Executive Resume Suffocation

Is Your Executive Resume Suffocating Your Chances?

Text-Heavy Resumes are Sinking SearchesIt happens frequently โ€“ an executive asks me to review their resume and offer quick input and insights. Often these same executives share that they are flummoxed because their resume isnโ€™t generating results: โ€œall I’m hearing is cricketsโ€. If a glance at the resume shows copious content with detailed work histories from the past 20 to 30 years in excruciatingly dry and dull verbiage with tiny font, dense paragraphs, and line after line of bland text – the answer is clear. The resume is suffocating their chances.

These old-fashioned executive resumes are packed with dusty content โ€“ to the point that suffocation occurs, and opportunities are snuffed out. Recruiters look at some of these 10+ paged resumes (cough, cough, yes, you read that right!) and think, โ€˜I don’t have time to wade through all of this content to find value”. Then they move on.

Hence the reason these applications are being met with dead air.

Executives, you may have a long career to tackle in your resume (which isnโ€™t easy), but not every detail needs to be included, and not every role needs to make the cut. To avoid smothering your audience with unrelated text and burying your greatest achievementsย  โ€“ employ these simple, modern resume approaches:

Be succinct

Keep the length in check: 2 to 3 pages is the average length of an executive resume. Yes, sometimes resumes are shorter or slightly longer, but there should never be content on the resume that isn’t adding value to the application. Additionally, avoid heavy narratives in the resume – the reader doesn’t have time to absorb dense paragraphs or long-winded stories. Use more high-impact statements that get to the point.ย In a resume, less can be more.

Focus on recent work history

Whittle down career history in the resume to the last 10-15 years. If you are applying for a top role, your most recent experiences are likely more valid and interesting to the reader. Entry-level positions are a thing of the past, so unless these earlier positions offer something unique to share, they may not need to appear at all. If earlier history is really important to the job target, remember to keep it short. Consider creating a separate “Earlier Career History” section and briefly touch on the top points.

Include white space

Spread things out and give the text some breathing room! And no cheating with tiny font. Resume readers typically only spend a few seconds to minutes initially scanning each file. To ensure you capture and keep their attention, you want them to get through as much of the file as possible and be able to spot key details. Dense text is hard to skim and absorb, so if a resume looks hard to read, it may not be read at all.

Focus on results

Strip away the expected and mundane. Instead, use space wisely to sell what sets you apart.ย  Demonstrate that you have the skills needed to succeed in the target job by sharing clear and specific examples of applying these skills to good outcomes. Modern resumes focus more on results and less on daily job tasks and activities. It is important to share how and why you are different from your competitors. Write your resume like a marketing tool.

Drill down to the details

Demonstrate why you are the one the employer needs and provide the proof to back up your claims! Quantify your impacts as much as possible by aiming to answer: how many, how much, and how often. For example, if you raised revenue, share how much and over what time: “Grew revenue 26% YOY by….” . The more specific you can be with your examples, the fewer questions a person will have when reading your file.

Polish the look

In a resume, content is king, but the format is still important. There is no need to make your resume overly fancy in look, but do ensure the format is modern, eye-pleasing, and easy to follow. Employ design components to highlight top achievements and strategically spotlight important details. Something as simple as bolding key impacts can help these details pop off the page.


Focusing on the simple steps above will breathe new life into your resume. Itโ€™s time to stop suffocating your executive career chances with heavy, lengthy content and dry dull details. Do not extinguish your chance to advance.

Need more executive resume tips and modern trends to help support your search?ย Try these:

Is your text-heavy resume sinking your job search?

Executive resume trends for 2023

FREE resume improvement guide!ย 


Let me help you write a resume that gets you noticed for top jobs! Reach out.ย 

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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