3 Ways to Create a Modern Executive Resume

Job seekers need to stand out in a sea of applicants and taking the time to create a modern executive resume could make a huge difference. According to an eye-tracking study done by Ladders, the average recruiter only spends 6 to 8 seconds scanning your resume before passing on you as a candidate OR continuing to read more about you.

Hook your reader first. Then they will be more likely to do a deep dive into your career narrative.

A modernized executive resume will help convey pertinent information on your 1-3 page resume to set you apart from the crowd. Draw focus in a way that will make it as easy as possible or the recruiter or hiring manager to connect the dots between YOU + your experience + the pain points of the job.

Three easy ways to create a modern executive resume

1. Use a resume header

A resume header may be the hook to draw the decision-maker to continue reading. Use the resume header to help quickly connect the dots between your past experience and the role you are applying for. The header should convey important and pertinent information about you to create a lasting first impression. 

“People are visual creatures, it’s amazing how far a header can take someone.”

Teegan Bartos, Career Coach, Jolt Your Career
Sample of a modern executive resume header
A fictitious sample of a modernized resume header is used to draw the reader in.

2. Include testimonials

Studies show that 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. Including testimonials in your resume can offer your reader social proof of their experience with you. A great resume testimonial can validate soft skills that are key differentiators for decision-makers. Annual performance evaluations are often rich illustrations and can provide great content.

Testimonials can be especially helpful if the job seeker has lost their job due to downsizing. They are a way to show that the employee was a valued and trusted member of the team.

“A testimonial is a great way to offer social proof to hiring managers–and one of my fave adds to liven up a resume.”

Erin Kennedy, Executive Resume Writer, Professional Resume Services, Inc.
Sample of a testimonial block on a modern executive resume.
Fictitious sample of a testimonial block on a modernized resume.

3. Highlight holistic leadership qualities

After hooking your reader, it is time to do a deep dive into your career narrative. One of the most important jobs of a resume is to allow the reader to understand what qualities you have that match the needs of the role. Use specific bullet points to highlight these qualities. These qualities are even more impactful when they include specific and quantified results.

Excerpt from modern executive resume showcasing jobseekers qualities with quantified results.
Fictitious sample of a set of bullets highlighting quantified qualities.
Holistic Leadership Qualities
  1. Employment Engagement Score Results
    • Example bullet point: Surpassed high-performance benchmark for employee engagement by 15%. Earned recognition from CHRO for maintaining the division’s highest scores for 3 consecutive years.
  2. Impact of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
    • Example bullet point: Launched an innovative apprenticeship program to create a talent pipeline from an untapped segment of career changers resulting in 12 new hires.
  3. Team Retention & Culture Building Initiatives
    • Example bullet point: Maintain average team happiness score of 4.18 out of 5, leading to only 5 regrettable losses in 3 years in a notably high-turnover industry.
  4. Employee Wellness
    • Example bullet point: Championed employee wellness with new initiatives to address frontline worker fatigue and established return-to-work and remote work policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Modern companies are looking for a modernized resume

Many modern companies want to hire thoughtful, mission-driven employees and are looking at “the total package” beyond just work experience. (If you haven’t read about “Googeliness” yet, you should Google it. In short, it’s a set of intangibles that the tech giant has identified as important. Other FAANG and F100 companies have similar hiring philosophies).

Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. She has relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and has had to execute job searches in completely cold markets. She has been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

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