What if I said most executive resumes that cross my desk don’t share a leadership philosophy — although they should!

Why should they? Your leadership philosophy offers a window into your executive character, work ethic, personal principles, and leadership approach. When you offer a defined leadership philosophy, it means you are crystal clear about the value and culture you will bring to an organization.

Bottom-line: A leadership philosophy separates leaders who manage—from leaders who inspire.

So what are the ingredients for a well-marinated leadership philosophy and where can you get some?

Here is the recipe:

  • WHY do you lead?
  • HOW do you lead?
  • WHAT is your leadership impact?


Ok. I’ll go first:

Why: Create other leaders, causing a ripple effect that reaches beyond my scope.

How: By inspiring new ways of thinking.

Impact: Raise the standards on innovation and collaboration, surpassing individual, customer, and company goals to make wonderful things happen.

My leadership philosophy: Lead through the kind of leadership I would resoundingly follow.


Need more help? Your favorite leadership quote is often in alignment with your undefined leadership philosophy. Below you will find inspiring quotes that my clients have shared with me during their personal branding discovery sessions. These quotes have served them as a compass in alignment with their leadership vision. Do you spot one that resonates with you or unleashes your inner philosopher?



“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard


“Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman


“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald McGannon


“Option A is not available. So let’s kick the sh** out of Option B.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg


“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” ~ Mary Kay Ash


“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ~ Steve Jobs


“A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.” ~ M.D. Arnold


“Face reality as IT is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” ~ Jack Welch


“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field or endeavor.” ~ Vince Lombardi


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney


“Change before you have to.” ~Jack Welch


“To lead people, walk behind them.” ~ Lao Tzu


“Doing more of what doesn’t work will not make it work any better.” ~ Unknown


“People who think too much before they act, don’t act too much.” ~ Jimmy Buffett


“Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.” ~ Winston Churchill


“Successful people never ask if things will work. They are willing to try and find out.” ~ Brad Gosse


Why not share your leadership philosophy or your favorite quote with your LinkedIn network? Comment below.


Writing A Board-Level Resume


Thinking of throwing your name into the hat for a coveted Board-level seat? Great! First, make sure your resume is Board-level ready! Yes, there is a difference between you corporate executive resume and your Board CV.  To compete with other Board nominees, you must consider—and promote—the contributions your candidacy will bring as a member of the Board and not just the accomplishments you have delivered thus far for your corporate employers.

executive-boardThe following is a partial list of key value drivers you must weave into your Board worthy CV/resume.

  • What is your unique value offer as a Board candidate?
  • List committee and Board experience first.
  • History delivering value to shareholders and describe the improvement.
  • Share soft/people skills such as relationship building, decision making, consensus creation.
  • Create a highlight section with high-stakes and top-level collaborations and results from strategic advisement.
  • Promote your industry expertise by referencing speaking engagements, community involvement, and mentions in publications.
  • Speak to your experience driving company vision, shaping corporate identity, risk management, and protecting/strengthening company brand.
  • Delineate career progressions with concise strategic initiatives.
  • Note breadth of leadership through transformations, M&As, restructurings, exits, turnarounds, consolidations, rebranding efforts, etc.
  • Quantify ROI: EBITDA growth, stock value, etc.


Bottom-line: You must brand yourself as a Board Director. You need to help them visualize you in a Board setting as a valuable, strategic member for that specific opportunity.  Here are two great videos I sourced for you on this topic. Good luck!



Executive-resumeIf you are ready to job search with a FANTASTIC executive resume, you have to strategize beyond functions, skills, and accomplishments. Yes, beyond achievements, because at the executive level EVERY candidate is competent and successful.

As a leader, you are not hired as a ‘cog in the wheel’ but to re-invent, fix, or upgrade the machine! Wouldn’t you agree? Therefore, you must decide to become the hero in your executive resume and paint that picture — make your mark! Are you a miracle worker? An innovator? A change agent? A turnaround artist? An all-star coach?



1. Tagline: What is your promise to your future employer? Make them care!

2. Personal brand statement: No, it is not the same as a tagline. A tagline is your hook — a branding statement is a mini-preview of what is to unfold in your unmatched, superhero tale.

Ingredients for an ROI-driven brand:

Passion + Specialty + Legacy + Your distinct signature (why you and not someone else?) + Value Offer = SUPER BRAND!
Continue reading »


executive resume 2016












2016 is around the corner. (I can’t believe it!) January is the busiest time in the career services industry. Every year resumes that flood my inquiry inbox fail to address critical points employers and hiring managers want you to answer. I am sharing the top 16 with you today, so you get off to a great start!  You’re welcome!


1. What is your new career goal? Be very specific about the function and industry. A title would be great but not necessary. What is essential is that you are transparent (and sure) about the type of role you seek. Are you looking to assume an executive position in operations? Finance? Sales? Business Development? Technology Implementation? Even if you have worn many hats – one hat per resume!


2. What is your specialty? Bottom-line: what do you do well? Being result-driven is great (and expected), but to what end? What type of results? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! 🙂

Are you great at creating opportunities for growth? Identifying top talent? Operationalizing? Reducing costs? Innovating? GREAT! How much? How often? Why? How?


3. What is in it for them? Your resume is about you, but it is not for you! You need to speak to your audience and heal those pain points.

We are not looking for this –> “You will hire someone who is hardworking, dedicated, and wonderful.” [Eye roll] We are looking for palpable, quantifiable, and bankable accomplishments.


4. Are you on LinkedIn? There are several ways you can answer this on your executive resume; one method is to include your LinkedIn URL in your executive resume’s header.  (Please be sure to customize your LinkedIn URL). And, please make sure your LinkedIn profile is not a rehash of your executive resume.


5. What is your reputation/personal brand? This is important because it will evolve and strengthen your executive resume’s persuasive power by marketing beyond qualifications to promoting differentiation. (i.e., Unmatched talent that only you can offer.)


6. Where are you now? It is surprising how many times I come across an executive resume that has not been even slightly updated. If you don’t know what to write right now, the least you can do is add your current job title and employer. Yes? As a matter of fact, please do that right now! Thank you.


7. How did you exploit the role they assigned to you? This is critical. It is great to step into a role and perform an excellent job, but it is competition-outdistancing to reinvent it and exceed stakeholders’ expectations.


8. What change did you drive or what impact did you make? Is your governance the type that calls others to action or rallies diversified stakeholders behind a common goal?


9.  How do you measure you were effective? Even if you are not in a metric driven role, I assure you there is a way to tie your contributions to quantifiable success (perhaps indirectly). What influence did your leadership have on top and bottom-line?


10.  Did you have P&L responsibility? How much? How did you strengthen P&L Management? Quantify.


11.   Did you have direct reports? How many and at what level? Global? National? Regional?


12.  Did you assume different positions within the company? Please list them all and if they were lateral moves or promotions.


13.  Were you asked to take on special projects? If so, what was the goal? What was the value? What resulted?


14.   Was this a first-time role or did you replace someone? Tell us what happened.


15.   What major challenges did you need to overcome? Set the stage. Create contrast.


16.   Who did you report to or work with directly? This is important, especially if the leader you most paired efforts with is in a position you are now seeking.


I could go on, but I think this is enough fodder to get you going with a 2016 executive resume revamp. Your executive resume must be clear, targeted, and rich with specifics that will set you apart.

Good luck!

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas
Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW)
Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)
Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW)
Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC)





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