This post originally appeared on my CEO2CEO blog, but I figure it has some usefulness for the future CEOs of the world. That’s you – but you might not have gotten your first job yet. Stop grumbling about the economy and read on…

I looked at a senior executive’s resume today – something I never do, but he is such a nice guy and his Teamability was so good, I figured I’d do it, just for research.  He’s a consultant now, but he’s been in senior management the latter part of his career.  With the economy improving, he’s on the prowl and some lucky company is going to get him.  After he fixes his resume…

So I’m going to offer my advice here, in hopes that if you are looking for a new C level job (or any job for that matter) that it will help you too.

First, put your address on it so it doesn’t look like you are living in your car. I know you have a lot of experience and you want to cram in into two pages because somewhere there is a ‘two page rule’, but really, this is not the place to skimp.

Then think about a better title or tag line.  No one will read everything you wrote because resumes are inherently boring, especially compared to some of the funnier jokes your friends sent you today or you read on your intern’s monitor.

Put your industry right up there in the title.  I know you want to appear flexible but executive recruiters care about industry.  A lot.  That’s how they make money, specializing in an industry.  So get it on there.

Also use the title you expect or want.  Like Lord High Executioner or Ruler of the Queen’s Navee.

So your title will be something like Chief Financial Officer, Aerospace Industry, or Senior Organizational Development Leader, 18 years in Banking.  Don’t use a number if you think it isn’t a good one.  (I don’t know what a good number is.  This is something you need to be comfortable with.)

Rework your opening summary paragraph so it doesn’t sound like Dogbert wrote it.  (I like Dogbert but you have to make this very concrete because it isn’t being read by people like us.) Short sentences.  Really.  People don’t read…  Okay, make that most people.  And they are screening your resume.  Make.  Them.  Happy.

Then make the bullet points pop.  Make each one count and make them very different.  No Dogbert.  No hackneyed words.  If you don’t know what words not to use, read Dilbert.

Be more specific on Core Competencies, if you have a section with them.  Make it reflect you and no one else.  If we were talking sales we would be talking differentiation.

Now you’re ready to prune your list of past employment.  Be brutal.  Only keep what will keep the reader reading.  That’s a summary statement, what you did, how it made the company happy.  That’s it.  And leave off your first jobs if they don’t contribute anything.  Same with non-degree training and such.

Now you have room to GIVE ME MARGINS!!!  People who actually might want to talk to you want a place to make notes.  Or doodle.  Whatever, it will look better.

And remember, especially if you are a senior executive, that the hiring manager reading your resume is likely to have ‘significant experience’.  That’s HR-speak for ‘old enough to need reading glasses’.  So pump up that font.  Please.

And good luck!

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