By Anish Majumdar, Career Strategist, Certified Resume Writer and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com. A quick thought exercise: what would you do if you had to design a car from scratch?
There’s 2 ways you can approach this:
The first is to start with a clean sheet of paper and create something entirely new. It would be the expression of a unique vision, and satisfy the needs that you felt were most important. The downside is that there’s zero guarantee that your vision is going to align with the needs of the people who will actually be buying your car.
The second is to study those who are already building successful cars and mirror their strategies. Keep in mind: I’m not advocating ripping them of. Instead, I’m suggesting that we improve upon an existing framework of success. That means that your car should probably have four wheels, it should probably have multiple doors, etc. but shouldn’t sacrifice the tweaks and innovations that make it yours.
This same approach can work wonders for an executive resume. Here are some tips:
1) Find 3-5 job descriptions that are an exact match with what you’re after. Now highlight the keywords and phrases in each position that really resonate with you. Pay close attention to running themes and patterns across these job postings- these are valuable clues that should inform your presentation.
2) Frame out your executive resume using these positions as the basis, and build out a keywords section and insert taglines based closely on what the job descriptions are calling for, as well as those that touch upon your core leadership strengths. In essence, you’re working backwards from an understanding of what employers are asking for, and then highlighting that.
3) Your summary statement should really be no longer than 4-5 lines and mirror the major strengths being requested in your ideal job description. In other words, if the descriptions are calling for a “global leader” with a strong background in enterprise transformation and state-of-the-art technology integration, then THAT is what you need to center your summary statement around (assuming you have these skills, of course). As a senior executive with a lot of skills to offer, your biggest challenge is to avoid turning your resume into a laundry list, and instead create a lean, focused statement that mirrors the requirements of your target role.
And finally, here’s a technique the pros use to take executive mirroring to the next level:
4) Say you’re an executive who wants to work for a progressive company such as Netflix, Square, or Salesforce.com. Now, when you think about it, HR and senior leadership at one of these companies is unlikely to be moved by a staid, visually bland resume landing on their desk. Instead, visit their website to get a sense of their culture and visual palette. How do executives at these companies present themselves? How do they engage with consumers on Twitter and other social media outlets? Let it really sink in, and then mirror their preferred style of communication within a compatible visual layout. This will give your presentation an “It factor” that communicates strong fit, and that’s exactly where you want to be!