Most Popular “How To” Executive Resume Writing Questions
Crafting a compelling executive resume that gets results isn’t easy. Many executives and professionals turn to an executive resume writing service. They spend time researching who is the best executive resume writer.
Other professionals looking for an executive position decide to tackle executive resume writing themselves. When talking to a professional resume writer, these are some of the “how-to” questions people ask.
12 Often Asked Executive Resume Writing Questions
#1 What do employers look for in a resume?
Employers are looking for people to solve their problems. A hiring manager wants to know what you can do for them.
People in similar positions at similar companies do similar things. What differentiates candidates from one another is the impact they have had on their employer(s).
More specifically, a recruiter or hiring manager wants to see how you saved time, cut costs, improved productivity, generated revenue, etc.
#2 What’s the difference between an objective statement and a resume summary?
A resume objective statement is a line at the top of the page that tells the employer what the job seeker is looking for in their next position.
For example: Seeking a position as marketing director where I can use my experience, skills, and talent to enhance brand awareness through innovative campaigns.
Summary statements replaced objective statements over a decade ago.
A resume summary is a few lines that tell an employer what you have to offer. It’s essential to support whatever you claim in this “career snapshot” in the body of your resume.
#3 How long should an executive resume be?
While there is no absolute rule on length, most executive resumes are two pages.
The rule of thumb on resume length is 1 to 1½ pages for new graduates and early careerists and two pages for everyone else.
To keep an executive resume to 2 pages, extensive information-publications, speaking engagements, fellowships, media mentions, etc.-can be included in an Addendum that is sent with the resume as needed.
#4 What are the three components to a strong accomplishment statement?
A strong accomplishment statement has three components: challenge, action, and result.
Challenges are the problems, issues, etc., you faced. They might include declining revenue, low morale, dissatisfied clients, unproductive teams, climbing costs, etc.
Actions are the things that were done. They might include redesigning processes, improving products, reorganizing departments, developing marketing campaigns, managing client expectations, etc.
Results are what happened because of the actions. They might include time saved, costs cut, revenue generated, etc. Metrics provide evidence of change — fluffy statements like “dramatically improved” sales do not.
Present achievements in bullets that begin with the metric followed by the story.
#5 What colors should I use on my executive resume?
Infusing a resume with color is an easy way to add a professional touch. As with length, there are no hard and fast rules on which colors are best.
The colors will depend on your position, industry, and personal preference.
A senior executive in a conservative industry like banking, insurance, etc., may want to stick to a more traditional resume accented in blue and grey shades. A dynamic sales executive or account executive may want to accentuate their resumes with red or orange. Those in creative fields like a marketing manager and design may choose a more colorful palette.
It’s also a matter of personal preference. Make sure you’re comfortable with whatever you choose.
#6 Can you include a strong visual that will immediately grab the reader’s attention?
Charts, graphs, word art, and other graphics are an excellent way to show metrics, highlight data, and engage readers. Visuals can draw the reader’s eye and help your resume stand out.
If you decide to include visual elements, it’s important to remember that many applicant tracking software systems (ATS) do not read graphs or misread them.
Therefore, year-over-year sales increases highlighted in a chart must be included in the resume content, diagrams, and graphs, etc. should be rendered as images.
#7 What are the best fonts to use on an executive resume?
Modern resumes use sans serif fonts, which are easier to read than serif fonts in the resume’s body. Serif fonts are sometimes used for resume headings to add interest.
While font size depends on the font selected, never use a font smaller than 10 pt. Margins shouldn’t be smaller than .5. Always opt to edit the resume content rather than using a font too small to read or margins that leave no white space.
Sans serif fonts (fonts without tails) often used for the body of resumes include Calibri, Ariel, and Cambria
Serif fonts (fonts with tails) used for headings include Georgia, Garamond, and Times New Roman.
#8 Can I leave jobs off my resume?
People are sometimes tempted to leave brief employment stints or positions with the same company off their resume. Don’t
Most employers run background checks on candidates before or after an offer has been extended. Employers have been known to change their minds, even rescind a job offer if unexpected positions, or other information, pops up.
#9 How far back should a resume go?
Recruiters and employers are interested in your current, or most recent, position and the position immediately before that. Generally, resumes should go back in detail 10 to 15 years.
Changes in technology, best practices, techniques, and industries make work experience a decade ago not as relevant.
Positions held 15 years ago can be shown in an Earlier Career section that includes the job, company, and location. Relevant “wins” can be showcased as a Career Highlight or briefly described under the position listing.
#10 Should I put a photo on my resume?
While an infographic resume template will likely include photos, an executive resume should not have a head shot. Due to concerns about potential allegations of discrimination, some HR professionals won’t consider resumes with photos.
#11 What is the best executive resume format?
Employers prefer resumes in a reverse chronological format that begins with the most current position and works backward. This resume format lets a recruiter or hiring manager see the candidate’s career progression. It also makes it easier to spot gaps in work experience.
Some candidates use a functional resume format that highlights achievements followed by a brief professional experience section in reverse chronological order to hide employment gaps. Sometimes employment dates are left off.
A functional resume format, however, more often calls attention to employment gaps rather than hiding them.
#12 What is the difference between an executive CV and an executive resume?
Traditional resumes used in corporate settings focus on skills and achievements. Charts, graphs, and other visual elements are often used to highlight information and data.
A curriculum vitae is used in medical and, in some cases, academic settings. Unlike results-driven resumes, a curriculum vitae presents professional experience as a “work history” and emphasize education, fellowships, publications, etc.
Crafting A Resume
There are many resume writing guidelines, but few rules are set in stone. Color can enhance personal branding, but the choice of colors depends. Charts, graphics, and other visual elements can help get a reader’s attention. But it’s critical to ensure the data can be read.
When conducting an executive job search, the most important thing to remember is an executive resume needs to demonstrate your value and be formatted in a modern, easy-to-scan design.
This post originally appeared on the career intelligence Resume Writing blog.