5 Executive Resume Grammar & Writing Tips for a C-Suite Resume

As soon as you start researching how to write an executive resume, it quickly becomes apparent that they don’t follow standard grammatical rules. A major reason for this is that the subject (the candidate—i.e., you) is always implicit in the context of a C-suite resume. If you were to write a resume in full first-person sentences, every sentence would start with “I.” In addition, we shorten sentences and use concise language to save space and keep your reader engaged.

If you are writing your CEO, COO, CDO, CFO, CMO, CIO, CTO, or other C-suite executive resume, pay close attention to the following.

Review These 5 Things Before Submitting Your C-Suite Resume

  1. Implied First-Person. As stated above, in the context of a CxO resume, you are the subject. When constructing your executive resume, leave out the pronoun “I,” so “I have a consistent track record of quickly resolving bottlenecks” becomes “Consistent track record of quickly resolving bottlenecks.” Note that this rule does not apply to every career marketing document—documents such as value proposition letters and executive biographies use complete sentences and pronouns.
  2. Sentence Fragments. Because the pronoun “I” is omitted, many of your bullet points will be sentence fragments because they are missing the subject of the sentence. “I increased product penetration from 30% to 40%” is a full sentence. Removing the pronoun creates a sentence fragment: “Increased product penetration from 30% to 40%.” The trickiest part of using sentence fragments is that common spelling and grammar checkers will flag them as incomplete sentences and may not correctly identify the subject, verb, and noun, making longer sentences harder for the programs to understand.
  3. Parallel Sentence Structure. Wherever possible, all sentences in a given section of your C-suite resume should have a matching grammatical structure to create balance and increase readability. For example, instead of including “President’s Club award-winner” in a list of action-oriented bullet points, consider rephrasing it to “Won President’s Club award” or separate it from the list of bullets to be highlighted differently.
  4. Business Impact. Begin each bullet with the business impact because, ultimately, that is what potential employers care most about; the impact you will have on their business. For example, instead of “Led supply chain initiative that increased loading accuracy by 75%,” say “Increased loading accuracy by 75% by leading supply chain initiative.”
  5. Action-Oriented. With very few exceptions, the most effective accomplishments statements start with a verb. Pay attention to the verbs you choose to use in your CxO resume—don’t use the same word to begin every bullet, and make sure they are all in the correct tense, so your reader isn’t flip-flopping between present and past. The vast majority of your resume should be written in the past tense, except for maybe your current position and professional summary.

To find out how we can help make sure your C-Suite resume writing is perfect, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

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 aiming to elevate your career and maximize your compensation, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.