Transforming an Executive’s Resume
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This month’s contest winner is a very experienced Vice President of Sales.
Unfortunately, his original resume did not convey this with its content or presentation. From a content perspective, it understated what he will bring to his next employer. From a presentation standpoint, the layout was more typical of lower-level job seekers.
Let’s break this down to explain how his resume is now significantly powered-up.
The original resume included the client’s home phone and street address. In this day of identity theft, it is safer to just include a city, cell phone number and e-mail address. Further, the font was small and hard to read, the margins were too wide and the text did not cover the pages well. My biggest concern was that his name was not included on the second page.
Moreover, the presentation did not immediately say this is a $100K+, senior executive. All of the lines of text ran together, so there was little visual separation between different parts of the resume. These format issues are all corrected on the final resume.
The “Executive Summary” was too general. It did not clearly give an overview about the candidate. His new “Headline” now gives a clear and succinct snapshot that drives home the objectives outlined below:
1. He is a Vice President of Sales. This is stated in large, bold, and upper-case letters.
2. His industry is telecom and converged communications. Some senior sales executives have worked in multiple industries, but he has more focused expertise.
3. He has experience working with companies at various stages in their lifecycle. This will make him attractive to companies at any of these stages.
These are very specific for a Vice President of Sales. We created a table format for easy scanning by an executive recruiter, hiring manager or human resources manager. We even highlighted key words that potential employers provided in their job postings. This way, both a person and a computer can easily find and identify his core competencies: what he knows and what he can do.
It is important to include some information about previous work environments. Even though he worked at companies which are well-known, it is still necessary to give a context. These short descriptions are pulled from the company web pages.
The client has been providing high-level consulting since early 2007, but this information was not mentioned on the original resume. However, in conversation during the writing process, we decided this should be included. We did not over-emphasize it, but we did need to account for that time. The consulting is relevant to his prior work and professional expertise.
Return to Previous Employers
The client worked twice for two companies over a 25-year period. Though we could have grouped the two tenures with each company together, we decided to present this in a standard chronological format so not to confuse the reader.
Duties vs. Accomplishments
We separated the company descriptions from his duties and further separated out his accomplishments. Extra emphasis was placed on each bullet by bolding some of the information. This makes it easy for the reader to immediately understand that he gets things done. For each set of bullets, we put the most important ones first (i.e. revenue producing), and then followed with others for cost reductions and industry partnerships.
Team Management and Leadership
The client has managed cross-functional teams with over 80 people. We visually highlighted this by including it behind each job title. This has more impact than if we had incorporated the numbers into his job responsibilities. It helps position him as a senior executive who has direct, indirect, and matrix reporting experience.
Some writers are rigid about how far back they recommend going on a resume. We decided to focus more on whether the older experience supported his capabilities and his job search objectives. After all, this candidate will be hired because of his experience, not in spite of his age. We included Confidential Company B from 1983–1986 because it showed additional industry experience and career progression. However, we eliminated the work experience for 1976 – 1983 that was included on the original resume because it was no longer relevant.
We included the client’s M.S. behind his name at the top of the first and second pages, but we eliminated the dates for his degrees. Not everyone in sales has a Masters, so it helps to differentiate him right away.
We discussed his Eagle Scout designation. He is very proud of it, because few Scouts actually reach that level of achievement. We made some room so it could be included. Now it’s easy to see that he had leadership skills and qualities even as a young man.
The key is to write a resume primarily for a person to read, even though a computer will also scan it for key words and relevancy. It now has a structure and some flexibility so that the candidate can make changes as he wishes for different job opportunities. We want everyone to be self-sufficient in working with their own resume.
This new resume now clearly presents the client as a senior executive with a strong industry, sales and business development background. Not to mention, he is also better prepared to interview after going through this writing process. Overall, he will bring both top-line and bottom-line growth to whatever company is lucky enough to bring him onboard.