Executive resume strategy

Executive Resume Strategy: Employ a Business Mindset

An executive (let’s call him Martin) approached me, looking to step up to a vice president of operations role at a major international organization. The company had expressed interest in him but wanted to see a formal executive resume. That’s where I came in.

Martin and I worked together to unearth his related career achievements, define supporting metrics, and nail down his value proposition. In a week, I had a new executive resume ready for his review.

He loved it. Exceptโ€ฆ

He thought the resume should includeย more content beyond the current 2-page format. His reasoning? He wanted his entire 30-year career history present.

Martin felt deeply attached to his career roles and was proud of each experience. The trouble was earlier career details were unrelated to the executive-level target. He risked “watering down” his message and weakening the resume’s impact by including unrelated content.

As an executive resume writer, I see many professionals mistakenly view their resume as a career chronology (everything theyโ€™ve ever done) and not as a strategic career tool. Shifting perspectives isnโ€™t easy, but itโ€™s necessary for resume and job search success. Your resume may be about you, but it isnโ€™t meantย for you.

What Martin wanted to see on his resume didnโ€™t matter. Instead, he needed to employ an important executive resume strategy and put himself in the reader’s shoes (the employer).ย  He had to imagine what they wanted to see and feed them the details that mattered most.



Keep Personal Preference Aside; Employ a Business Mindset

I urged Martin to approach his entire job search like he would a business project. He would need a clearly defined plan of action, executable steps, a focused target, and a sharp sales presentation.

That’s where the resume comes in. If a resume is written with the end goal in mind and aligned with a prospective employerโ€™s needs, it presents you, the candidate, as an essential business solution. Ask yourself: Is your earlier career history going to help you “seal the deal?”

Martin agreed his earlier details weren’t relevant. He let go of his personal preferences and agreed to strategically position resume details for the reader. He stopped worrying about his desires and put the employerโ€™s necessities first.

If you find yourself falling down the same rabbit hole as Martin, here are three core requirements to keep your executive resume focused and on track:

1. Know your audience. Have a job posting or a job target in mind, and alwaysย write for that audience. Always.

2. Know yourself.ย Yes, the resume isnโ€™t meant for you, but it should specifically point out your qualifications and value-add. You canโ€™t sell something you donโ€™t understand. If you arenโ€™t sure what your unique value proposition is in relation to the job, seek help from a career professional to sort it out.

3. Know what matters. Ensure you have a solid grasp of modern resume trends and requirements. Successful resumes need value, clarity, targeted content, qualifications, achievements, and metrics, all packaged in a succinct format. If you struggle to unearth and compile things independently, commission support from an expert.

Executives, approach your resume strategy with a business mindset to reduce personal bias. By considering the needs of your target audience, resume content will remain focused, thought-provoking and engaging.


This article was originally published in Forbes.

Another important strategy for 2023: Go beyond business results in a resume. Read my insights in this Forbes post.

Adrienne Tom

Looking to get noticed for top jobs? I can help. Visit me online at CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume and LinkedIn writing services that helped C-suite executives, VPs, and directors land top jobs at billion-dollar companies, start-ups, and everything in between. โšœ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ. Everyone has value to offer employers. But conveying this story in a modern, succinct executive resume isnโ€™t easy. I can do this for you. โšœ ๐—œ ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ท๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜ โ€˜๐—ฎ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒโ€™. I'm often told that my process is as valuable as the final documents. People feel more empowered and confident after our work together. โšœ ๐— ๐˜† ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ. I hear amazing success stories from my clients. For 15+ years, I have written hundreds of executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles that generated increased recognition and escalated earning power for my clients.

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