Secrets of an Executive Resume Writer: Where to Put Key Information

by Smith-Proulx, Laura Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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Like hiring managers and recruiters, I read plenty of resumes sent to me by job hunters hopeful for a shot at a great new role. And like hiring authorities, I struggle to find the most pertinent information about each candidate as I scan through the documents.

Many professionals still adhere to resume formats that kill their chances of winning an interview, burying their most attractive credentials and making it harder for employers to see salient points.

However, it's not your fault! Setting out to write your own resume is a daunting task that throws even the most skilled writer for a loop.

Marketing managers, HR directors, and even journalists can struggle to write a successful, interview-winning resume, as they often miss key points about their own career histories and are unsure how to quickly make that critical first impression.

What truly masterful executive and professional resume writers know is that the ORDER in which your resume displays your skills can make or break the reception you get.

Here's an example: I recently received a resume from a seasoned operations executive that listed his education first, then his work history. No professional summary, just a quick list of who he'd worked for and a few numbers.

Halfway into reading it, I spotted some organizational projects that he'd led that had trimmed expenses by 30%, allowing the company to open a new facility with no extra staff! Why wasn't THIS information front and center?

In another case, I worked with an executive that had graduated from Notre Dame, plus earned an MBA from a prestigious university.

Even though his recent experience as a CFO was much more prominent than the education, these university names could be a key qualifier that resonated with employers.

Therefore, I brought this information to the forefront by noting it in the executive profile of his new resume--eliminating eyestrain for hiring managers who might be on the lookout for these notable qualifications.

My advice for you? Take a STRATEGIC look at what you offer, noting the top 3-5 qualifications, credentials, and achievements that will make you stand out among others vying for the same job.

Next, redistribute this information on your resume so that it gives an immediate impression of who you are, what you do, and why employers need YOU to solve business problems.

You'll find that, the less your reader needs to hunt for key data, the higher volume of interviews--and successful job offers--will come your way.