What Makes a Good Executive Resume?


Work experience is one of the critical components of an executive resume, so be sure to emphasize any relevant roles for the position for which you’re applying.

Use measurable achievements instead of listing job responsibilities, such as revenues, productivity, and cost-savings figures as metrics for measuring success.

Focus on the Highlights

Executive-level professionals often have an abundance of accomplishments to showcase on their resume. Instead of listing all your jobs and duties exhaustively, focus on those demonstrating your leadership and skillset. In Jake’s executive resume sample, he includes “Selected Achievements,” often known as “Career Highlights.” This section allows recruiters to quickly understand his career highlights while comprehending his impactful contributions to business operations – an excellent way of distinguishing your accomplishments when competing against executives with more experience under their belts.

If you’re uncertain what qualifications an ideal employer would look for in an ideal candidate, consider what an academic degree, membership in professional associations, or leadership programs might look like in a resume sample like Jake’s. In it, he lists these along with relevant job roles he has held, relevant experience years, and his extensive network that illustrates he possesses what’s necessary to do the job successfully.

Work experience sections of executive resumes are among the most critical and should take the most time and attention when writing them. Starting with your current or most recent position and moving backward in your career history, ensure every detail provided is as strong as possible. Jake begins each bullet point by using trending keywords related to that position before explaining their impact through sentences that include metrics (e.g., measurable growth or cost reduction) where possible.

Because executive recruitment processes take longer, your resume must stand out. Formatting, content, and structure should all be impeccable with an accessible layout; reverse chronological formats, popular among executive candidates, are also recommended.

Be Specific

Executive job applicants need a solid resume to secure interviews. When creating your executive resume, be as specific as possible when outlining skills – for instance, in your skills section, pick out one or two impressive abilities and use these as the basis of your description – this will make your resume stand out and increase chances of being noticed during interviews.

As for your work experience, focus on your most recent roles and accomplishments within them. Consider leaving off any roles older than that or, at the very least, condensing them by leaving out dates altogether and simply listing the company name and role involved.

As with your experience section, make sure that it highlights only the most impressive and relevant parts of your career experience. Regarding education, only include qualifications directly relevant to your target position, such as high-level degrees, and exclude any credentials that will fail to impress a hiring manager (e.g., O-levels).

Include any relevant board memberships or professional affiliations that demonstrate your dedication to the industry and can open doors with other executives. This section can also serve as an opportunity to establish contacts. For boards, startups, and other organizations, ensure you include information such as their name, role in it, years served on the board, etc. If unsure what should go into this section, search the job description for a specific role and use that as a guideline. Be sure to include details of any additional training and development you have undertaken, such as leadership programs or membership in industry bodies. This will demonstrate your continued dedication to your career and commitment to learning new things – while showing an in-depth knowledge of the industry’s challenges, making you a strong candidate for any potential positions.

Be Relevant

Jake included an executive resume summary near the top of his example resume, and most of its content should focus on work experience. That is because career success can serve as one of the most vital indicators of leadership ability and ability; therefore, tailoring this section of your work history accordingly is critical when applying for executive jobs.

This means ensuring that your positions are organized chronologically and that each bullet point contains quantifiable information such as metrics, percentages, and dollar amounts. Furthermore, critical skills required by each position must be included within its bullet points – for instance, Jake highlights “Led strategic initiatives that met company objectives” and “Increased efficiency by introducing new processes” on his example resume.

Be sure to limit the work experience section to 15 years or less unless it’s directly applicable to the position you’re applying for (or you wish to demonstrate longevity as an executive). No one wants recruiters or hiring managers to see jobs that don’t apply directly.

Education can also be included as a short footnote under “Work Experience.” Rephrasing it to read as such could also be beneficial: “Led initiatives that resulted in company-wide savings, improved hiring processes, and strengthened cultural alignment.

As with the application process, omitting certifications or educational qualifications that don’t directly relate to your chosen position may also be advantageous. Volunteer work usually isn’t essential in applying for executive-level roles and should only be included if it demonstrates leadership capabilities or industry expertise. If you belong to a prominent professional association or possess certifications widely recognized for excellence within your industry sector, these may warrant inclusion as “accreditations” sections on your CV.

Be Strategic

At an executive level, you likely possess significant professional experience across numerous industries and departments. Your resume should demonstrate how this experience has led you toward becoming an exemplary leader.

Even though an executive resume should be chronological, you must highlight your career’s most pertinent and representative jobs. This will make you stand out to recruiters and demonstrate why you would make an ideal fit for their role, even with less experience than others. When listing previous work experience, it may also help if dates were left off and instead focused on achievements rather than dates alone.

Enhance the impact of your executive resume by including a “Selected Achievements” section that emphasizes three or four of your most significant and noteworthy accomplishments. This will capture recruiters’ attention in what may otherwise be an uninspiring read.

For example, if you have made significant financial savings in the past, this should be noted as an achievement. Furthermore, leading an effort to turn around an underperforming company successfully would also be worth mentioning.

When discussing your current role, highlight its responsibilities and team size. This demonstrates that you can manage a large team and handle the responsibilities of your new position.

Since executive resumes must appeal to hiring high-level executives, the language used on an executive resume needs to be more formal and direct than usual. Therefore, working with an experienced recruiter or writer who can fine-tune your resume language according to conversations they have with clients and candidates can be very valuable.