How to Show Emotional Intelligence on Your CXO Resume

The idea of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) surfaced as a field of study in the 1990s* and has been gaining traction as a must-have executive leadership trait over the last 3 decades. While CXOs need to have incredible business and strategic acumen, the best CXOs can also readily identify and manage the emotions of themselves and others.

Even if you’re somewhat familiar with EQ, you may be more familiar with the intelligence quotient (IQ), which measures an individual’s reasoning ability. However, unlike IQ, EQ cannot be measured or tested. The immeasurable nature of EQ makes it particularly difficult to capture on executive career marketing documents. It’s easy to say you are emotionally intelligent, but how do you back up that claim?

Highlighting Your Emotional Intelligence on a Resume

Here are some tips to highlight your EQ in your CXO resume and other career marketing documents:

  • Invite questions about your EQ. Emotional intelligence and soft skills are much easier to demonstrate in an in-person conversation. Anything you put in your resume is fair game for further questions in an interview. If applicable, list emotional intelligence as a core competency on your resume and be prepared to elaborate on it in a conversation.
  • Show your perceptive nature. Individuals with high EQ are often very perceptive. Provide examples of when you saw an opportunity where no one else did or helped someone one-on-one.
  • Choose the right words. The language you use to describe your career experience and accomplishments sets the tone for the message your readers will receive. Use words and ideas that convey emotional intelligence, such as openness, inclusivity, sensitivity, flexibility, optimism, and awareness.
  • Talk about how you manage your emotions. Tell your reader how you handle your emotions during high-stress situations, manage conflicting priorities and deadlines, and adapt to unexpected curveballs.
  • Describe EQ-related actions and accomplishments. Many of the “typical” accomplishments you expect to find on an executive resume demonstrate high EQ. For example, leading a team, improving a process, or participating in an M&A involve high emotional intelligence levels. These actions are difficult to quantify, but that doesn’t mean they should be left off your CXO resume. Paint a picture by writing about times when you empowered your team, created a trusting culture, mediated a dispute, or kept a positive outlook in the face of adversity.

To find out how we can help you showcase emotional intelligence on your CXO resume, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

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.