CEO of What? Add Context to your CxO Resume with these 5 Topics

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 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and 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.