How Savvy CxO’s Tweak Their Resumes for Different Career Opportunities

One of the main challenges my CxO clients have is knowing WHAT to put in their resumes. This is why they will often have 5-page resumes that are crammed with everything they have ever done. When top achievers try to share all of their accomplishments, this is what happens!

The solution to this dilemma is to clearly identify what the end game is and then work backwards so that your resume is written to the industry and general position you want. For example: You are interested in COO or VP of Operations roles in mid-market growth companies that range in size from $500M and $1B in the technology services industry. This is a good scale that is not too broad and not too narrow.

Identifying your sweet spot generally ensures you will get what you want, are clear and direct from the beginning (this energy will radiate confidently out to all those you come in contact with during your transition) and will generally make your entire transition easier to manage and your results quicker.

Good executive resumes have keywords and snapshots at the top ½ of the first page that help the reader quickly understand your scope of abilities and your career focus. You can look at the resume samples page on my website for examples of this principle in action.

When you are targeting positions with slight variations in title and scope, first detail everything you know about the opportunity you want to tailor your resume to. A powerful but simple exercise is to highlight the keywords that are the main aspects of the position, then go back through and ascertain which of those keywords are a “match” for you. It could be all of them – in which case you could simply embed those new keywords, using them to accentuate the points about the opportunity that you are perfectly aligned with. Here is an example:

Original Example:

Chief Operating Officer, Vice President Global Operations | Technology Services

P&L to $1B | Teams to 500 | Fast Growth Mid-Market Companies

Augmented for a Specific Opportunity:

Chief Operating Officer | PE Backed, Rapid Growth Technology Services Companies | SAAS

P&L from $100M to $1B | Teams to 500 | M&A | Turnarounds

This is generally quick and easy to do and allows you to match your skills to mirror specific opportunities. Although this doesn’t require much effort on your part, it has a strong resonance with the reader because you reflect the qualities they are looking for – which creates more interest and intrigue.

There are times when you may feel it necessary to dig into the body of your resume to accentuate various strengths and achievements more clearly to align with your position of choice. However, I have found that the more clarity you have from the start regarding your driving motivators and what kinds of career opportunities you are looking for, the less you will encounter this issue because you will be naturally in alignment with what best suits you from the beginning.

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.

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