Here is a summary of the most common resume advice based on the hundreds of executive resumes I look at in a month:
- Context – What is your brand? And, for what company and opportunity are you targeting your resume? Clearly and quickly focus your resume on what is important for your targeted audience.
- Summary – Especially in today’s economy, you need to get your brand across. This can start with the words CAREER SUMMARY at the top of the resume. Instead of these non-descript words, use your brand: PRODUCT MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE IN BUSINESS ANALYTICS.
- Word Diet – A majority of the resumes need to remove 30% of the words so that the reader can see your accomplishments rather than dense text.
- White Space – To help reduce dense text, keep bullets to 1, 1.5, or 2.5 lines and use white space between lines and adequate margins.
- Impact – We have all learned to use active verbs. Make these relevant and impactful. Say “Developed business plan” not “Developed part of business plan” or “Part of team that developed business plan.” Be honest about your contribution but deliver it with impact.
- Marketing Spin – Look at the relevance of your message for your audience: In “Launched laser products targeted at doctors and dentists,” if you are not targeting laser companies or firms that service physicians, then only “Launched three product lines resulting in…” is important. Likewise what is more important: “Increased revenue by analyzing process…” or “Analyzed process”?
- Dates – Months are NOT needed. And, make sure dates for a company are distinct from dates for different jobs within a company so that three jobs within a company do not look like three separate jobs.
- Length – The rule of thumb is one page per ten years of work experience. Ending a resume at one-third of a page is fine.
- Additional – Include additional information at the bottom of your resume with language or technical skills, certificates, hobbies, etc. This may be the last section an interviewer scans before talking with you – and shares important information about you as a person.
- Headers – Your name and contact information on the first page should NOT be in a header. Company automated resume readers do not open header information. Subsequent pages should include header information with at least your name for when your resume is printed so pages are not mixed up on a printer.
- Cover emails – I need to add a comment on cover emails. Yes, you need to write a cover email and then include your resume – pasted below and as a Word or PDF attachment. My preferred cover email that gets read includes 1-2 sentences on why you are writing and how you were introduced, 3 bullet points of your relevant strengths/accomplishments, and any suggested follow-up or offer of help on searches.
In following this executive recruiting advice, you will have a better chance of getting your resume and cover read and your match to job opportunities understood.
Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. is working on a COO search for a consumer Internet company in Silicon Valley and a CMO and head of M&A search for a Hawaii-based venture incubator.
For more information, visit www.ullrichassociates.com. Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. focuses on VP and Director level hires across the functions of Product Marketing/Management, Marketing, Sales and Consulting for technology and services companies.
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