Executive Job Search? You’ll Need More Than a Resume

Tips for Doing an Executive Job Search


Executive Job Search? You'll Need More Than a Resume

It might intrigue you to learn that you’ll be judged by more than just your resume during your executive job search.

A full resume is most likely not going to be the only source of information that recruiters use to decide if you are the right person to be interviewed.

Surprised? You’ll find that recruiters, company owners, Boards of Directors, and other hiring decision-makers often look at your experience through a series of interviews and investigations.  This means that your executive resume is just one part of the process.

You need to be very clear about the audience which will be looking at your portfolio.  Don’t overlook all the steps required (initial screening, in-depth interviews, panel reviews, Board interviews) in the hiring process.  Your resume needs to be the best fit for each situation and supported by an impressive portfolio.

Does your executive portfolio include these four components?  Are they designed to capture attention at all the right levels?

Executive Biography

The Biography is effectively the “cheat sheet”, a short, narrative-form document.  It often appeals to readers that are not engaged in the technical detail of a full resume.

In addition to being shorter than a full resume, the bio can also be infused with more personality.  It can give the reader a different perspective on your leadership traits, beliefs, and principles.

The likely readers of an Executive Biography include networking contacts and Boards of Directors. This means that the bio will be most useful either early in your job search or in the later stages of your executive interviews.

Some of your networking contacts may be connectors rather than hiring decision-makers. This group is easily overwhelmed by a full resume and can be much more receptive to the single-page Executive Biography.

Your full resume will have been already examined by hiring authorities before you get to interview stage. This is the perfect time to bring your Executive Biography as a leave-behind document for an interview with the Board.

LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile is a critical piece of an executive portfolio but it is often overlooked.

Many executives set up a Profile very quickly and then abandon it, becoming preoccupied with their work. This can be a costly mistake!

Your LinkedIn Profile may be the first piece of information encountered by a corporate recruiter or independent headhunter. Therefore it must be polished, professional, and keyword-heavy.  The keywords help others find through LinkedIn’s internal search engine.

Within LinkedIn it is best to have populated each of the site’s main sections with sufficient information to convey your executive brand and trigger a recruiter’s interest. It should not just be a rehash of your resume. Be sure to fill out the Headline, Summary, Specialties, Experience and Education.

Cover Letter

There is a myth that hiring authorities rarely read cover letters. Some audiences (company owners, CEOs, and Presidents) might not even glance at your resume until they’ve fully digested the contents of your letter.

These groups are usually probing for specific leadership and communications abilities that they feel are more evident within the letter. Investors, in particular, like to read a very short, bottom-line value proposition letter in lieu of a resume.

In short, don’t write off a cover letter as an important document in the hiring process. You might find that it was this part of your portfolio that influenced an interviewing decision.

Full Resume

Social media and recruiting experts often pose the question, “Is the resume dead?”

The need for a resume won’t go away soon. You’ll absolutely be asked to send your resume to many contacts at different stages of your search.

Of course, since your executive resume is technically the centerpiece of your presentation, it must therefore convince employers of your brand, value proposition, and leadership standing.  This is no small feat!

To create such a powerful document you’ll need to get up to speed on resume trends.

Formats and presentation styles have changed considerably.  A full executive resume should encapsulate your strategic contributions, along with metrics, testimonials, success stories, and leadership competencies, all inside a well-written masterpiece.

Often, the best readers of a full resume will be those that thrive on analytical detail (such as operations or technology executives that hire EVP and Director-level candidates).

Executive Job Search Portfolio

In summary, an executive portfolio is a must for serious job hunters ready to assume a leadership role. The days of distributing an executive resume without backup in the form of an Executive Biography, LinkedIn Profile, or Cover letter are gone!

Your job search will be smoother, faster, and more effective with a well-rounded, branded portfolio that appeals to the diverse audiences you’ll encounter.

About the author

Laura Smith-Proulx is an award-winning Executive Resume Writer, former recruiter, and multicredentialed expert. She has a 98% success rate opening doors to prestigious jobs through personal branding. The Executive Director of An Expert Resume, she partners exclusively with CIO, CTO, COO, CEO, CFO, SVP, VP, and Director candidates.

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