Tag Archives: Executive Resume

Is Your Text-Heavy Executive Resume Sinking Your Job Search?

This guest post is from Adrienne Tom, Executive Resume Writer. As the title implies, resumes that are text heavy are difficult to read and to determine your value.

Adrienne's Title

Text heavy documents are sinking the job search of many frustrated executive job seekers, who are left wondering why they are not getting called for interviews.

The reason is simple: employers don’t want to drown within long narratives. They desire short and well-tailored overviews that speak to their needs succinctly while showcasing the skills they covet.

In short– the easier a resume is to read, the smoother the sailing will be for job seekers.

The biggest barrier executives face with resumes is summarizing what is often a very robust career.

To start, approach the resume writing process with the goal of quality over quantity. 

A resume is not a biography, it’s a marketing tool.  Avoid listing copious amounts of dry and dusty job details that weigh down the file and water down worth.  Instead, zero in on value and align offerings with needs. Provide a solid sampling of relevant facts related to the targeted role.

Below is a short ‘test’ to help you identify if your executive resume is taking on water.

If you answer yes to any of the points below, grab a life vest and start bailing!

The resume is longer than three pages

Typical resume length for executives is 2 to 3 pages. Definitely no need to cram everything onto 1 page at this career level, but keep in mind that today’s resumes must be leaner and more succinct to capture and keep the attention of busy readers.

Although length alone does not determine resume effectiveness, extremely long or verbose files are rarely appreciated, nor read in full. Save extra facts and supporting details for the interview.

The employment history section reads like a job description

Lengthy overviews of each past role, with heavy emphasis on tasks and duties are a waste of prime resume real estate. Employers are not interested in what you did, but how well you did it. Minimize focus on responsibilities and focus on personal performance instead.

Spoon fed the reader value-enhanced, metric-driven snippets of success to build confidence and excitement.

There are no bulleted points

If you are presenting all details in paragraph form, watch out! Dense text is not only harder to scan and absorb, but it causes key points to become buried. Bullet key points for easier readability and to better separate and highlight key accomplishments, big business wins, and personal achievements.

Bulleted points are long-winded or copious 

Even bulleted statements in a resume can get wordy. Aim to keep points succinct by averaging 2 lines per point as much as possible. If you can’t say it in two lines or less, information is likely getting murky. In addition, don’t ‘bullet barf’ all over the pages.

Bulleted points are great in small groups, but long lists of bulleted points diminish impact. Aim for 3 to 5 bulleted points per position.

Excessive filler words are used: “a, to, the, of…”

Although these words are warranted at times, in a resume they should be eliminated as much as  possible. It’s ok to use more succinct speech and grammar in this critical career file. Distill down details to focus primarily on results and personal actions. For example, instead of saying:

Created and implemented new marketing campaign in close collaboration with five people on the team which generated a 10% year over year increase to sales.”

You can say:

 “Generated 10% YOY sales increase, working with a team of 5 to create and deliver new marketing campaign”.

Career history dates back more than 15 years

No need to list every job you have ever had on your resume. This is a strategic file that requires a careful sampling of related and most relevant career material. For executives, providing the most recent 15 years of work experience, give or take, is all that is required.

The further back in time you get on your resume, the less robust information needs to be. Only provide very early career details if the experience is absolutely required or very beneficial for the targeted role.

Value isn’t easy to spot

This last point is the most important one. In short, every employer has a pain point typically centered around common requirements to make money, save money, or increase efficiencies. Your resume must demonstrate, clearly and concisely, how you are their solution!  Demonstrate value with clear examples of well-aligned achievements and success. Proof of your claims!

Finally, don’t make the reader hunt for the WHY.  Why you are the best candidate? Spell it out! Spoon feed your value to every reader in bite-sized details and use similar language and keywords to increase interest and understanding!


To summarize, employers don’t care about all the details. Only those that matter to them.

They want to read results, but most importantly they want to know if you can make results happen for THEM.

Make it easy for employers to locate key facts and the ROI you offer as a candidate in your executive resume by keeping resume material ‘lean and clean’.

A sharper content focus and format will ensure you enjoy smoother sailing throughout your job search!

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The original article can be found here.

Looking to take your executive resume to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? Visit me online at: www.CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.

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The #1 way to stand out on your resume

By Laura Smith-Proulx

Worried that your resume won’t stand out for that perfect job when compared to hundreds of eager job hunters?

One of the BEST ways to distinguish yourself is to measure and document your performance against that of peers (or previous incumbents).

Competitive intelligence isn’t new. Anyone who sells solutions is constantly positioning their product for a win against similar offerings. And guess what? In a job search, YOU are the product.

Therefore, your resume must explain the reasons you’ll continue to outperform others in your next job.

Here are 3 tips to help gauge your work against others, and then add the results to your resume:

1 – Assess your predecessor.

Most employers find it necessary to reorganize teams from time to time, so you’ve probably found yourself taking over a role from a former colleague.

You may have even been hired to replace an underperforming manager, which gives you a great foundation on which to base achievements. If so, you’ll want to quantify the results you gained over that of the previous incumbent.

Turnaround performance is a great differentiator, and was used as part of the strategy on this resume for a Denver-based COO in the real estate investment industry – showing how he walked into specific challenges and removed obstacles to revenue success.

2 – Compare yourself against colleagues.

Believe it or not, a side-by-side correlation between your results and that of your peers will help your resume writing skills.

Think carefully about efforts you’ve handled at work such as special projects or collaboration with leaders at your company. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Was there a reason your boss selected you to lead a particular initiative?
  • Were you promoted faster than your colleagues?
  • Are you frequently pulled into leadership meetings to provide strategic input?

If any of these situations apply to you, document the ways you’re differentiating yourself, and then leverage them!

This example of a Sales Resume for a B2B sales executive in Minnesota shows how we compared his revenue achievement to peers – demonstrating better (and faster results) that intrigued employers.

3 – Evaluate your performance against the entire industry.

Here’s where economic conditions come into play. If you’re in a sales role, you might find that you’ve earned Top Producer ranking in a down year… when others in your industry struggled to even make quota.

Take stock of your performance against that of peers in other companies. Did your company stay in business – even when others shut their doors?

Were you able to produce revenue-generating or market-capturing strategies in an industry known for slow growth?

If these scenarios apply to you, note both the achievement and the conditions on your resume. Employers are keen to hire candidates that are able to address and resolve obstacles, especially in a recession!

In summary, even if it seems that you’ve just “done your job” throughout your career, chances are good that you can think of ways your performance differs from that of other team members or executives.

Adding comparative analyses to your resume – with a full description of your results against others –will help you make a stronger, standout impression.

Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director, National Columnist, Author, LinkedIn expert, and former recruiter.

As a social-media savvy leader in the resume industry, Laura combines a lifelong passion for writing with recruiting expertise, global recognition, awards, and master-level credentials held by less than 30 resume experts worldwide.