Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keeping Your Executive Resume Current

Many people do not like the idea of keeping their resume up-to-date, and for a number of reasons. It may require that you admit that your job is not as secure as you wish, it may seem like too much of a chore, it may seem too difficult, or it could just be that you don't feel you have the time. However, maintaining a current executive resume, particularly for those in executive careers, is a wise decision for a number of reasons.

Yes, the job market is volatile, and even though no one likes to think about it, your job may not be as secure as you believe. Having a current resume is like having an insurance policy; should the worst happen, you'll be prepared. When unexpected layoffs, mergers, or changes in job functions occur, the stress compounds when it comes to updating that resume. For those who keep a current file, however, that stress can be greatly reduced, allowing you to focus on executive jobs rather than your paperwork.
Another, more positive reason to keep a current resume is that you never know when an opportunity may present itself. When you have reached the executive level, chances are much greater that an executive recruiter or another firm will call. If it's one of those opportunities that is too good to pass up (or at least investigate), having an updated resume is a distinct advantage. The option may be fleeting, and your competition may not be as savvy as you. While they struggle to update their resume, you can hand over an executive package complete with resume, biography, and sample projects summarizing your executive career.

Time can definitely be a problem, so consider keeping a file strictly for your resume and portfolio. Even details from the most impressive accomplishments can fade with time. As you complete projects, make a few notes, copy the numbers, and add the information to your file. As you receive positive feedback from senior management, customers, board members, or shareholders, keep records of this information as well. A quality quote or recommendation from a superior can sometimes spice up a resume or executive biography perfectly.

Hiring a professional for writing or executive coaching can also be a great time saver, particularly if you're one of the many people who feel intimidated by the resume writing process. A professional resume writer and career coach will have a good understanding of your industry and know the best keywords and phrases to include, while still tailoring your resume to your unique situation. When time is a factor, many will be able to provide a fast turnaround.

Regardless of whether or not you enlist the help of a professional, it's a good idea to keep your resume file current. Even the best professional will not be able to pull your accomplishments out of the air--you need to keep track of the important information. A good resume will quantify achievements, so pay particular attention to the numbers and other quantifiers. How much money did you save? Did you considerably shorten a process? Remember that time save equals money saved. Keep track of sales figures as well--if the company realized a significant increase in profit during your executive tenure, you'll want to make note of that as well!

Finally, another good reason to keep your executive resume current is that it keeps your achievements fresh in your mind. As a business professional, you understand the importance of networking, for both yourself and your company. Use your updated resume to create a mini sales pitch that use can use as needed to sell yourself as an executive professional and to sell your company. You never know when an opportunity to promote yourself and your business will present itself. Stay ahead of the competition and be prepared.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Many people are surprised to learn that resume design is just as important as content, but it’s absolutely true. Research suggests that your resume has less than 20 seconds to make the right impression, so it must be eye-catching and easy to read. To get ideas for layout and structure, go to the library and study the resume books specifically written for students. All contain examples of professionally-written resumes and will help you decide on the best approach. Don’t use one of the pre-loaded MS Word templates. There is no better way to make sure you look like everyone else!

As you work on your resume, keep your reader in mind and remember his/her basic concern: will this candidate add value? If you answer effectively by highlighting relevant skills, personal characteristics and accomplishments, your resume will open the right doors and generate interviews.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A resume is a document presented by a job applicant to a prospective employer outlining and summarizing that person's qualifications for employment. A resume generally includes data on education, previous work experience, and personal information, and well-crafted ones are composed in such a way as to maximize the applicant's attractiveness as a potential employee. A resume is generally accompanied by a cover letter which introduces the applicant and the resume to the employer. The purpose of a resume is to obtain an interview, not to land a job. This is an important distinction. Whether or not a person is hired is largely determined by what transpires during the job interview, not by the resume. A resume is extremely important, however, because it provides the employer with a first impression of the job applicant. From this first impression a decision will be made as to whether or not an interview will be granted.


In many contexts, a resume or CV is short (usually one page), and therefore contains only experience directly relevant to a particular position. Many resumes contain precise keywords that the potential employers are looking for, make heavy use of active verbs, and display content in a flattering manner.

In the past, resumes/CVs used to be no longer than two pages, as potential employers typically did not devote much time to reading resume details for each applicant. In some countries employers have changed their views regarding acceptable resume length. Since increasing numbers of job seekers and employers are using Internet-based job search engines to find and fill employment positions, longer resumes/CVs are needed for applicants to differentiate and distinguish themselves. Since the late 1990s, some employers have been more accepting of résumés that are longer than two pages, but not those in Australia. Many professional resume writers and human resources professionals believe that a resume/CV should be long enough so that it provides a concise, adequate, and accurate description of an applicant's employment history and skills. The transmission of resumes/CVs directly to employers became increasingly popular as late as 2002. Job seekers were able to circumvent the job application process and reach employers through direct email contact and resume blasting, a term meaning the mass distribution of resumes/CVs to increase personal visibility within the job market. However the mass distribution of resumes/CVs to employers often can have a negative effect on the applicant's chances of securing employment as the resumes/CVs tend not to be tailored for the specific positions the applicant is applying for. It is usually therefore more sensible to adjust the resume/CV for each position applied for.

The complexity and simplicity of various resume/CV formats tend to produce results varying from person to person, for the occupation, and to the industry. It is important to note that resumes/CV used by medical professionals, professors, artists and people in many other specialized fields may be comparatively longer. For example, an artist's resume/CV, typically excluding any non-art-related employment, may include extensive lists of solo and group exhibitions.