The meaning of the title “Chief Executive Officer” has morphed over time. Recently, Elon Musk went as far as to say that “CEO is a made-up title.” It’s a somewhat controversial statement, but as Inc.com writes, “He kind of has a point.”* CEO can mean anything from solopreneur to top-level leaders of multibillion-dollar multinational corporations.
CEO, COO, CDO, CFO, CMO, CIO, CTO, and other CxO position titles can be applied to a wide variety of contexts. As a standalone label, they don’t provide any information about what a candidate is capable of or their scope of experience. How can an executive recruiter make a decision based on job titles alone?
When it comes to executive resumes, context is everything. Set your career transition up for success by providing context to your experience and accomplishments. Doing so goes beyond a headline and professional summary that strategically uses keywords and characteristics. To tell your reader what they are getting into, provide them with context and scope.
How to Add More Context to Your CxO Title
- Your previous employers. Briefly describe each organization listed on your executive resume. Include information such as products or services and how many locations and employees they have.
- Teams you’ve led. Have you led 10-person teams or 500-person teams? Either leadership role requires very different skills and techniques. Be sure to consider direct, indirect, and matrixed reports.
- Who you reported to. Whether you reported to the VP, Director, or COO details what kind of influence you had in your organization and who you worked most closely with.
- What type of position you want. Your previous job titles may not mirror your target position, especially if you are looking to take a step up in your career. Make sure you are clear about what kind of position you are targeting, or the recruiter may overlook your resume.
- What industry you are targeting. Similar to the point above, make it obvious what industry you are targeting to increase understanding of the rest of your industry experience.
To find out how we can help you add context to your CxO resume, book a confidential and complimentary call with us here.
* “Elon Musk Says ‘CEO Is a Made-Up Title.’ He Kind of Has a Point,” Inc.
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Mary Elizabeth Bradford is a Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Internationally Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Master Career Director (MCD) and Certified International Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) and a member of Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, The Professional Association of Resume Writers and The National Resume Writers Association.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford and her elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers and former top executive recruiters and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier CEOs and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want.
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