04/12/2012 04:14

Frustrated and confused by the response to your executive resume?With so many executives in the job market, your resume must grab attention quickly. If you want to land the RIGHT interviews, personal branding that clearly positions you as a leader is a requirement - especially when distinguishing yourself among other executives!Keep in mind that an executive career story if often difficult to capture, with numerous job changes and a complex brand message that must be conveyed in just a few pages.Read on for 3 common executive resume writing problems that can prevent you from gaining attention in your search - along with straightforward tips for correction:1 - You've chosen mid-career language to describe yourself.By the time you've reached the Director or C-suite level, "highly motivated," "proven ability," or "results-oriented" aren't going to cut it anymore.Not only are you up against candidates that are portrayed in stronger terms, but this type of language shows that you're struggling to articulate your personal brand and executive qualifications.A better strategy? Wrap a signature achievement into each statement or paragraph-allowing you to clearly assert your value proposition.BEFORE: Here is classic, mid-career phrasing within a CTO resume summary:"CTO with strong track record in technology software product development and proven ability to build high-performance teams in international locations. Work closely with executives on strategies for entering new markets."AFTER: Here is the same information, but with an executive slant:"CTO and executive team collaborator supplying technical and new-market insight behind 240% growth in 18 months. Foster tight-knit cultures (despite globally dispersed teams), increasing productivity while retaining 100% of technical talent."The second example includes just one additional word, but the metrics and strength of the language clearly position the candidate as an executive leader.Need some ideas and examples of executive-level terminology? Try a Google search on "executive resume samples" to see cutting-edge trends in executive resumes, with wording, tone, and presentation styles that win interviews.2 - Your leadership impact on the company is missing.Reaching an executive or Director-level role is a career game-changer. Now, you'll be required to shift your focus from the department to the strategic direction of the overall company.Yet, many executives write their resumes as if their function is isolated - with little effect on the rest of the firm.Case in point: This "Before" version of a CFO resume describes taking on the IT functions of a company, spelling out only tactical details:"Maintained facilities, offsite storage, and software licensing to support company investment in IT and communications systems."In reality, these systems played a crucial part in accelerating the company's growth, and the AFTER (more relevant) statement looks like this:"Set stage for growth with IT automation solutions; managed first infrastructure, vendor, and solutions used in HR, tax accounting, and regulatory filings."BEFORE: Consider this phrase on another example of an IT Director resume:"Held responsibility for the strategic direction and leadership of the enterprise architecture."AFTER: A whole-company perspective changes the tone of the sentence:"Headed IT enterprise architecture strategy that positioned company for expansion, leading infrastructure improvements and upgrades supplying 34% additional network capacity."These changes illustrate ways your executive resume can show strategic impact, rather than merely focusing on the tactical duties required of your position.3 - You didn't provide metrics on your achievements or span of authority.Your executive resume NEEDS quantifiable achievements and figures! Without them, hiring authorities can't discern the difference between your experience and that of a lower-level candidate.Not sure where to start in adding figures? Look for phrases used in lieu of a number, such as "significantly" or "substantially." These words can often be replaced with a dollar amount, percentage, or range of numbers.At a minimum, ensure your resume contains these metrics:> Size of teams or budgets managed> Division or company specifications in terms of volume of employees or revenue> Market rank for your employer in a particular segment (if prominent)> Increases in EBITDA or profit margins> Contract or cost savingsIf you've made changes to operational efficiency or productivity, for example, you can specify the time savings gained. Roles in major projects, such as data center consolidations or Six Sigma initiatives that cut expenses, can also verify your ability to create impactful change.If you can't recall (or don't wish to disclose) specific dollar figures, consider using percentages to quantify accomplishments. For example, you may have led teams that produced 82% of the overall company revenue, or drove a change in hiring practices that saved 15% per employee.Overall, taking a fresh look at your executive resume - and comparing it to documents used by other leadership candidates - can be one of the most valuable exercises in your job search.These straightforward changes can strengthen the tone and presentation of your resume, enabling you to project more confidence and expedite the process of landing the right leadership role.  Check out resume