a resume to generate meaningful impact.
To hook and engage readers, a CEO resume should be less ‘here’s what I did every day’ and more ‘here are some carefully selected big wins, which align well with your requirements’.
So how can you energize your executive resume with more meaningful content? 4 big strategies to focus on:
Provide clear statements of value.
Don’t make readers guess or hunt. Large, heavy blocks of text can bury key facts and make it difficult to decipher clear value. In addition, droning on about role oversights or daily responsibilities doesn’t provide a true scale of abilities.
Instead, spoon feed the reader the facts they want, first…and add scale (size) to details. A good place to start is the resume header – which should be distinct and defined, something like:
President and CEO:
Global $45M Facilities Management | Teams to 450 | 300% Revenue Growth in 4 Years
Continue to provide succinct descriptions of performance throughout the resume, placing heavier emphasis on related metrics and achievements. Remember, less work and more results.
A content-heavy, work-focused excerpt might read:
CEO of the company for past 5 years, overseeing all aspects of company operations and reporting, including investor relations, financing, operational strategy, business development, safety, contract negotiations, , change management, treasury management, capitalization for projects, safety, and budgeting. Focused strategies on EBITDA growth and revenue expansion, increasing both dramatically during tenure. To create necessary operational cost-savings, reduced staff head count and closed down operations in one city while implementing a wage roll back. Renegotiated long-term service contracts with vendors to reduce expenses.
A sharper, results-focused excerpt which distills job tasks and showcases impacts:
In first year, realized EBITDA growth of 250% and increased production 360%. Continue to drive all aspects of national operations, including reporting, investor relations, financing, safety, business development, treasury management, contract negotiations, and capitalization of company and projects, overseeing a team of 100 and a budget of $125M.
- Expanded revenue from $1.5M to $26M over 5 years.
- Reduced employee turnover from 120% to 10% in 1 year.
- Generated $5M+ in cost-savings by reducing staff by half, closing down one office and renegotiating long-term service contracts.
Pack the file with plenty of action, and mix it up.
Vary your word use throughout the resume, both for keywords purposes and increased reader engagement. For example, starting every bullet point with the word “managed” does not provide depth and breadth of ability, nor will it excite the reader.
Instead of dwelling on ‘responsible for’ statements, drive action and energy into your file with easy to absorb ‘sound bites’ or bulleted statements with varying action words and bolded measurements of achievement. An example:
- Exceeded EBITDA target 6% in 2016 and 5% in 2017, achieving best financial performance of all districts.
- Reduced district COR $2.6M after leading the most successful tuck-in acquisition in the company’s history.
- Slashed TRIR score 35% in 2016 and an additional 15% in 2017 by establishing a safety committee to build an organically-grown safety culture.
Additional heavy-hitting, executive action words to consider: helmed, orchestrated, spearheaded, generated, reduced, engineered, secured, raised, produced, steered….
Hammer home main themes so your unique brand and offering are clear.
When we share something more than once it improves the chances of it resonating.
Repeat and reinforce key concepts, required skill sets, keywords, and personal impacts in your CEO resume to drive home your personal value proposition and brand.
The more a reader reads something, the easier it will be to remember and buy into.
If your value proposition is:
“Output-Oriented Leader Who Drives Revenue and Profit Growth through Continuous Improvement and Strategic Change”….
… then you need to reiterate achievements in these areas throughout the file. Give an example of revenue/profit growth in every role possible, and provide multiple examples of continuous improvement strategies or positive change.
Start the resume with strong statements in alignment with this branding statement, and continue the theme all the way to the very end.
The goal is to back up your claim to fame, with proof!
Improve resume reading performance.
Will your resume pass the initial 5-second scan? It needs to if you want the reader to take a second, harder look.
Make it easy to navigate the file, quickly.
This means tightening language. Shortening statements. Clearly defining sections.
It also means delivering important details with emphasis. Various design components such as charts, graphs, bolded words, larger font/text, and the inclusion of color are all good strategies to make important facts pop off a page.
Take the examples below. Here, key content is shared in unique ways, making details hard to overlook:
The ultimate CEO resume strategy is to infuse the file with content that compels a reader to engage and learn more. Details should be well aligned with position requirements and easy to spot and absorb. Avoid work basics and deliver bold results!
Want more examples of strong, executive resumes? See these resume samples.
Adrienne Tom is an award-winning resume writer with Career Impressions, where she partners with executives and top professionals from around the world to create compelling career tools. Her resumes help astute leaders stand out against the competition to secure greater recognition and increased compensation.