Crafting a killer senior level CV is hard for most of us. Talking about ourselves in a robust, influential style tends to make us feel like big headed braggers, so we often undersell our capabilities. We get tangled up in the so-called structural rules around CV best practice. We hear that we need to include “the right” keywords, but what are they? Who decides which words are right and which ones are flat-out wrong?
It’s no easy task, but if you’re heading for the C-suite, here are a few reasonably simple tips that will help you position yourself well.
1. Create an Executive Summary
For my executive CV clients, I typically kick off with a value proposition statement, including who you are professionally, what you're an expert at delivering, who for and what business benefit you deliver - followed by four to five key strengths that highlight responsibilities and value delivered - specific to the target role. For instance, if you’re gunning for a COO role within the manufacturing sector, you certainly may benefit from positioning yourself as an expert in agile methodology and one who has driven significant growth or revenue results. Or, if you know the organisation you’re approaching is struggling, you may want to position yourself as a turnaround specialist.
Heres some examples of value added strengths:
'Acting as a single point of contact for external and internal stakeholders on all aspects of service delivery to maintain relationships and ensure customer satisfaction'
'Creating value from mature assets by introducing cutting-edge technologies that replenish productivity and enable business growth'
'Defining and delivering commercially viable business plans that can be developed and sustained for continuous improvement'
'Providing strategic multi-cultural leadership to multidisciplinary management teams to improve performance and deliver projects as per budget and schedule'
2. Include a key skills section
Here’s the keywords conversation that everyone always wants to have. From the standpoint of the CV scanning software (ATS), you need them. You need to showcase core proficiencies / skills that showcase your executive level.
While your strengths in Excel and staff supervision may be important, these are not executive-level areas of expertise. You want to, instead, highlight things like employee development, P & L, change management, mergers and acquisitions, process reengineering, global strategy, and so forth. Put these in a standalone section (called “Key Skills” or “Competencies”) right under your executive summary. And then, if you have technical skills that you feel are still vital to your future role, note them towards the end of this section.
3. Show Financial & Business Impact - Fast
While qualitative results are nice and can certainly help the recruiter get a feel for what kind of person you are, decision makers working to fill executive spots are looking for impact. You are not likely to land an executive role for simply being a good person. You’re going to be hired to make money, drive growth, reduce costs, streamline operations, optimise staff performance and deliver results.
The best way to make it instantly clear that you know how to do this? Show the results. Show the numbers. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by creating a sub-section on page 1 called “Key Achievements or "Accomplishments”. I suggest using the SAR framework, which is an acronym for Situation, Action and Result.
Situation gives background to the example i.e. what was the problem; Action is the overall purpose of your involvement or capacity in which you were involved (which part of the situation/problem did you own?), and Result is the outcome, ideally in statistical measurable terms using pounds, percent or any other quantifiable term.
The above executive CV writing strategies should help you improve your CV immediately. If you require assistance and professional help, I offer a 1-on-1 CV review and call back meeting which you can book for free here: https://www.bigger-fish.co.uk/bookings-checkout/cv-review/book