Executive Resume Mistakes That Are Costing You Money


Executive resumes seem to be getting longer and longer and more and more dated. As someone that owns handful of businesses, some of those in the executive search realm, I see this on a daily basis. I know ageism has become a major issue for those over the age of 40. Once you get into your 50’s it’s even harder and finding employment in your 60’s is a gauntlet.

Everyone wants the up and coming 30 something that they can groom. And if they are seeking someone with 25 years of experience, they better have their act together, have great tenure and be very tech savvy especially when it comes to thinks like ERP systems.

I have listened to companies give feedback about resumes and executives for nearly 20 years. Everything below is really just surface level data that you should be able to fix quickly and easily. Below are the simple fixes you can apply to help get your executive resume in better shape.

Executive Resume Mistakes 

  • No Executive Summary: This covers the possibility that you have an objective statement, an awkward and brief sentence stating your current position and job description, or even no introduction. These are all executive resume mistakes to avoid. You want to sell yourself to the company by promoting your accomplishments. Hiring managers are reviewing hundreds of resumes daily so they will likely only have time to glance at your resume; therefore, a summary that appears to match the job posting keywords with qualifying candidate traits, will have them reading on. Your executive summary should highlight your job title in addition to major qualifications and relevant skills. It should be placed at the top of your first page and formatted correctly. This is a part of your resume that should be catered towards the position held and position seeking and, sometimes, tailored towards a particular industry.  

Professional TipContent placed closer to the top of a page weighs more with search engines. Be sure to not “fluff” your executive summary with irrelevant words just to make it look like more executive, rather actually support the summary while using the right density of keywords to help your resume index higher.

  • Too Many Buzz Words: Everything isn’t black or white, one moment I will say use keywords and now I will say don’t use too many. Everything needs a balance and the right time and place to use the advice. But now you freshened up your resume and it includes more acronyms than you have calendar appointments. You blame that one site claiming to know ‘all the ways of getting you a job with the perfect resume’ for playing up the importance of marketing yourself using buzzwords. We agree you should feature keywords, especially relevant ones, as needed, but not in excess. Listing every tactical detail of all the types of work you have completed is obnoxious and increases the likelihood of the hiring manager losing interest. Just focus on the important information that showcases your accomplishments

Solution: Research the job positions you’re seeking and then compare and contrast that in reference to your current position. Consider which keywords are common to both positions. Manipulate that information to cater to your resume’s purpose – market yourself. Don’t spam the hiring manager with a cluster of information.

  • Lack of Quantitative Data: You’ve earned your position through increasing profitability, efficient budget management, and merging two departments. Complement your information with numbers, dollars, and percentages. Not only does the quantitative data truly distinguish you for the executive candidate that you are but it will scream that you’re a results-oriented candidate. As a Chief Executive Officer, numbers matter. You’ve achieved immense success throughout the years and have earned a prestigious executive position. Don’t just settle on a beginner resume because you lack the time or energy to produce an amazing resume reflective of your career experiences and accomplishments.

Professional Tip: Consult with an executive resume writing service. We encourage you to seek professional expertise when working on your resume if you don’t have a firm grasp on what hiring managers are seeking.

  • Excess Character: We’re talking about character count – and you. Ageism is real and a too long of a resume is a resume mistake you want to avoid. When you’re trying to highlight all your accomplishments in the past 30 years, you’re also aging yourself and likely not in the correct way. A CEO has experience – we understand. Nevertheless, when you’re on your third page of resume writing about your three-month contracted consulting job for a small business in Idaho, not only have you bored the recruiter, you’re wasting valuable space and have made your experience look lengthy rather than valuable.

Professional Tip: Hiring managers are briefly scanning resumes. Having a six page document with paragraphs of content is overkill and will likely eliminate you as a candidate for the position.

  • Unfriendly about “tech-friendly:” Ageism is a major issue today and companies throughout various industries are seeking fresh-minded individuals to bring in new ideas. Ageism is not necessarily your age, it’s keeping up with the new age and all that is to come with new trends. Include information relevant to your technology experience or excitement for technology trends. As a company Executive Officer, you should be acquainted with multiple sources of communication and general technologies. You may have experience video-conferencing with Tokyo or assisting in the development of your company’s new application. Simply stating that you are tech-friendly should be elaborated because after all, there’s a difference between being able to power on your pager and actually implementing the integration of a new software technology which ultimately saved your company 30% of the budget annually. Understanding technology on a wide-spectrum including the different types and functions is key to innovating your company’s technology forecast for future sales plans. Utilizing technology and your knowledge of it are not only personal and professionally beneficial; it is a useful skill to mention. It counteracts ageism, too. 

Professional Tip: Audit some free courses on sites like Coursera that cover different technologies and add those classes to your resume so you can show hiring executives that you’re staying on top of technology. 

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