Executive Resume Tips: Five Common Resume Mistakes

I see it too many times: Brilliant, forward-thinking executives who miss out on fabulous job opportunities just because their resume wasn’t working for them like it should!

A resume is no place to cut corners on your executive job search. That’s like going on a first date with someone you really like without getting all cleaned up. Yikes!

Here are five common executive resume mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: It’s Too Generalized

Executives must be able to communicate precisely what it is they bring to the table.

Here is a quick tip on getting specific: What is the ONE key area where you really shine? Is it your industry (if you plan to stay in it), or is it a function, or a process? Once you have that written down, then write down your next two greatest strengths.

Are these keywords right at the top of your resume? They should be.

Mistake #2: It’s Too Long

Is your resume more than two pages? Under certain circumstances, a three-page resume is acceptable (and of course a CV can be as long as you like), but generally, you are better served by limiting your resume to no longer than two pages.

Mistake #3: It’s Too Garbled

Word economy is extremely important when it comes to writing an executive resume. Do you have a long list of bullet points under your job from the 90’s? Was the position you held at that time about four levels below where you are at now? If the answer is yes, that’s a big red flag.

Perception is everything and you really want your potential employer to see you as the leader you are now, not the manager you once were.

Mistake #4: It’s Too Plain

Have you looked at a few samples of executive-level resumes? How does yours measure up? Boxes, arrows and even small charts and graphs that demonstrate your accomplishments are quick, compelling, and effective strategies that garner positive attention.

Have you ever looked at a credentialed, experienced resume writer’s website and seen the testimonials about how executives couldn’t get an interview until a certified executive resume writer redesigned their resume? It works and it’s a wise (and often tax deductible) investment!

Mistake #5: It’s Too Boring

One of the most important things your resume should convey is your accomplishments. They need to be quantified, short, and highly compelling!

This is a tough one for most executives. Even resume writers admit they would be hard pressed to write their own resume!

Begin by using a simple story template that includes the following:

  • A problem you encountered
  • What you did to solve the problem
  • What happened as a result

These stories should detail what you are doing when you are at your very best and LOVING your job! This helps you to honor your strengths and aptitudes authentically and attract the right attention!

By avoiding these five mistakes you stand to secure more high-quality interviews and reach your executive career goals more quickly and easil

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.