If you are seeking an entry-level job, a general resume is probably all you need. As you move up the career ladder and apply for senior-level positions in your job search, you will need a resume that better reflects your experience, accomplishments, education/training, and career goals. Creating an executive resume is not an easy task, and many senior-level job seekers make blunders that could cost them the job of their dreams.

Target a specific position.

One of the biggest mistakes senior-level candidates make when crafting an executive resume is failing to spell out a clear job target. If your resume is too broadly structured, it will not get the attention of the people in charge of hiring top talent.

The executive resume should be clearly targeting a specific audience, not broadly structured to appeal to all. The individual receiving the resume should be able to make a direct connection between your skills and talents and the position you are seeking. Senior-level recruiters and hiring managers are busy people, so you need to make your executive resume clear, concise, and to the point.

Create a strong objective statement.

One of the biggest challenges in crafting an executive resume is how to use the objective statement. A generic objective could send your resume straight to the trash pile, so think carefully about what you are looking for and how your talents fit with the opportunity you are seeking. Your objective should be as specific as possible – focusing on why you want the job, what you have to offer, and how your past successes have prepared you for this current opportunity.

Consider this your personal branding ad.

Writing an executive resume should also be an exercise in personal branding. Like it or not, in the modern economy, your abilities, experience, and personal brand are inextricably linked. If you want to create a killer resume that will open the doors to the corner office, you need to take personal branding seriously.

Building a personal brand is not as difficult as you might think. When writing your resume, personal branding just means linking your key attributes, passions, and strengths and distilling them into a value proposition the hiring manager finds attractive. Simply put, you need to demonstrate the things that differentiate you from other candidates seeking the same executive-level position. Be sure to check back when we publish our “Personal Branding Exercise” link here in the next few days!

Imagine being the hiring manager or recruiter.

Putting yourself in the place of the decision makers on the other end of your resume is always a smart exercise. The people who hire executives are looking for a number of indispensable qualities, including vitality, relevant experience, and leadership. Those professionals are also looking for individuals who are a good fit for the organization and with whom they have a personal chemistry. An executive resume that allows your personality to shine through is sure to get noticed.

Create a value proposition.

As you craft your executive resume, always keep the “What’s in it for me?” question in mind. If you hope to achieve a senior position, you need to bring real value to the table. That means writing a resume that showcases your value to the company and how hiring you can help them achieve their goals.

Creating a value proposition is an essential part of building an executive resume. Your competitors in the market probably possess many of the same qualities that you do. In order to differentiate yourself from all the others, you need to show the people in charge of the hiring decision that you bring something truly special to the conversation.

Listing your past accomplishments and job duties may be enough for a normal resume, but it simply will not do for an executive resume. Instead of focusing on what you did, use your resume to share stories of the difference you made for past employers.

Use the Challenge-Action-Results Formula.

Some of the most successful executive resume writers follow what high-end recruiters call the Challenge-Action-Results Formula. The resume starts by explaining the challenges the executive candidate faced, followed by the actions they took and the results they were able to achieve. This formula helps reassure hiring managers that they have found the right candidate for the job.

Celebrate your successes.

Write your resume to focus on your most important and most relevant successes. Hone in on the experiences that have prepared you for the job you are seeking, and leave the rest of the stuff for the interview.

Pay special attention to the top part of your resume – that is the section the recruiter will see when they open the envelope or click on your profile. The men and women who hire executive talent are busy people, and they may not be able to spend more than 10 seconds reviewing each resume. Make that 10 seconds count by placing your most relevant accomplishments above the fold.

Triple-check it for grammatical errors and misspellings.

It should go without saying that an executive resume should be letter perfect, but you would be surprised at how many top talent resumes are riddled with spelling errors, typos and grammatical issues. Before you send a single resume, you should have a knowledgeable friend review it for spelling, grammar and consistency. At the very least, a second set of eyes and a second opinion can help you spot errors you previously overlooked. We offer a fast and free resume critique ($49 value!). Check it out to see all the resume help we offer!


Moving up the career ladder is no easy feat. You have put a lot of time and effort into getting the right education, building a strong network and seeking out the best growth opportunities. Spending a few extra minutes to craft the perfect resume can help you land the perfect position and get to the next rung on the corporate ladder.