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Do’s and Don’ts of Executive Resume Writing

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How to Write an Executive Resume That Targets Executive Search Consultants

Executive resume writing has long been the subject of experts teaching the tricks of the trade. The good news is that there are things that you can do to make your executive resume more attractive to search consultants. But beware - there is nothing that can dress up a mediocre track record to make it look stellar.
 
Executive search consultants want to be able to grasp information quickly – they see thousands of executive resumes in the course of a year. They don’t want the long introduction, the obfuscating descriptions or the emotive words, such as "a results oriented executive with hands on experience of managing growing companies" (a statement which has communicated very little).
 
Instead there is a lot to be said for simplicity, clarity and clear targeting. A short description of jobs held, indicating size of company, responsibilities and major achievements will quickly help the executive recruiter to make some summary judgments in the screening process.
 
Do’s and Don’ts in Executive Resume Writing

Do:

  • List positions held in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top).
  • Use bold type fonts to highlight the company name and the position that you held (position can be in italics).
  • Keep it short - preferably one page, but as long as it reads quickly then by all means use two.
  • Highlight key achievements.
  • Include bullet point information describing the nature and size of the organization.
  • Include academic prowess.
  • Add a great (but very short) cover letter customized to the reader describing why you warrant attention; even better send the letter first without the executive resume – that way you stimulate interest without giving away too much information up front.

Don’t:

  • Indulge in introductory statements about your career or your career goals (do that very quickly in the cover letter - then you can modify each letter according to the reader).
  • List every achievement in your college and high school career.
  • Use long-winded narrative.
  • Employ generic descriptions of your achievements – be specific.

 
Common Misconceptions: Search consultants are interested in all details of your career; search consultants have time to read and assimilate information; the executive resume is crucial to opening the door – it often isn’t, but the cover letter may be.
 
Executive resumes don’t get jobs, you do; therefore work out how to communicate what makes you different or special. Also, don’t forget that headhunters are a different audience to a potential hiring organization.

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