Anne Fisher of Fortune discusses the art of preparing executive resumes, commenting that if you haven't updated yours in a while, you might be surprised by some of the changes in what recruiters and employers want to see.
Fisher says it can be a mystifying process since there is no "one-size-fits-all" formula and fads and fashions come and go.
However, the author counsels the opinion of Howard Seidel, a partner in Boston executive coaching firm Essex Partners, who says: "It's becoming a cliche to talk about a 'personal brand' – meaning, what's unique and desirable about you – but your resumé needs to convey that in no uncertain terms. Most don't."
Seidel points out the five mistakes that executives commonly make when they put together a resumé:
1) Starting with an "objective statement".
Seidel recommends an opening paragraph that summarises your major career achievements.
"You can include a few bullet points emphasising particular skills," he says.
2) Trying to be all things to all employers.
"Senior managers with a wide range of experience sometimes have trouble articulating their niche," says Seidel.
He recommends choosing one of two areas where your work has made the biggest impact, and explaining further if you get an interview.
3) Using language that is too vague.
Seidel advises against writing a resume that is basically a list of job titles. Concentrate instead on what you've actually achieved in terms of tangible results.
4) Squeezing everything onto one page.
It's impossible to fit a career of 20 years or more onto a single page without it looking cluttered and hard to read, says Seidel.
He advises: "The important thing is, the first page should have an immediate impact and tell your story clearly, starting with the executive summary and your most recent achievements.
“Then, as you go back in time on the second page, you can go into less detail, giving just the highlights and how they connect to the rest of your career."
5) Forgetting that a resume is a sales pitch.
Seidel says: "Even the most stellar managers will downplay their truly remarkable achievements by saying, 'I was just doing my job.' They don't want to brag.
However, the executive coach insists that it's OK to brag. "In fact, you have to," he says. "This is a marketing document."
Seidel adds, "Of course, you don't want to come across as arrogant, but you have to sell yourself. If you don't, you're in trouble, because your competition will."
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