Resume Template: Executive

by | Resume Templates, Resume Templates: Business

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As an executive, your job involves a variety of responsibilities and each day can be wildly different from the next.

When it comes to listing your experiences and strengths on paper, you may find it difficult to describe your unique skill set. But when it comes time to look for your next opportunity, writing your experiences down on paper is exactly what you need to be able to do.

You may be qualified, but so will the other candidates. A well-written executive resume — one that shares not only your work history but also what you accomplished in your previous roles — will help you stand out and land more interviews.

In this article, we are going to share everything you need to know about writing an interesting, informative resume.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample executive resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best executive resume you possibly can.

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Executive Resume (Text Version)

CONTACT INFO:

Lauren Peabody
[email protected]
(718) 627-0349
New York City, NY
linkedin.com/lpeabody

SUMMARY STATEMENT

Executive: Results-driven executive with over 10 years of experience in both domestic and international markets. Strong leadership and business development skills with a proven ability to expand sales opportunities, successfully restructure organizations, and retrain teams to more efficient practices.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Leadership
  • Negotiations
  • Management & Team Building
  • Developing Key Partnerships
  • Public Relations
  • Organizational Restructuring
  • Strategic Planning
  • Market Research & Analysis

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Foreman & Howe
New York City, NY | Chief Executive Officer | October 2016–Present

  • Created strategic long-term plan for expanding the company’s presence in the global market
  • Negotiated multi-million dollar contracts with international clients, increasing annual profits by 12%
  • Ensured compliance with all state, national, and international regulations

Advanced Computer Solutions
New York City, NY | Senior Project Manager | April 2011–September 2016

  • Implemented crucial software updates across all business branches that saved $2.7 million annually
  • Used targeted training to eliminate recurring roadblocks in workflow, thus reducing sales cycle by 35%
  • Reached all goal milestones and completed projects 8 months ahead of schedule on average

Frontier Clothing Retailers
New Haven, CT | Regional Business Manager | January 2009–March 2011

  • Managed a team of 35 managers to increase sales volume by 32% across all stores within the region
  • Used income and expense analysis to reduce unnecessary expenditures and boost annual profits
  • Developed successful marketing campaigns increasing customer engagement by 30%

EDUCATION/CERTIFICATION

Bachelor of Arts: Leadership and Management
New York University, New York, NY
Class of 2006

Master of Business Administration
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
2008

Six Sigma Certification – Yellow Belt

How to Format Your Resume

Do you know what one of the biggest differences between good resumes and not-so-good resumes is? Formatting.

Formatting plays such a big role in resume writing because of the very short amount of time you have to get the attention of the hiring team. The average hiring manager will only look at a resume for about six seconds. If you don’t grab their attention in six seconds, your materials might end up in the trash.

To get your point across quickly, you should be listing your best work first. This means you should utilize a format known as reverse chronological order, where you list your most relevant, recent experiences first and work backward.

Since your executive resume will most likely be read by a human reviewer and bots (more on this later), you need to be sure that your resume is easy to read. Stick to simple formatting and an easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial. Be straightforward — formatting is not the time to try to stand out.

Make sure to include whitespace to help guide the eye. No one wants to read big blocks of text, so use a mix of short paragraphs and bulleted lists, and be careful with your spacing.

The Executive Resume Summary

Let’s go back to those six seconds. You know you have to grab the hiring manager’s attention quickly, so how should you do it?

The best attention-getter is to include a resume summary at the top of the page.

Your resume summary is a two or three sentence paragraph that shares your top skills, experiences, and attributes that make you a great candidate. Think of it as a summation of your “greatest hits” that will convince the hiring manager that they should keep reading to learn more about you.

Remember, it’s just a summary, so don’t create a big block of text. Keep it informative and specific, but brief. Try to avoid repeating yourself or being too general.

What does a good executive resume summary look like?

Let’s look at some examples:

Yes!

Results-driven executive with over 10 years of experience in both domestic and international markets. Strong leadership and business development skills with a proven ability to expand sales opportunities, successfully restructure organizations, and retrain teams to more efficient practices.

No!

I am a successful executive with diverse experiences. I have worked at multiple organizations in multiple industries.

The Yes! example is informative and specific. It inspires confidence in your abilities by sharing not only what you did during your time in this role but also the things that you accomplished at this company.

The second summary is very general, repetitive, and doesn’t position you as a good candidate. It doesn’t really tell us anything about you, your skills, or your accomplishments. This example is also written in the first person, which is not generally used in resume writing.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

Following the resume summary is where you should list your key accomplishments.

Notice how we used “list” here.

By creating a list of your area of expertise, a busy hiring manager has the option to quickly look at your qualifications to see if you’re a good fit.

What should you include? This section is where you should share any of your skills that you think might set you apart from the rest of the candidates, like knowledge of a computer program or skills specific to your industry.

When filling out this list, be sure to consult the job description. If you have any of the particular skills the employer is looking for, be sure to include them here.

Example:

  • Leadership
  • Negotiations
  • Management & Team Building
  • Developing Key Partnerships
  • Public Relations
  • Organizational Restructuring
  • Strategic Planning
  • Market Research & Analysis

When drafting your list, try to think about your skills in terms of hard skills and soft skills.

What is the difference?

Hard skills are objective and technical. That means they can usually be taught, so you may have learned them in school or at work, and you can get better at them with practice. This category includes skills like computer programming, data entry, or equipment operation.

Soft skills are much more subjective. You may have heard of skills in this category called “people skills.” They usually cannot be taught and include things like communication or reliability.

Being a good executive requires both hard and soft skills, so be sure to include a mix of the two categories in your list.

(Below you will find a helpful table with some suggested hard and soft skills for executives that will help you with this section.)

Work History

Your resume summary has captured the attention of the hiring team and your list of key accomplishments has shown that you are qualified.

Now it’s time to convince the hiring manager that you are a great candidate for the position. You’ll do that by sharing informative descriptions of your work experiences.

In this section, you’ll utilize reverse chronological order to ensure that your best work gets seen first. Except in rare cases, your most recent positions are the most relevant to the job you are applying for, so you’re going to list those experiences first and work backward through your work history.

Use three to five bullet points to describe each role. Since you don’t have a lot of space here, you need to be as informative as you can, while keeping it brief.

Remember, don’t just list the basic duties of your position — you want to share what you accomplished during that time. Start off each bullet point with an action word and be as specific as possible. If you have any quantifiable information, like sales numbers or website traffic data, it will help inspire confidence in your abilities.

Most resumes should only be one page in length. This means that you don’t have to list every single job you’ve ever had — choose the ones that are most relevant and impressive.

Let’s look at an example.

Yes!

Foreman & Howe | New York City, NY | Chief Executive Officer | October 2016–Present

  • Created strategic long-term plan for expanding the company’s presence in the global market
  • Negotiated multimillion dollar contracts with international clients, increasing annual revenue from $23 million to $39 millio
  • Ensured compliance with all state, national, and international regulations

No!

Foreman & Howe | New York City, NY | Chief Executive Officer | October 2016–Present

  • I was in charge of all operations
  • Responsible for leading the company
  • Managed all people

The first example is descriptive and specific. Each bullet point is unique and starts off with an action word. Notice how the quantifiable information in the second bullet demonstrates your capabilities and inspires confidence.

The second example is much less effective. It doesn’t do much other than outline some of the basic duties of an executive and does not share any of your accomplishments. It also uses the first person, which is not recommended.

PRO TIP: Remember to use diverse language. Because the descriptions of your previous roles are short and concise, if you repeat yourself often, it will be very noticeable.

More About Bots

Employers will often get so many responses to a job posting that there is no way for them to read through the materials from every single applicant. To help find the best candidates, organizations will use programs called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

ATS are programmed to look for keywords, generally from the job description, and set aside resumes that contain those keywords. It’s those resumes, approved by the ATS, that hiring managers will see.

That means it is absolutely essential for you to read the job description for keywords and use them while writing your resume. If you don’t use keywords, you won’t get flagged as a good candidate by the ATS, even if you’re qualified for the position.

PRO TIP: Make sure that you’re using keywords exactly how they appear in the job posting. If you use a synonym, the ATS might not know to flag your resume, even if you’re describing a skill the employer is looking for.

To impress a potential ATS, some applicants will write the descriptions of their positions in paragraph format, instead of in bullet points, to try to fit in more keywords.

Let’s look at what both formats look like.

Bullet Point Format:

Foreman & Howe | New York City, NY | Chief Executive Officer | October 2016–Present

  • Created strategic long-term plan for expanding the company’s presence in the global market
  • Negotiated multimillion dollar contracts with international clients, increasing annual revenue from $23 million to $39 million
  • Ensured compliance with all state, national, and international regulations/li>

Paragraph format:

Foreman & Howe | New York City, NY | Chief Executive Officer | October 2016–Present
Created strategic long-term plan for expanding the company’s presence in the global market. Negotiated multimillion dollar contracts with international clients, increasing annual revenue from $23 million to $39 million. Ensured compliance with all state, national, and international regulations.

Both of these examples use the same number of keywords and are equally likely to get through an ATS.

The difference is that the second example creates a big, text-heavy paragraph. Even if both of these examples get through the ATS, the first example is the one that would most likely appeal to a busy hiring manager.

For this reason, at Big Interview, we recommend using the bulleted list format.

Your Education Background

Now it’s time to move on to the education section.

Here is where you can expand on your educational background, including any degrees you have earned and certifications you’ve completed.

In this section, you’re going to use reverse chronological order again. Start by listing your highest degree and work your way backward. (For example, a master’s degree would be listed before your bachelor’s.)

Don’t forget to include the school you attended, your field of study, and the year you earned your degree.

If you are a recent graduate, you may choose to list your GPA. It may be relevant to your executive resume now, but be sure to evaluate this the longer you are in the workforce because it will become less so.

Example:

Bachelor of Arts: Leadership and Management
New York University, New York, NY
Class of 2006

Master of Business Administration
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
2008

If you have any other certificates or trainings that you think are relevant, feel free to include them here. Online coursework or workshops can also go here.

Example:

  • “Advanced Team Building Techniques,” Weekend Course, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Six Sigma Certification – Yellow Belt

Alternative Sections to Include

If you find that you have extra space and/or areas of interest that don’t necessarily fall into the other sections, you can consider adding other categories.

Some of the sections you could include in your executive resume are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What if You Have Limited Experience?

Contrary to what you might think, it is possible to position yourself as a good candidate for a job even if you have no prior experience. It’s all about taking the experiences you do have and using them to show your knowledge of the industry.

If you are a recent graduate or just someone making a career change, you can position your information a little differently to show that you are a competitive candidate.

If you have limited experience, you should still start your executive resume off with an informative summary. But after your key accomplishments, move your education section under your key accomplishments instead of under your work history. Do this because your education section is more relevant to the role you’re applying for than your work history.

When it comes to showing your knowledge of the industry, you probably have more experience than you think you do — it just might not be in the form of traditional work.

Think about any courses you’ve taken, volunteer work you’ve done or internships you’ve completed. Don’t forget to list relevant summer jobs or workshops.

PRO TIP: Remember your soft skills! There are plenty of soft skills that are needed to be a good executive. Think about the experiences you’ve had where you may have exhibited skills like leadership or communication.

Resume Points to Remember

Keep it to one page

With very few exceptions, most resumes should only be one page in length. This means you probably will need to be selective with the roles you choose to include.

Read the job description

We can’t emphasize this enough: Read the job description. Print it out and highlight the keywords so you remember to use as many as you can.

Get a proofreader

When you’ve been staring at the same page for hours to craft the perfect descriptions of your work history, it’s easy to miss some things. Get a friend with fresh eyes to look over your completed resume for spelling errors, typos, and spacing issues.

Resume “Don’ts” to Remember

Don’t be wordy

You don’t have a lot of space, so keep things informative, yet brief. The hiring manager won’t read big blocks of text, so use short paragraphs and bulleted lists.

Don’t use personal pronouns

It may feel odd to talk about yourself without using the first person, but words like “I” and “me” don’t really belong in resume writing.

Don’t forget the basics

Be sure to include all the materials the employer is asking you to submit in the job description. It may seem silly, but don’t forget to include the necessary contact information, like an email address, phone number, and LinkedIn profile.

(Below you’ll find a handy table of power words for executives to use for inspiration.)

Helpful Tools

Executive Resume Power Words

  • Created
  • Negotiated
  • Managed
  • Implemented
  • Reached
  • Ensured
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Initiated
  • Handled
  • Formulated
  • Generated
  • Improved
  • Updated
  • Analyzed
  • Identified

Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
Negotiation Leadership
Organizational Restructuring Communication
Market Research Team Building
Public Relations Management
Strategic Planning Reliability

Further Resources

We have many great resources available to you 100% free on the Big Interview blog. Read the articles below for more information on resumes and cover letters.

The Art of Writing a Great Resume Summary Statement

How Long Should a Resume Be?

Creating Really Good Resumes

How to Get the Applicant Tracking System to Pick Your Resume

8 Design Ideas to Make Your Resume Pop

6 Tricks to Makeover Your Resume…Fast

How to Write a Cover Letter