Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

Your Executive Resume: How to Include 25 Years of Work Experience

Do you ever watch those “Year in Review” segments on television and marvel at how broadcasters manage to convert the essence of a year into a three-minute story?  Identifying essential content is a crucial skill for journalists because a lot happens in just one year and the duration of their segments must be adhered to—or they lose their audience.

Imagine trying an approach like that with your career and your executive resume: a “Career in Review,” if you will?

It’s not easy.

Many of my clients approach me because they are leaders in their industry, have been with their company for more than ten years, and are struggling to separate the “must include” information from the “nice to include” information in their executive resume. They have achieved great success but need to identify their career milestones and determine a compelling narrative for their executive resume.

When I begin working with my clients, I ask them to take a step back and think about their tangible achievements, such as:

  • The teams they have assembled
  • The sizes of the businesses they have led
  • The brands or products they have developed or launched
  • The complex business problems they have solved
  • The business changes they have steered
  • The technology they have implemented
  • The new strategies they have employed
  • The markets they have penetrated or channels they have expanded

This approach arms me with some of the essential building blocks I need to begin to craft an effective—and concise—executive resume.

If you are looking for a partner to help make you as marketable as possible, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.

Executive Hiring Looks Promising in 2014

bigstock-Executive-search-concept-in-wo-38538091The executive hiring outlook for 2014 appears to be on an uptick as companies across the globe are preparing to develop and invest in their human capital. If you’ve been considering a career move, now may be an ideal time.

According to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook report published by the top-ranked search firm Boyden Global Executive Search, companies are once again investing in executive talent as economies have stabilized and to ensure they succeed in this intensely competitive global market.

“Until recently, companies were limiting hiring to C-level and critical senior roles and remained skittish making long-term plans to expand management teams due to economic uncertainties,” said Trina Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden World Corporation. She says companies particularly in the U.S. and Europe are focusing on their hiring efforts to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Growth forecasted in Consumer/Retail sector

Retailers are looking for leaders with broad experience, as the growth projections for e-commerce and mobile business sectors are significant. We’re also seeing a ‘health halo,’ where the focus on health and wellness is driving new product development and sales as well as hiring.

According to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing Partner at Boyden Houston, many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are developing innovative products for baby boomers focused on health and anti-aging, so they are looking for food technology and marketing executives with experience creating products for this group. The sporting goods, apparel and footwear industries are seeking leaders with blended finance, sales and marketing capabilities and experience working for larger companies earlier in their careers—especially those with backgrounds in data analytics, says Amanda Worthington, a Chicago-based Boyden principal.

Expect more senior HR roles, too

Lisa Gerhardt, Boyden Global HR Practice Leader, says we can expect growth in the human resources field in 2014 as well.

“Whenever there is change at the CEO level, we often see a change in the HR Director, as CEOs put a lot of emphasis on personal relationships and trust in that position,” she said. She mentioned that there’s a big need to consolidate and shift to a “shared services” or global business services model, and companies will want to bring people on board to help with the transition.

“CEOs and Boards across all industry sectors are looking for experienced and highly strategic HR leaders who can help transform their organizations into more flexible global enterprises and drive bottom-line results,” said Greg Coleman, a Managing Partner at Boyden New York. Coleman said these businesses are creating wellness programs and putting more emphasis on staff development programs—plus, they’re using online platforms to instruct employees across the world.

Chief Digital Officer role is on the rise

As technology and marketing roles increasingly overlap, we’re seeing a merging of CIO and CMO roles. In fact, you’ll start to see the merged role commonly referred to as Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Mobile technology and data analytics are reshaping the business landscape, making digital development a priority. Traditional organizations will need to rely on a transformational CDO to replace legacy systems and processes. According to research by Gartner, 25% of businesses will have a CDO by 2015.

It’s clear that we can expect hiring growth in 2014.Companies realize the importance of bringing on experienced leaders who are adept at managing and embracing change to capitalize on opportunities to remain globally competitive. Hiring strong talent will be a top priority—and necessity—for the long haul.

Do you plan on making a career move in 2014? If so, you’ll need a strong executive resume to set you apart from the competition. Contact me today to get started.

Executive Resume-Writing Mistake #3: Using Generic, Ineffective Language

This is the final of my three-part series discussing executive resume-writing mistakes. The significance of each and every word in an executive resume can’t be overemphasized. My previous posts talked about highlighting your biggest selling points and the importance of providing context for specific accomplishments. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the selection and quality of the words you use to convey your core strengths and accomplishments.

bigstock-Thinking-45114187Executive resume writing is like an art; there are no hard and fast rules, but there are general guidelines to follow that will enable you to effectively illustrate your impressive executive track record. While it’s true that an executive’s resume should not be overly detailed, it’s important to make sure your writing hits at the right level without being too vague and reading like every other executive. It’s important to remember that every word included on your resume needs to count and add value.

Where’s the haziness lurking?

In my resume-writing experience, vague writing pops up throughout a resume in the summary section and in defining scope of responsibility and outlining accomplishments. For example, the following summary statement could refer to any executive in the CPG space and is too generic:

Senior global consumer products executive with outstanding results in strategy, brand management and P&L management. Exceptional track record of delivering sales and profit growth significantly above market rates.

To give substance and specifics, you could reframe the message to read:

15-year career leading global and U.S. marketing strategy for x, y and z, positioning brands for long-term growth and stability. Generated strong, sustainable results in emerging and mature markets—over past four years delivered $800M in organic sales growth, outpacing industry growth by 5X.

See the difference? The goal is to avoid non-essential and vague detail. Every statement must tell the reader something important. If it doesn’t add value, don’t include it.

I’ve talked about how an executive resume shouldn’t give an overview of the “givens” of a role. For instance, as a CMO you wouldn’t need to mention that you presented a marketing strategy to the CEO—that is assumed and part of your role. When the strategy you developed drove sales growth by 15% in a year, however, that is worth mentioning. In this case, you would want to note the specifics. This is being clear in the message.

Be specific in language and message

You also want to be clear in the language, too. If an executive states that he/she built a high-performing organization, my first thoughts are “How did you transform it?” and “What were the results?” The wording is unclear and doesn’t give an idea of what that executive can do. Every leader should build a high-performing organization—the key is showing where the organization was, how you improved it and where you focused your efforts.

Here is another example of generic language:

Recruited to transform and grow the business.

Most executives are recruited for a specific reason—to solve a problem— often to change and grow a business. The information above doesn’t add value nor does it help to paint a clear picture of what the executive was charged to do and what he/she delivered.

Using meaningful language, you can restate as follows:

Delivered 20+% EBIT growth through disciplined strategy and sharpened focus on operational and service excellence, reversing 3-year stagnant P&L trajectory.

In one bullet, you’ve told the reader why you were brought in, what you achieved and how you did it—while keeping the content at the right level.

Another example:

Doubled sales channel volume and implemented cost savings initiatives to increase profit.

This statement immediately begs four questions:

  • How did you double sales volume?
  • What does that equate to in revenue?
  • What initiatives did you implement?
  • By how much did you increase profit?

Adding relevant detail eliminates the guesswork and clearly conveys your accomplishments.  Remember, vagueness is about the message and the language—avoid being imprecise in both aspects of the resume.

Use the before-and-after approach

Presenting highlights and accomplishments in terms of “before” and “after” is an effective resume-writing strategy. What was the company’s situation before you arrived, and how did your leadership change that situation? What were the results of your efforts? Be specific. Did you turn around an underperforming team and operations? Can you quantify that to provide even more detail? Use comparisons to show the difference you made—it illustrates what you’ve done and what you can do for a new company.

If I read a statement on a resume and think why, what or how after reading it, the message is not meaningful enough. Your goal is to provide the hiring executive with tangible, concrete information to peak their interest so they’ll contact you. Resumes with vague, non-essential statements should always be avoided.

If you’re looking for an executive resume writer who can help craft your message, please contact me today for a phone consultation.