5 Resume Tips for Senior-Level Employees
The resume of a senior-level employee is much different than the resume of a lower-level employee. While the typical resume highlights education and skills, a senior-level resume has to do the work of both showing experience and education and highlighting the unique skills the executive brings to the table that will help with overall company growth and morale.
An executive resume also will pass through a lot more hands than an entry-level employee. Not only will HR look at the resume, but a whole group of directors will also look closely at what you bring to the table. Your resume has to sell you to a potential employer. It is much more than a rundown of your experience, but more of a sales pitch in itself.
The good news, if you are a top executive, is that job growth is expected to expand about 6 percent through 2024. However, even though the sector is growing, competition for the most coveted top-level positions is still fierce. Making sure your resume is stunning is a good first step toward capturing the attention of recruiters for the best positions.
- Outline the Scope of Your Roles
Many resumes simply don’t go deep enough into what the person actually did in other senior-level roles. There is some resume jargon that appears over and over again, such as team leader, that isn’t very specific. Instead of simply adding some of this jargon, make sure your resume uses very specific terms that describes the scope.
For example, instead of just stating you were team leader on XYZ project, state exactly what you did, such as gave team members specific tasks to complete by a set deadline, developed software that allowed members to communicate about progress and solved a dispute about which step to start with on the project.
By outlining specific tasks you completed within a role, you will highlight your skills and what you’ve learned from each position. This will allow upper-level management to clearly see what you specifically would bring to the table. It also will make your resume stand out from all the ones with the jargon and without the specifics.
- Limit How Much You Include
At the same time you are very specific about how you fulfilled the roles you’ve held, you also need to keep your resume brief. This means you need to highlight what will most appeal to a given employer and leave out a lot of the other items they may not care about.
Since employers might receive hundreds of resumes for a single position, you certainly don’t want to write a novel here. Placing highlights on a couple of pages allows those hiring to glance over your qualifications quickly. Also, you don’t want to stuff so much on the page or make the font so small as to be unreadable.
Length is one area many people struggle with. Traditional advice states to keep a resume to a single page, but an executive may have a long job history and many projects and skills to highlight. A good rule of thumb is to keep an executive resume to two pages. You may go slightly over or under that, but it is a good goal to aim for.
Brevity is a difficult thing to accomplish on a resume, but with a bit of practice, you can easily achieve this. Keep rewording and editing out things that are simply not necessary to the resume. Don’t worry, because you’ll still be able to highlight all you’ve achieved during the interview. You’re more likely to get that interview if you can impress with your executive resume.
Perhaps you can code better than any IT person on the planet. However, if you are applying for the role of senior manager of an IT team, those hiring you don’t really care that your coding skills are superior — they will likely assume that. Instead, they need to see you can lead a team of IT people effectively.
This ties into the issue of keeping your resume brief, as mentioned above. You simply don’t have room to put every single thing onto one page. You have to figure out what skills the employer wants and include only those. One way to figure this out is by studying the job listing. Employers will often provide valuable clues about what skills they are looking for within the job description itself.
- Highlight Your Growth Over Time
One thing that will also help you stand out is showing you’ve grown over time. You likely started at an entry-level position and moved your way toward senior-level management. Think about ways you can highlight this growth in a short amount of space. This might include listing a job history within the same company and then within the description, explaining that you rose from cleaning crew to team manager in a year, or some similar information.
Again, it is important to keep it brief, but you also want to show you have risen through the ranks. Someone who has worked their way up — even if you initially started at the management level and worked toward senior management — understands the employees under them and what motivates them to be part of the team and work their hardest for the company.
Seeing growth, education and management skills are all great, but potential employers want to see that you can drive results. Be sure to highlight within the other elements of your resume what you achieved for previous employers.
Some of the things you might like to highlight will include revenue growth, attracting big clients and reducing costs across the board. How did you improve the companies you worked for in the past? Now, how can you highlight this information within your resume so a company sees what you can do for them in the future?
There are many different elements that go into creating a strong executive resume. Try to look at the document through the eyes of a recruiter. What would you want to know that isn’t already included? How can you best highlight the most important information about you as a senior-level employee? Focusing on these things will help your resume rise to the top of the stack and hopefully land you more than a few interviews.
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