Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 3 Executive Resume Strategies to Fast-Track A Stalled Job Search

There’s nothing quite as daunting as a stalled job search. Whether you’ve been searching for 12 months without an offer or are submitting 50+ applications a week with no response, it’s disheartening. It’s not how you pictured your job search going, and as more time goes by, it becomes harder not to feel defeated. After hearing from a dozen job seekers in one day that their search was slow going, I decided to put together my best tips for getting unstuck. Let’s dive into three executive resume strategies to fast-track a stalled job search.

3 Executive Resume Strategies to Fast-Track A Stalled Job Search

Executive Resume Strategy #1 – Make It Skimmable

Is your executive resume easy to scan over? Is there plenty of white space, separate sections, and formatting to break up the content?

Hiring managers and recruiters review hundreds of resumes at a time, so any way you can make the content easily digestible will increase its chances of being read. Some of my favorite strategies for making a resume scannable are:

Formatting

  • Write using an F-pattern. This is how our brains are wired to read: from left to right, from top to bottom. 
  • Do not use a two-column resume format — it disrupts and confuses the natural reading pattern.
  • Use section headings, such as Executive summary, Executive Experience, Education, Noteworthy Accomplishments, and Selected Strengths, to help break up the different sections of your resume.
  • Add white space between sections. You don’t want to cram so much information that it becomes overwhelming to read and their eyes glaze over. 

Design

  • Use bold, italics, borders, bullets, and shading to bring attention to important and relevant information. 
  • Create a separate accomplishments section that shares your three biggest career achievements. Choose three that are the most relevant to the target role.
  • Create a separate skills section to highlight high-priority hard skills. Select professional, academic, and technical skills that align with the role.
  • Add metrics to help results stand out. Numbers, percentages, and dollar signs are all ways to draw attention. Remember, you can quantify lots of information without ever having generated revenue. Consider time, size, and comparison to help you quantify.

Executive Resume Strategy #2 – Add Context

Context is vital to writing an effective resume. It’s where you get to control the narrative and tell your story. It transforms a bare list of duties, responsibilities, and job titles into a rich, engaging narrative that captures your professional growth. Context provides hiring managers with a deeper understanding of your roles and achievements. 

Giving the situation’s background also helps you communicate the impact of your actions. For example, stating that you “boosted sales by 25%” is impressive, but adding that this was achieved “in a market that was previously declining by 7% annually” makes your achievement even more spectacular. Context conveys your ability to deliver positive outcomes under specific conditions.

So many job seekers have similar job titles or responsibilities — and even similar qualifications! Context sets you apart by conveying how your particular experiences, skills, and achievements are unique. Detailing the specific circumstances and the challenges you overcame gives you a competitive edge.

Examples of Adding Context

I always understand a concept better with an example. So, let’s dive into some examples of how to add context to your results.

Before (with no context): 

Increased sales.

After (giving the accomplishment context):

Led a team of 12 to boost sales by 32% in Q4 2023, surpassing the target by 17% through strategic realignment of regional sales approach and new customer engagement model.

Here, you can see that we added size, time, and comparison. 


Before (with no context):

Cut costs.

After (giving the accomplishment context): 

Launched new inventory management system across 7 departments, reducing operational expenses by 23% ($750K annually) and minimizing waste by 33% within 12 months.

For this bullet, we used size, time, and percentage comparisons.


Before (with no context):

Managed project.

After (giving the accomplishment context):

Directed a cross-functional team of 22 in high-stakes project to create and launch a new SaaS product within 6 months and under budget by 14%, generating a revenue increase of $2M in first year.

This example has it all: team size, time frame, budget percentage, and revenue numbers.

Rethink how to convey your experience on your resume and the importance of placing your results, skills, and achievements into context. Take a few minutes today to read your resume and think about how you can put your accomplishments into context, providing the situation or background story to the hiring manager. 

Executive Resume Strategy #3 – Align It With the Company’s Needs

The job market is slow right now, and employers are inundated with applications. So, if you hope to get a response, your resume must speak directly to the job description and requirements. The relevance between your experience and their needs must be immediately visible.

There are also those darn ATS programs parsing information from resumes as recruiters run searches. They’re scanning your resume for the keywords and phrases that match the job posting. When you align your resume by mirroring the language in the posting, you’re increasing your chances of getting through the filters and getting your resume read by a human. Here are three strategies to convey immediate alignment and relevance.

  1. Create a snapshot of wins. Highlight your biggest career achievements in a separate section in your resume’s top portion. This conveys a memorable first impression. Choose achievements relevant to the role.
  1. High-priority hard skills are your best friend. Identify academic, professional, and technical hard skills in the job description. Add them in a separate keyword section on your resume. It makes it skimmable and shows you have the skills needed for the role. 
  1. Prioritize your resume bullets so that those most relevant to your target role are listed first. This shows you have prior experience (the #1 desirable factor in a hiring decision) and you’ve been successful before, which means you will be again in the new role. 

All three of the above signal to the hiring manager and recruiter reading your resume that you are the right fit for the role. This is what earns you the interview and more responses to your applications.

Your resume — no matter how impressive — isn’t enough to overcome a slow job market or a stalled job search. Success demands more than mass applications; it requires a holistic approach combining strategic networking and proactive job search tactics.

Engaging with your network, leveraging social networking, conducting informational interviews, and increasing visibility is essential. A diversified approach, blending these elements with your resume, is key to accelerating your job search.

Now that you have the resume strategies to fast-track your job search, if you need an executive resume template to help you implement the approach, you can download my free executive resume template here.

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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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