The Executive Resume - Moving Beyond Accomplishments
by Linda Matias
There is a major difference between conventional resumes and executive
resumes. Accomplishments are usually the center point of a conventional resume
(i.e., indicating how much money was saved, how sales increased, what processes
were proposed, planned, initiated, implemented, or streamlined). The executive
resume, on the other hand, has more than one focus. It alludes to the
executive's ability to drive profits (accomplishments) and the capacity to lead
(that is, to blend various "soft" skills) an organization.
Successes are easier to hone in on. The result is clear,
often quantifiable. After all, either you penetrated a
market or you didn't, or either you were a top-performer or
you weren't. It is harder to capture emotional competencies
on paper, to indicate who you are, what you stand for, how
you relate to others, how you affect change within an organization.
On an executive resume, a list of accomplishments does not suffice. Employers
expect more, and since your resume is an introduction to your full
qualifications, you must incorporate what you have done as well as provide a
notion of how you influence others. This information must be presented in a
concise and compelling manner given that your resume is your most important
Moving beyond accomplishments
Coupled with a track record of financial success, good leadership is the
single most important factor in the survival of an organization. Because of
this, executives who point out the following "soft" needed skills on their
resume are usually the ones invited to an interview. They show that they have
the intangible qualities that promote the growth of the organization. These are
the elements in
- Visionary - An "idea person" that challenges traditional ways of
conducting business, and is willing to take on calculated risks. Demonstrated
ability to think strategically, act tactically and have the strength of
character to motivate others to buy into his or her ideas, concepts and
- Professional Integrity - A person who understands the value of
honesty, accountability and trust in a business environment.
- Charisma - Knack for captivating an audience, having a presence
that commands respect and has a natural ability to hold the interest of the
- Emotional self-control - Someone who anticipates challenges and
overcomes those that are unanticipated.
- Emotional Intelligence - Awareness of one's own feelings while
having empathy and understanding for those of other people - and the
relationship between the two.
- Effective use of inner resources - A person that trusts his or her
gut instincts and takes the initiative to drive change.
- Flexible Communication Style - The ability to assess a situation,
and react to it appropriately.
Since there isn't much room at the top, opportunities at the executive-level
stage are limited, your resume should move beyond the entry-level approach, and
focus on who you are professionally and personally. This is why it is crucial
that as an executive you present yourself as a complete package - a product a
company will want to acquire.
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.