Executive resumes for CEOs are held to a higher standard on multiple levels. An effective CEO resume must deliver metrics-driven accomplishments while having visual appeal, an organized message, and a clear focus.
A CEO resume needs to deliver its message with an “I know who I am and where I am going” type of spirit. The executive resume must show respect to the reader by clearly outlining the CEO’s value.
Some CEOs mistakenly include everything but the kitchen sink on their resumes in the hope that another executive will view their career history and know where to put them. Often, this kind of resume signals a CEO who has not conducted a pre-search, someone who just “wants to explore the market and see what is out there.” These CEOs would do well to consider how a little context relative to their focus can directly impact their results — and almost always reduce frustration and misunderstanding in the market.
Here below are three points to consider as you (or you and your executive resume writer) develop your CEO resume:
1. Keywords and Summary Statements Aligned With Your Ideal Next Role
One of the most important things to remember is that the keywords at the top of your CEO resume create the reader’s initial perception of you by defining alignment and scale. You need to help the reader understand and appreciate your capabilities and career focus at a cursory glance.
For example, you could say:
Transformational Leader | CEO | Business Development
But this is much clearer:
CEO | $1B+ Manufacturing | Transformational Technologies | Strategic Growth Initiatives
Additional key points may include elements such as:
3 Successful Mergers & Acquisitions
Teams to 1,000
Multiple Board Appointments & Advisory Roles
2. Understand That You Control the Reader’s Eye as It Scans Your Executive Resume
Your CEO resume needs to be effective at both a cursory glance and a deeper read. Every time you bold something or put it in a different color, you are essentially saying: “Look here! Now look here! And look here!”
To this end, please bold only those things to which you want to draw the reader’s eye first. These should be “soundbites” that include size, oversight, and 1-3 main accomplishments.
3. Front-Load the Metrics
As a leader, you demonstrate your achievements by beginning with the results you have realized — not by beginning with your actions or activities. Beginning a bullet with your results says to the reader, “Hey, I understand what you want to read because I am a leader.” It sets perceptions and builds confidence (in you). It also makes the conversation more fluid, creates excitement during the interview, and helps the reader picture you achieving similar results for them.
Here are a few examples:
Drove $500M revenue in 24 months leading major turnaround
Generated $90M through establishing a new division
Produced $35M in annual contract revenue spearheading 3 new service rollouts
These are advanced resume points that you as a CEO must be aware of as you develop your executive resume. Understanding how your written communication sets perceptions will give you the executive edge that many other executives lack.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford founded and operates the No. 1 online executive resume writing service for VP to CxO executives worldwide (maryelizabethbradford.com).