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Executive Resume Writing

The 7 Deadly Sins of Executive Resume Writing

After talking to some of the top executive recruiters in the business, we have found out what NOT to do in your resume:

1. Don't Keep It Too Short - Many think resumes are only to be one or two pages long. The reality is that a resume should be as long as it needs to be.  If you're a real executive looking for a higher level executive position you likely have a lot of achievements and experience that needs to be mentioned, and you can't stop listing them just because you've gone past the 1-2 page rule. Some of those listings also need detail to explain what you did or accomplished. Let the resume be as long as it needs to be.

2. Don't Skip The Past – If you have a long business resume, with many years of service to a number of companies, you may have thought you would just stop listing them once you got 10 years back in time. Many people think that's enough. But if you were part of big, or influential, companies before that, don't leave the information out. 

3. Don't Over Explain – Some areas of your resume can use some embellishment. Others don't need it. Take for example your job descriptions at various points in your past. You don't need to go item by item through a job description for each position you've held. Other executives will get the idea by the job title.  Any extra words in the resume should be used to show why you are better than the other candidates who have similar past job descriptions. Any of the important items you want to add could also be added when you talk about challenges you've faced in your position.

4. Don't Get Too Personal – While a lot of people like to add a bit of their own personality and color to a resume, you don't need to talk too much about your personal thoughts and life. Depending on who is reading your resume at the other end, they could start to make assumptions about you from the information you leave on your resume. Stick to listing things that relate to work, such as any association you are a part of, but your family, religious and other personal groups shouldn't be mentioned.

5. Being Too Formal – If you are looking to talk about your business past, why not tell a story that really brings the situation to life? While this may not sound like traditional resume writing, sometimes and anecdote can add a human layer to your resume.

6. Don't Show Off Too Much– A lot of people brag about all the things they have won, and how they were the first of a generation, ethnicity or other grouping to do something. Being the first to take on something doesn't make you the best, just the first. You want to show them how good you are at what you do and how you will make them better by hiring you.

7. Being Vague – Many executive resumes read like normal resumes, of those who wish to become part of a new company and become part of the machine. But an executive resume is different. Your resume should have a strategic vision that says where you think the industry should be going, and how you will get it there.

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