What’s Different About Executive Resumes?
An executive resume must cover more ground than a resume for managers. In addition to documenting the executive’s ability to deal effectively with financial management, develop new marketing initiatives, improve processes, cut bloat, and mentoring juniors etc., an executive resume must show excellence in at least three additional areas wherever possible. They are:
Strategic vision and implementation:
- Does your resume show how you identified new long-term business, economic or social trends and effectively prepared your organization to thrive in the midst of them? For example, if you are a bank CEO, did you anticipate and position your bank to profit from the growth of online banking or the rise of bitcoin?
Helicopter quality – the candidate’s ability to zoom in from the big picture to identify and change the key factors in a situation.
- Does your resume show how you identified and changed the key elements of a complex business problem? My favourite example was the Army officer – with no previous experience in helicopter, tank or armoured personnel carrier maintenance – who found himself responsible for overseeing equipment maintenance for an entire division, including a helicopter group that had never delivered full readiness. When he delved into the manuals and talked with mechanics, he found that the mechanics had been using one readiness standard for years without realizing they were being graded on a higher one. Changing the passing grade solved the problem instantly.
Crisis Management – In crises, senior executives must be able to make quick yet solid decisions with the company’s future at stake.
- The job ads tend not to list this as a requirement, but if you have ever managed a major crisis, telling the story can give you a big leg up on your competition – as one of my clients found out. He was an electrical engineer specializing in developing electrical control systems for railways and subways and was leading the development of an innovative electrical system for a new subway line for one of the world’s top 20 subway systems. They were very close to the deadline when the subcontractor building the critical junction box connecting the older electrical system with the new line’s improved system said they couldn’t deliver. Within two weeks, with the entire project at stake, my client designed and built the junction box himself and met the commissioning date.
You might be thinking: “But I don’t have anything this dramatic in my work history.” That’s what my electrical engineer client thought until I asked him the right question.
Call me and let me ask the right questions that bring out forgotten executive accomplishments.
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