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Globalization with company expansions into developing countries and the C-Suite’s embrace of social media marketing as an asset to a company’s reputation has modernized and stretched the definition of the executive role. As a result, many executives are finding it increasingly difficult to write a ‘focused’ resume. The answer? It is time for a fresh perspective on the executive resume.
Thankfully, the traditional resume with an Objective and linear employment is dead! Yes. Newsflash. Dead, which is welcomed news because the new branded resume is a story-telling and responsive document that places your distinction and legacy at the forefront with linear job descriptions taking a backseat.
Let’s discuss some of the executive profiles that have emerged and creative marketing strategies to help you ‘red bow’ your unusual C-level track.
The Die-Hard Executive
Several of the executives that engaged my resume development services have found themselves working for the same company for decades and wondering if they have enough of a career progression to highlight growth on their resume.
Know this: Staying on board through company shifts, restructurings, declines and rapid increases in revenue (and staff) is not only commendable– but an accomplishment you can include on your executive resume.
Creative writing strategy: So, perhaps your growth cannot be quantified or represented in changing job titles, but it may be that your contribution was stable leadership during a merger & acquisition. Perhaps you made culture-changing decisions during a much-needed reorganization? Were you considered a pillar of support during revolving leadership? As a senior executive, the company’s milestones and triumphs are also yours!
Resume achievements are not just individual victories.
The Nimble Executive
Hat tip to the cross-functional superhero who wears many capes. This is the executive who has assumed similar job titles (at same or various companies) but performed in various critical functions; on ‘loan’ to several business units in need of a leadership defibrillator. In this case, it is important to note that you must dig into the core of why YOU were selected to head from many fronts and translate what that means for your future employer. Don’t just list all those wide-ranging accomplishments and expect the reader to determine its worth or to zero in on how that mix of talent can be useful. You must be the one to interpret this unusual experience and package it wisely.
Sidestepping special projects won’t do you much good either. (Sorry. Too easy.) If your executive competencies are three-dimensional, why would “one-size-fits-all” be enough to tell your tale or promote your distinction?
Creative writing strategy: The goal is to present the advantage of this unusual concoction of skills–tying them into a transparent and authentic value offer. Think of a pyramid with your broad-ranging experience supporting your value offer.
The Expatriate Executive
The expatriate executive use to be a rare breed—that is no longer the case. The international executive is thriving and if you haven’t yet been shipped abroad, you soon might be. So, how do you showcase experience across the globe under one company umbrella without making your resume too long-winded? How can you avoid being branded an executive who has only worked in developing countries– when for the last few years your job has been mainly in emerging countries?
Creative writing strategy: Begin with the common thread. Why have you been sent to so many different countries? What problem have you been continually called for as ‘next at-bat.’ List these challenges first and then the countries where you headed similar type of special projects.
Don’t forget to market your global edge with global keywords such as cultural intelligence and sensitivity, global awareness, cultural business customs, and an international perspective.
The Social Executive
Marketing executives, in particular, have been tapping into the power of social media to generate results for their employers.
Creative writing strategy: When developing a marketing executive resume, it isn’t enough to list social media accounts. You must dive into how you have wielded social media tools and platforms to drive value and change perceptions about the company brand. Please see an example below.
Results of Aggressive Twitter Campaign:
- Drove 30% increase in “followers” within 30 days of tenure.
- Improved online customer engagement by 15%.
- Garnered 10% of the XYZ company’s 25% traffic growth via Twitter.
- Spurred mentions of the XYZ brand by 35%, including RTs.
The Corporate Entrepreneur
This term has been around for a while. However, it has evolved into a serial entrepreneurship within one or several corporations. Similar to the nimble executive, but more so focused on pioneering initiatives, these executives are often called upon to build new divisions, optimize value, and hand it all over to the permanent team. The resume of this type of executive often looks like that of a job hopper– when in reality– they are so good at what they do that they are sought (internally and externally) to head a series of innovative and high-risk strategy and execution plans.
Even when they end one tenure, they usually don’t sever ties completely with the previous employer and are often recruited, again, after several years to head a similar type of venture.
Can you imagine this resume? Might look like a complete mess if not broken down and rebuilt into a nicely knitted and cohesive story.
Creative writing strategy: The answer all depends on the story behind the moves. Begin with the initial mandate and the long-range goal; then, tell that tale.
Here is my prediction: As business borders continue to be broken down, C-level executives will continue to stretch beyond the parameters of their official title, to serve in multifunctional capacities – leading through authority and influence—in domestic and international markets. As your role evolves, so should the way you market and package your career. The career chronology will no longer be the backbone of your executive resume.
Rosa E. Vargas
Certified Master Resume Writer