January 3, 2019

It’s the Little Things: Strengthen Your Executive Resume by Focusing on the Details


If you’ve ever been on a job hunt before, you likely know the importance of details — but do you know which details to include on a senior-level resume? A professional resume writer may be able to help you with formatting, length, and similar concerns, but even they don’t know the details of your work history.

When you’re applying for a senior-level position, strengthen your resume by including these critical details:

Showcase Your Expertise

Your skills from your previous jobs may not correlate exactly with the position you’re applying for. If this is the case, then you should only list the most relevant areas of your expertise.

Looking at the job description, identify certain keywords that apply to your expertise. Then, make sure those keywords are prominently displayed on your resume — e.g., emphasized in your career summary, bulleted skills list, branding statements, etc.

Hyperlink Your Online Profiles

The majority of employers will search for your online profiles before even contacting you for an interview. Make their job a little easier by providing them with links to your LinkedIn and any other profiles you’d like your future employers to see. Just be sure to clean up your profiles beforehand so that only the information you want to be visible is. In today’s marketplace, your online presence can make or break your status as a candidate.

Balance Your Resume Design

The best resume formats are those that stand out without going overboard. The perfect balance incorporates white space and forgoes big blocks of texts. Your reader should glance quickly at the resume and notice something different about it. Even a two-second pause is enough time to get the reader interested. Don’t be afraid to add a little color, as it can help bring out your personality.

Highlight Your Credentials

You don’t want to bury your credentials, especially if they are required for the job. Display your credentials with the rest of your education section. If you have letters to display after your name, proudly do so! Don’t be shy. Show the reader what degrees or certifications you have!

Utilize Keywords Effectively

It’s important to use unique keywords that stand out, rather than general ones used by every other applicant. Instead of saying you are a “team player,” write about a specific project in which you were a team leader and had to collaborate with others in your organization. The exact keywords can come from either the job description or the industry you work in, but the focus should be specific and unique. Potential employers look for keywords at the top of every resume, so be sure to put them front and center.

Control Where Your Readers’ Eyes Go

The strongest resumes rely on two different facets to be effective: a quick visual appeal that hooks the reader at first glance, and interesting, relevant content that keeps the reader engaged.

Bold, italic, and underlined text are easy ways to draw your reader’s attention to important points of your resume, while bullet points can make content digestible. Consider integrating them into any section that has three or more sentences. Without these small visual cues, the information you want employers to see may go entirely overlooked.

Focus on Your Most Recent Experience

Your experience should be listed in chronological order, but it’s rarely important to go into detail about places you worked at 15 years ago. Instead, focus on the most recent and relevant experience you have. Be sure to quantify your accomplishments, since numbers tend to make more of a significant impact on hiring managers.

The details make a huge difference in the effectiveness of any resume, and you don’t want to overlook anything. By incorporating these critical details into your resume, you’ll have a stronger and more engaging document for a potential employer to read.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.

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Erin Kennedy, MCD, CERW, CMRW, CEMC, CPRW, BS/HR, is a certified executive resume writer and career consultant, and the CEO of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She is a nationally published writer of and contributor to 16 best-selling career books. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious Toast of the Resume Industry (T.O.R.I.) Award. She is also one of only a few professionals worldwide to achieve the coveted "Certified Master Resume Writer" distinction. With more than 18 years of writing experience behind her, Erin has written thousands of resumes for every career level and every industry.