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A resume for a C-level position is often compiled of a number of qualifications that you have gained throughout a diverse career with an emphasis in your area of business forte, whether it be financial, operations, information systems, or human resources. Indicate your experience in all these areas on your resume to show that you are team-oriented and understand the intricacies of corporate business functions. Despite your expertise in one particular discipline, often a CEO or Board of Directors does not have the same training. When preparing your resume, avoid getting too technical. Write to a Wall Street Journal audience and include detail about your work history. Emphasize your accomplishments and give examples of times when your innovation, creativity, and dedication benefited a project.
Whether you are already a C-level employee and a seek a lateral move or you seek to move up the corporate latter, you are going to need a resume that will stand out so that your prospective employer will see what you can do. For this, you'll need to consider a couple of things.
First of all, keep it simple. I know that sounds difficult, because to even be in the running for a C-level position, you have lots of experience and of course you want to show it off, and you can, but you must do so strategically. Since the CEO or Board of Directors reviewing your resume may not have the level of expertise in your chosen profession that you do, you want to avoid getting too technical or too heavily weighted on your particular industry. Construct your resume so that all of your basic details and relevant experience appears in brief on the first page. You should construct the first page of your resume so that your prospective employer can glance at it, be intrigued, and want to turn to the next page.
So, your first details should just be your personal contact information, a brief summary of your education and then your work history in which you showcase only key positions with skills and duties highlighted to show your prospective employer that you have what it takes to do the job. This is what is going to make your prospective employer consider you as a serious applicant.
So, what skills do you emphasize on the first page? Well, it depends on the C-level position you're shooting for. Assuming you get the job, are you going to be dealing with the company's finances? Then highlight your financial experience. Are you going to be a CEO? Then highlight specific skills you have in that particular area, such as being able to see the big picture, being able to delegate wisely, being able to take everyone's input, summarize it for your own digestion, and then make a decision based on all the information available.
In short, the resume is going to change slightly depending on the position you want. Whatever skills you need to highlight, though, do that in as short and sweet a manner as possible on the first page; again, what you really want on the first page is your contact information, the benefits you can bring to the table for your employer, a brief educational history, and a brief synopsis — laid out in bullet form in your work history — that just goes deep enough to describe how the skills you highlight above in your bullet list are utilized on the job.
Okay, that's the first page. Again, the first page is just to make sure your prospective employer knows what you can do at a glance, literally. You want a couple of things to happen because of that first page. Number one, it should look crisp, organized, and brief, just like you will be as a C-level player. Number two, you want it to pique your prospective employer's interest so that he or she will dig deeper and want to offer you an interview.
On the second and third pages, lay out your work history in greater detail, including job duties for each job you've had and how they apply to skills you'll need as a C-level player. Again, you want this to be valuable reading for your employer. He or she should know exactly what you can do after he or she gets done reading your resume.
However, again, I can't stress enough that you need to put all of the relevant information in bullet and "synopsis" form on the first page instead of just going chronologically through your work history page by page. In other words, you shouldn't use more than one page for this particular synopsis. Why? Because if your prospective employer doesn't want to read the rest of your resume (or doesn't have time), you still want him or her to have enough information that you'll get offered a job interview. That way, you can really pull out all the stops when it comes to showcasing your skills during the interview; the employer does not have to know everything about you before you come to the interview.
The key to this is to get your foot in the door, literally. Of course, you have to have the skills to do the job too, but assuming that you do, what you want to do with that resume is to get an interview. At the interview, you can do the rest.
In conclusion, remember that a resume is meant to make a prospective employer sit up and take notice of you if you're applying for a C-level position. This means that you have to make an impression on the very first page. Once you've got your foot in the door and assuming you've got the experience to actually do the job, let the interview do the rest.
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