Guest blogger Lisa Rangel is an executive resume writer and official LinkedIn moderator at ChameleonResumes.com, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. She has been featured on BBC, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes.com, Fox News, Yahoo Finance, US News, and more. She is the creator of ResumeCheatSheet.com.
Not knowing how to properly format your executive resume can easily cost you an interview, and not taking advantage of the many resources available to get more out of your resume will result in missed opportunities. Simply put, at this stage in the game you should know how to write a killer resume and know how to get the best results from it. But there’s so much confusion out there that even the most experienced professionals fumble.
Here are some of the most common executive resume mistakes.
1. Using a photo. It’s not wise to give anyone the opportunity to judge prematurely based on appearances. You could have the best photo in the world but if HR doesn’t like it, you’re not getting a call. In fact, many HR departments will automatically trash resumes with photos in an effort to avoid any chance of discrimination.
Additionally, images can actually “choke” the resume scanning software the companies use to receive and organize resumes. In other words, if you send in a resume with a picture they may not ever receive it because the system could not scan it. Because of this you should also avoid logos and graphics.
2. Not including a title. Handing in a resume for a high level position without a title may cost you the interview. The reason is because you’re failing to give the person glancing at your resume any idea of what kind of job you’d be good for.
You can fix this by using a descriptive title at the top of the resume. For instance, if you simply state “Accounting” as a title it’s rather vague and could refer to any position in the accounting department. Instead you should write titles such as “Chief Financial Officer,” “Manager of Accounts Receivable,” or “Head of Accounting Department.”
The same concept can be applied to a number of positions in departments across the board. The point is to tell the reader exactly what you do in a quick manner.
3. Not using verbs. Many people forgo the use verbs on resumes. This leads to confusion about what it is they actually did on the job.
They’ll write bullet points stating “Management systems for IT department” which can mean both anything and nothing at the same time.
You can combat this by using action packed verbs like “lead,” “influenced,” or “pioneered.” This shows that you did more than just manage, you had clout at your former company.
4. Forgetting numbers. One of the best ways to show you’re right for the job is to prove it. You can prove it on your resume by using quantitative examples of things you accomplished on the job.
Were you in the top one percent of salespeople in the company? Did you increase the productivity of your team? Did you save the company money? These are all stellar examples that allow you to use numbers and prove your ability to produce results for your potential employer.
5. Outdated formatting. Times change and companies want forward thinking leaders who will take their brand to the next level. As a result, one sure fire way to get your resume trashed is to hand it in with outdated formatting.
You can start by getting rid of the “Objective” section. Employers don’t particularly care what you want; instead, they are much more concerned with what you can do for them.
6. Not utilizing social media. Job seekers who fail to develop their brand and presence in social media channels do so at their own peril. With LinkedIn the most important job search social media tool for most professionals, you want to take full advantage of all its potential. For example, you can find your target companies by utilizing LinkedIn’s Advanced Search function to find leads and to make the most of your job search. You can expand your LinkedIn connections by inviting clients, vendors and business contacts to connect, in addition to reaching out to your friends, family, college alumni and fellow employees. And finally don’t ignore LinkedIn Endorsements. While they do not carry the weight of well-written LinkedIn Recommendations, Endorsements will aim to affect your search result placement and profile visibility to your network. Give endorsements and receive endorsements willingly.
7. Targeting the wrong companies. Devise a target list of companies where you would like to work based on industry, geography, discipline, or benefits needed. Then identify the hiring authority or field manager that is involved with hiring in your discipline and introduce yourself to that person. Create your own opportunity and do not wait for a job posting.
These tips should help you have the resume that can open those doors to the right interview and put you in the right place for those resumes to be found. And remember, you can always secure the help of an executive resume writing service to make sure you get the best results.