Great Resumes Fast » Interviews » Executive Job Hunting? You’ll Need More Than a Resume

If you’re an executive planning your next career move, it might intrigue you to learn that you’ll be judged by more than just your resume during your job search.

In other words, a full resume is not necessarily the best fit for each interviewer or contact.

Surprised? You’ll find that recruiters, company owners, Boards of Directors, and other hiring decision-makers often look at your experience through a series of interviews and investigations—which means that your executive resume is just one part of the process.

Not only should you consider which audience is looking at your portfolio, but also the steps required (initial screening, in-depth interviews, panel reviews, Board interviews) in the hiring process, before assuming that your resume is the best fit for each situation.

Here are 4 must-have documents for an executive portfolio designed to capture attention at all the right levels—along with recommendations for the timing of each component:

1 – Executive Biography.

A short, narrative-form document, the Biography often appeals to readers that are not engaged in the technical detail of a full resume.

In addition to being shorter than a full resume, the bio can also be infused with more personality, and can therefore give the reader a different perspective on your leadership traits, beliefs, and principles.

The best readers for an Executive Biography are usually networking contacts or Boards of Directors. This means that the bio will be most useful either early in your job search, or in the later stages of your executive interviews.

As an example, you’ll probably encounter networking contacts who may be messengers, rather than hiring decision-makers. This group is easily overwhelmed by a full resume, and can be much more receptive to the single-page Executive Biography.

Later, after you’ve passed initial stages of your executive interviews, your full resume will have been already examined by hiring authorities. This is the perfect time to bring your Executive Biography as a leave-behind document for an interview with the Board.

2 – LinkedIn Profile.

While not technically a “document” created just for job hunting, your LinkedIn Profile is a critical—and often underutilized—piece of an executive portfolio.

Most executives set up a Profile very quickly and then abandon it, becoming preoccupied with their work. In executive job hunting, however, this is a costly mistake!

Your LinkedIn Profile may very well be the first piece of information encountered by a corporate recruiter or independent headhunter. Therefore, it must be polished, professional, and keyword-heavy (the latter of which aids others in finding you through LinkedIn’s internal search engine).

While your full resume can be attached within LinkedIn, it’s best to have populated each of the site’s main sections (Headline, Summary, Specialties, Experience, Education) with sufficient information to convey your executive brand and trigger a recruiter’s interest.

3 – Cover Letter.

Despite the myth that hiring authorities rarely read cover letters, some audiences (company owners, CEOs, and Presidents) might not even glance at your resume until they’ve fully digested the contents of your letter.

These groups are usually probing for specific leadership and communications abilities that they feel are more evident within the letter. Investors, in particular, like to read a very short, bottom-line value proposition letter, in lieu of a resume.

In short, don’t write off a cover letter as an important document in the hiring process, as you might find that it was this part of your portfolio that influenced an interviewing decision.

4 – Full Resume.

Not a month goes by when a social media or recruiting expert poses the question, “Is the resume dead?”

Not to worry – the need for a resume won’t go away soon. You’ll absolutely be asked to send your resume to many contacts at different stages of your search.

Of course, since your executive resume is technically the centerpiece of your presentation, it must therefore convince employers of your brand, value proposition, and leadership standing—no small feat!

To create such a powerful document, you’ll need to get up to speed on resume trends. Formats and presentation styles have changed considerably: a full executive resume should encapsulate your strategic contributions, along with metrics, testimonials, success stories, and leadership competencies, all inside a masterpiece.

Often, the best readers of a full resume will those that thrive on analytical detail (such as operations or technology executives that hire EVP and Director-level candidates).

In summary, an executive portfolio is a must for serious job hunters ready to assume a leadership role. The days of distributing an executive resume without backup in the form of a Executive Biography, LinkedIn Profile, or Cover letter are gone!

Your job search will be smoother, faster, and more effective with a well-rounded, branded portfolio that appeals to the diverse audiences you’ll encounter.

Guest post by: Laura Smith-Proulx is an award-winning Executive Resume Writer, former recruiter, and multicredentialed expert with a 98% success rate opening doors to prestigious jobs through personal branding. The Executive Director of An Expert Resume, she partners exclusively with CIO, CTO, COO, CEO, CFO, SVP, VP, and Director candidates.

For additional tips and advice on resumes and cover letters, follow @GreatResume or visit our blog.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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