By now you probably know that a high-impact, branded executive resume summary or profile section has replaced the now-outdated “Objective” section on most resumes. The purpose of your resume summary or profile is to let the potential employer know “What’s in it for me if I hire this person?”
It is important to understand that your executive resume is, first and foremost, a MARKETING document. As a marketing document, it needs to catch the reader’s attention up front with a sizzling value proposition that simply cannot be ignored.
You’ll need to communicate your qualifications, what you have accomplished and CAN accomplish, and what contributions you can be expected to make.
Simply put, your executive resume as advertising needs a summary or profile that draws the potential customer (employer) in, followed by a work history and other sections that support the claims you made there.
Here are some basic elements of a powerful executive resume summary/profile:
- A headline that encapsulates who you are and what you do
- A tagline or career branding statement that separates you from the pack
- Core proficiencies you bring to the table
- An overview of your cumulative experience
- Introduction to a few of your most stellar career accomplishments
- Keywords relevant to your job target
- Copy that reflects your personality and leadership style
The headline is what most directly substitutes for the traditional objective in your resume. It basically tells the reader who you are and what you do.
A headline could be simply a job title:
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Public Company CFO
It could showcase your primary skill set(s):
- Quality Assurance & Compliance Leadership
- Channel Development & Management
- Strategic Information Technology Management
It could combine the two:
- General Counsel: Regulatory Compliance & Risk Management
Or it could include a title and zero in on a specialty area:
- CTO – Technology Focused Startups
THE TAGLINE OR BRANDING STATEMENT
Most well-known companies and brands have a tagline that in just a few words communicates the essence of what they are about and why what they offer is better than the competition. For example:
BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
Sharp: “Sharp Minds, Sharp Products”
Smith Barney: “We Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way… We Earn It”
Accenture: “High Performance, Delivered”
Apple: “Everything is Easier on a Mac”
L’Oréal: “Because You’re Worth It”
Dunkin Donuts: “America Runs on Dunkin”
As marketing collateral, your executive resume also needs a tagline or branding statement to be most effective.
To develop a tagline, you or your resume writer will encapsulate in just a few words what defines you as a professional in your field and what positive impact employers can expect to receive when they bring you on board.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS & YOUR EXECUTIVE RESUME SUMMARY
While your career accomplishments will be covered in the most detail in the employment history section of your resume, I have found over 35+ years writing executive resumes that it is extremely effective to pull out a handful of your most outstanding contributions and highlight them in the executive resume profile.
These accomplishments are best very briefly stated (usually one-liners). They can be looked at as “appetizers” that whet the appetite and make the reader eager for the main course below.
To effectively use accomplishments in your executive resume summary or profile, it is important to develop a highly effective technique in marketing yourself, the Art of the Humble Brag.
Most of us have a natural reluctance to brag, and the necessity to do it or be eclipsed by your competition for a job is something that stops many cold. Yet persuasively putting forth your value, skill sets, and accomplishments is critical to capturing a potential employer’s interest. See this article for more information about how to master the Art of the Humble Brag.
A WORD ABOUT KEYWORDS
Keywords are single words or phrases that are relevant to your job skills, industry-related knowledge, personal and leadership qualities, and interpersonal skills. They are also sometimes referred to as “buzz words.”
A keyword can be a noun, noun phrase, or even an action word. Some of them may also be referred to as core competencies. Keywords generally pertain to “soft” and “hard” skills.
Soft skills are such things as leadership, communications, rapport building, collaboration, team building, etc.
Hard skills are related to your specific job category or field of expertise, such as technology development, supply chain management, sales/marketing management, manufacturing operations management, etc.
Including the most prominent keywords associated with your profession and industry in the opening or profile section of your resume is extremely important (as is interspersing them throughout the remainder of your executive resume).
Key Reasons for This Include:
1) Keywords help ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and resume databases match your capabilities with the requirements of a position opening.
2) Keywords speak compellingly to your reader, demonstrating how eminently qualified you are for a position.
Keywords can be displayed separately in a core competencies or expertise subsection of your summary, but they also need to be woven skillfully into your profile or summary paragraph and accomplishment highlights.
Note that once this is done, using them in constructing your resume’s work history entries is key. They should be included in both the role descriptions and the accomplishment statements.
Engaging a skilled executive resume writer can help ensure that your summary or profile section has maximum impact, and that the rest of the document closes the case.
You’ll benefit from some valuable objectivity, and more than likely your writer will identify important things about what you bring to the table that never crossed your mind.
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