Executive Resume Trends 2020-Part2

Executive Resume Trends for 2020 – Part 2

In Part 1 of executive resume trends for 2020, I detailed the importance of crafting a leadership story, showcasing coveted leadership qualities, and sharing SMART statements.

In this installment, I’ve asked the resume-writing community to share insights on resume trends for 2020 along with best practice resume strategies.

You can view all of their tips on LinkedIn, but here are the highlights of 4 commonly noted resume trends for 2020, along with 2 go-to strategies that are standing the test of time. The great news is, these tips and trends apply to all levels of resumes; not just executive-level files.

2020 Resume Trend: Share Your Story


As emphasized in Part 1 of the series, storytelling plays a heavy hand in the creation of a strong, modern resume. Yet, storytelling doesnโ€™t mean long-winded or excessively detailed career files. In fact, to better resonate, a resume story is best shared concisely and strategically, integrating appropriate language and well-aligned examples to better spotlight personal value. Colleagues agree:

Marie Zimenoff: There is a continued trend of telling stories in resumes – concise, yet with context for differentiation – and using more authentic language instead of corporate speak (this does not require pronouns, although they may be appropriate depending on the audience).

Emily Lawson: New trend taking off? Storytelling.ย More resumes include statements based around a value model like SAR, CAR or SOAR to frame out examples to include quantified metrics and more detail, bringing it to scale.

Betty Kempa: I concur with storytelling being a trend that is really taking off. ย Especially as it relates to writing a killer resume summary to include at the top of the document.

Lezlie Garr: Now that ATS are more sophisticated, meaningful storytelling has become much more of a focus, and visual resume aspects, which were once strongly advised against, are now making a huge uptick in popularity. Using these intricate details can help to elevate one candidate over others.


2020 Resume Trend: Write Shorter and Sweeter


Building off the first trend is a reminder that less can be more in a modern resume. Yes, specific details are preferred to convey a level of expertise and ability, but too much of any one thing is not a good thing in a resume. ย This year, aim to keep your resume focused on what matters most, sharing important facts with fewer words. Deliver details in shorter โ€“ and more absorbable โ€“ sections and statements. Find a balance between too much and too little.ย 

Bob McIntosh: Two rules that have taken hold. One, easier to read and digest by writing shorter word blocks–one to two lines, maybe three. Two, an emphasis on value, always value.

Virginia Franco: New-ish trend: Summary sections that are increasingly brief. Keep bullets to 2 to 3 lines, add a bit of white space in between to ensure your documents read just as well on a screen as in print.

Rachel Maxcy:ย As a career coach and a recruiter, I have come to appreciate the simple chronological resume with SMART examplesโ€ฆI don’t know about current resume trends, but simpler and easy to read is my preference.

Dierdre Rock: Conciseness! A resume is a synopsis, not a short story.

Cheryl Simpson: So true Deirdre Rock, I love taglines for that reason. They are so powerful and succinct when wordsmithed well and focused on the right data.

Ashley Watkins: The theme of “less is more” definitely holds more weight in the modern job search too. Less of task-based statements and way more focus on the outcomes or bottom-line impact.


2020 Resume Trend: Apply Strategic Colour


Gaining traction in resume creation is the strategic use of colour. Note the word strategic. Colour in a resume can add both interest and assistance to the file, but too much colour โ€“ or odd colour combinations โ€“ can be a turnoff. ย Research your industry and try to identify what colours (if any) might be appropriate to use in select doses within your resume and then apply colour with care.

Cheryl Simpson: A resume trend I see gaining more ground is using color in strategic ways — not just using color, but leveraging it draw the reader’s attention to the info you really want them to see. Color in resumes has been on the rise for some time, but it really seems to be moving into the mainstream of late.

Skye Burke: For me, the new-ish trend is adding some professional โ€˜personalityโ€™ to the summary section with a splash of colour for visual appeal. The key to remember is that although a document may first be screened by a robot, it will eventually make it to a human reader.

Erin Kennedy: I like color to section off or highlight different areas.

Marie Zimenoff: Yes, more color and graphics are trending – and there is neuroscience behind their effectiveness – AND, because they have powerful attraction, they must be used strategically to highlight key content, not take away from it. You can design a resume that works with ATS (bots) and uses design elements that research shows improve readability!


2020 Resume Trend: Add Testimonials


One way to boost resume details is to add in some social proof. When we buy a product, we often read reviews. This same strategy can work well in a resume, providing the reader with outside opinions that reinforce value. When selecting testimonials, it is important to ask yourself: does the recommendation or testimonial align with your brand and value? Avoid showcasing information in your resume that doesnโ€™t completely support your qualifications and offerings.

Maureen McCann: I love the addition of testimonials, “John was the best CEO I ever had the pleasure of working beside.” These are not as valued as quantifiable results, but they add a third party testimonial that may lend credibility to your application.

Erin Kennedy: Hyperlinking to their LinkedIn profile. (this is another great way to share ‘testimonials’ – in the form of recommendations.ย  If you have strong recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, point readers towards them by adding your LinkedIn URL on the resume.)

Angela Watts:ย As a Recruiter, I find that the testimonials help humanize candidates and often provide soft skill insights that are often lacking in resumes (especially technical resumes). Additionally, if the quotes align with how the candidate is described in their branding or summary, their credibility and self-awareness increases significantly in my eyes.


Now to spotlight 2 go-to resume writing strategies that are holding steady for 2020 and beyond.


Test of Time: Emphasize Results


Every modern resume needs results. Yes, you read that right โ€“ your resume needs results to increase effectiveness. Employers read resumes with one primary question in mind: โ€œHow can you help me?โ€. Without proof (results/achievements/accomplishments) resume readers may struggle to assess level of ability and competency. Donโ€™t leave employers guessing or questioning โ€“ share your very best career details with them, emphasizing results. Even better, quantify results as often as possible and consider leading with results in statements.

Skye Burke: My go-to strategy (among many) is to ensure accomplishment statements are robustly quantified to tell a story of results, not just duties.

Lezlie Garr: A tried and true strategy that continues to work is to demonstrate achievements, results, accomplishments, contributions, etc., using specific metrics to define those successes whenever possible, and using deliberate formatting to make sure they stand out against the rest of the resume content.

Kamara Toffolo: My go-to strategy is with how I approach writing accomplishments on resumes. I drill down by asking tons of questions until we get to the ultimate benefit of an accomplishment. For example, improving a process might seem like a benefit in itself, but if we take it further, we might find that it saved X% of time, or maybe even $X.


Test of Time: Always Customize and Align


Youโ€™ve likely heard it before, but it bears repeating: general resumes donโ€™t work. As we head into 2020, this caution holds steady. To increase resume success, content needs to be customized and carefully aligned with each targeted employerโ€™s requirements. Write resume content in an โ€˜apples to applesโ€™ approach, and every time you apply for a job this year remember to customize resume content!ย 

Maureen McCann: My go-to-strategy: read the job poster, thoroughly, and use it as a guide to follow when crafting your resume for a specific position. The organization has given you a ‘cheat sheet’ in essence. Use this to your advantage. Align your resume to the needs listed in the job poster, and you’re sure to garner an interview.

Emily Lawson: Create content around a framework that gives each reader in the recruiting funnel what they need to move you forward as a candidate. (Referral, ATS, HR, Hiring, etc.) >> In a nutshell – know your audience and understand the needs of the job you are applying forโ€ฆclearly communicating, in your resume and cover letter, how you are exactly what the employer needs for that job will get you more traction than any trend that may come or go.

Lezlie Garr: Itโ€™s important to reiterate what others have already said because itโ€™s so true: the most effective resumes are those that target a specific audience and speak to a specific job or type of job – instead of just serving as a general laundry list of career experience.

Betty Kempa: Go-to resume strategy is always to edit each resume to TARGET the role you are going after. ย Go through the job posting and ask yourself what examples/accomplishments you might have related to the job posting bullets. Did you give a nod to this in your resume? ย The resume isn’t a laundry list of your job history…. it’s a targeted marketing document that should resonate with your audience (the hiring manager.)

Kate Williamson: Go-to strategy is positioning the client for the role that they want, not the one they have (unless they are the same thing). By staking a claim on the role that you’re targeting, using a branded headline, you help cement your overall “fit” in the reader’s subconscious before they have even met you.


Got a comment or question about executive resume trends in 2020? Iโ€™m here to help. Reach out to ask, or share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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.


  1. Tilaak Goswami on January 13, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Thanks Adrienne Tom,
    Good topic, classified, means to highlight high performing storytelling but presentable executive trendy resume discussion.

    One more thing, it’s for my side, having with 15 years of FMCG Diary, F&B products zone sales and
    6 years 3 months ITSM, SCM, Senior PMO, in Consultancy firm BFSI products & Consultant experience
    as well as 9 years Freelance work in deferent domains consultant expertise,

    Think, the above stated matter would fuel it up.
    Hope, it shall help me to produce CV in domestic and CA markets too.

    Tilaak Goswami
    EMBA Senior Consultant
    Management, BD, Sales, Marketing, Change Lead

Leave a Comment