How do you write a resume? With so many conflicting opinions out there, we’ve set out to find the ultimate answer to this question.
You’ve been climbing the career ladder for years, and now, the top is within your reach. Your professional experience, knowledge, and achievements prove that you belong on the C level. But before you can add CEO to your business card, you must state your case with an executive resume.
What you need is an action plan with proven advice that you can use to make that executive resume deliver. And with this article, you’ll be able to do that before EOD.
In this guide:
- An executive resume template suitable for C-level jobs.
- How to add value to your executive job description on a resume.
- How to leverage your qualifications to write a resume for executive jobs.
- Best practices to implement to increase your chances of landing an executive job.
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Would you like to check some specific resume examples for executives or management positions? See the guides below:
- Account Manager Resume Sample
- Business Manager Resume Example
- Business Owner Resume Example
- CEO Resume Example
- Chief Financial Officer Resume Example
- COO Resume Example
- District Manager Resume
- HR Manager Resume Example
- Manager Resume Example
- Operations Manager Resume Example
- Program Manager Resume Example
- Project Manager Resume Sample
Executive Resume Template
Goal-oriented executive director with 14+ years of experience in business analysis. Adept in new business development, finance, and data analysis. Eager to increase operations efficiency and the target delivery rate at TeaTime Ltd. Achieved a revenue increase of $2.5 million at Adam's Tree in 2019.
Adam’s Tree, San Francisco, CA
- Detected an opportunity to cut costs related to marketing and promotional activities by 27%.
- Performed data-driven analysis of market needs, characteristics, and growth opportunities to develop business strategies for emerging markets.
- Collaborated with stakeholders, managers, and individuals across the business to strengthen relationships, promote accountability, and encourage high performance from others.
- Directed financial operations with strict adherence to the company’s budget.
- Succeeded in developing a multichannel revenue plan that increased the annual revenue by $2.5 million in 2019.
Financial and Business Analyst
Copernicus Next, San Francisco, CA
November 2010–February 2017
- Provided analytical support based on the interpretation of data in order to develop KPIs and increase operational efficiency.
- Created cost & benefit analyses for new business initiatives with planned budgets exceeding $100,000.
- Assisted C-level executives with financial budgeting, forecasting, resource allocation, segmentation, and merchandising.
- Developed insightful reports, presentations, and other forms of data visualizations to support strategic business decisions.
- Identified an opportunity to cut merchandising costs through outsourcing opportunities that led to saving $230,000 in 2015 and 2016.
Green Leaf, San Francisco, CA
June 2008–October 2010
- Analyzed customer behaviors to support the development of customer strategies in collaboration with account managers and the sales department.
- Maintained data in CRM and worked with account and sales managers to ensure accuracy.
- Examined market opportunities and trends to identify new development opportunities for customer acquisition.
- Identified opportunities for improving various business processes in collaboration with other departments.
Master of Business Administration
University of San Francisco, CA
September 2006–May 2008
Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics
University of San Francisco, CA
September 2000–June 2004
- Strategic oversight
- Data analysis
- Financial management
- Leadership skills
- Decision making
- Interpersonal skills
- Excel, Tableau
- Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, October 2018
- Project Management Professional Certification, September 2017
- Microsoft Excel Expert, June 2010
- Guest speaker at Women in Business conference, Washington D.C., 11–13 June 2021
- Member of the Executives Association of San Francisco since 2018.
- Founder of the Education for All charity organization focused on providing scholarships for talented students.
An executive supervises a company or organization. Responsibilities of executives often include making strategic decisions, setting business goals, working in collaboration with senior-level management, overseeing budgets, and building long-standing relationships with other organizations.
Continue reading to learn how to create an executive resume template that highlights all of the above:
1. Choose the Best Executive Resume Format
Even the strongest candidate for a CEO may fail if their executive resume doesn’t deliver. To make it impactful, the executive resume must seamlessly merge the contents with the form. There’s no space for dissonance. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to maximize the potential of your application—it all comes down to mastering the resume format.
Start by creating the right executive resume format:
- Go for the reverse-chronological format to highlight your most recent accomplishments.
- Create a resume layout by making an outline for a resume with all the sections you’re planning to use.
- Select the best resume fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, or Helvetica, to ensure good readability.
- Set the margins on the resume to 1 inch on all sides.
- Save the resume in a PDF or Doc unless the job advertisement asks for a different one.
Expert Hint: Many senior managers have a varied skill set consisting of industry knowledge, leadership qualities, management skills, and additional qualifications. If your personal brand is built on your versatility, consider using the chrono-functional resume format. This format puts the spotlight on competencies as well as professional experience.
2. Introduce Yourself With a Resume Profile
It’s likely that you’ve taken part in many recruitment processes. How much time did you really have to consider all applicants? It shouldn’t surprise you that most hiring managers spend just a few seconds reviewing a resume. That’s why it’s important to catch their attention right away. The right resume profile can certainly do that, but it really must give its 110%.
An executive resume needs a powerful resume summary. One that’s authoritative, short, and informative. Your executive resume summary must get the message across in just 3–4 sentences.
How to write an executive resume summary in 6 steps:
- Start with a strong personality adjective, such as “driven,”“resourceful,” etc.
- Follow with your job title and area of expertise.
- Add years of experience.
- Include the goal you want to achieve for the company.
- Name major achievements from previous positions.
- Top it off with a selection of relevant skills.
See the examples below to understand these principles better:
Executive Summary for a Resume—Example
This example screams leadership qualities. All the elements of a great resume summary are included, and they fit together nicely.
Is this example terrible? No, but it’s just vague. And no company wants to hire an executive who doesn’t impress the stakeholders.
3. Describe Your Professional Experience
Over the years, you’ve driven growth, transformed businesses, and mentored others. Now is the time to capitalize on those professional accomplishments. The work experience section of an executive resume must showcase the best examples of your career achievements.
Follow the instructions below to make a strong work experience section of your resume:
- List the relevant positions starting with the most recent one. You might skip jobs from more than 10 years ago unless you feel that they’re relevant to the position you’re pursuing now.
- Describe your executive responsibilities using action words to put emphasis on your accomplishments.
- Highlight one major professional achievement for each position described.
- Use resume keywords that mimic the requirements from the job advertisement to pass the ATS scans.
Check the example below:
Executive Resume Sample—Work Experience
What makes this candidate’s achievements so impressive? Numbers. Quantifiable achievements are indisputable. That’s why you want them in your executive resume.
This candidate might be great, but they can’t prove it. And hiring managers will move on to the next resume.
Your work experience is closely related to the professional skill set you’ve mastered. But this isn’t the only way to present your executive skills. You should also add them to your resume in a separate list.
Executive Resume Examples: Skills
New business development
Budgeting and forecasting
Making data-backed decisions
Business process improvement
But which ones to choose?
It all circles back to the job advertisement. You must ensure that your skill list matches the job requirements outlined in the ad. And here’s how you can do it:
- Make a long list of your professional skills and soft skills for managers, such as leadership abilities, interpersonal skills, or effective communication.
- Add a few relevant computer skills, such as the software you use regularly.
- Compare your list with the job requirements.
- Select 7–10 skills you’ve mastered that match the job advertisement.
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4. List Education on Your Resume
Let’s be honest—this isn’t the most important section of your executive resume, especially if you’re a candidate with decades of experience. But, according to studies, 98% of CEOs hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, and 52% of North American CEOs have at least a Master’s degree. So it can still be a dealbreaker, and that’s why you must include education on your resume.
Here’s how to do it:
- List your highest degree along with the name of the school and years of study.
- Mention ambitious achievements, such as receiving a prestigious scholarship.
Have a look at the example below:
If you belonged to a sorority or fraternity, adding information about them is also a good idea. It’s estimated that even as much as 85% of Fortune 500 executives have been members of student organizations. So, be proud of your Greek Life. After all, being a fraternity or sorority member is a great way to hone leadership skills. And if the hiring manager reading your executive resume knows the organization you’re talking about, there’s a chance they’ll invite you for an interview.
5. Select Extra Sections for Your Executive Resume
It’s not the end of the process yet. You can still invest a little more time and effort in your executive resume. How? By adding extra sections to hold relevant achievements and additional qualifications.
You can choose from the following sections:
- Associations: There are thousands of business associations in the US. You can find large national industry associations or try small, locally-oriented organizations that unite entrepreneurs.
- Certifications or licenses: Many C-level professionals hold certifications in leadership, business management, project management, and much more.
- Conferences: Being a guest speaker at a business conference can help your networking efforts and improve your personal brand recognition.
- Freelance work: Spending your own time on providing consulting services or strengthening your local community can provide you with a fresh perspective on work-related matters.
- Interests: It’s not as silly as it sounds—personal interests have the power to turn into full-time careers. For example, being a home brewer can be your gateway to managing a brewing facility.
- Languages: The number of international businesses is growing, and being able to communicate with stakeholders in their first language is a major plus.
- Volunteer work: Volunteering can help you develop your interpersonal skills, build a positive image for your personal brand, and make an impact locally.
See the example below:
Sample Executive Resume—Additional Sections
It’s easy to see that this candidate uses their time in a constructive way—either to develop their own professional skillset or to make a positive impact on others.
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Here’s a short summary of how to write an executive resume worthy of C-level jobs:
- Use the executive resume template up top as your writing model. It includes all the key elements of a powerful executive resume.
- Sprinkle relevant accomplishments in your resume summary, work experience, education, and other sections to highlight your abilities.
- Make a curated skill section including all important executive skills that match the job requirements.
- Write a matching cover letter for an executive position that conveys your passion for the job.
Need more advice on writing an executive resume? Not sure how to create a powerful summary for an executive resume? Let me know in the comments below.