Executive Resumes: Longer isn’t Better!
For executives, the challenge can be even greater.
However, if a top executive can not pare down career details by customizing and summarizing content in their resume…they risk losing the interest of the reader.
Take Derek’s example. As VP of Operations with a major energy corporation, Derek is a recent client of mine with over 20 years of progressive leadership experience. Ready to advance his career into a C-suite position, Derek was recently approached for a wonderful COO opportunity. Well suited for the role, a copy of Derek’s resume was requested. Imagine the surprise, and reaction, when Derek handed over a 21-page document. Jaws dropped and not in a good way. Derek was advised to get a proper resume in order….and fast! Big oops.
Here’s where I came in. Derek approached me for resume help but tough love is what he got. With detailed career experience and rich results, summarizing his executive work history seemed like an impossible feat to Derek and he struggled to let things go. Yet it needed to be done.
It is common for executives to cling to details and want to present all the facts, but letting go of content is critical to making an impact.
Modern executive resumes have evolved into strategic marketing documents. They condense, refine, and precisely define value in relation to each reader’s needs. Gone are the days of complete career chronology. To avoid smothering the reader verbosity must be abated.
With this strategy in mind, Derek’s new resume was designed to include top achievements only, strategically narrowing and tailoring content for the audience’s requirements. Derek’s resume may have been all about him…but it wasn’t meant for him! Although executive resume length can vary, to accommodate each individual’s background and targeted position, a general rule of thumb is to showcase just 10 to 15 years of high-level leadership experience.
Typical executive resume length? 2-3 pages. Work history that is 15+ years old, especially non-leadership-focused roles, should not make the cut.
In Derek’s case, 15 years of work history were sufficient to properly position his leadership story. The result? Derek’s 21-page career chronology was transformed into a powerful 3-page ‘marketing brochure’ which was gladly accepted. He is currently in the interview stage of the executive hiring process.
The moral? Refusing to tailor content, sharpen facts, or hone work history can negatively influence the hiring process. Even executives with robust careers need to demonstrate value – quickly and succinctly – in their resume.
When it comes to an executive resume: quality of content far outshines the quantity. As I stressed to Derek – less can be more!