This is the second installment of the How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume series and the focus will be on crafting a strong Executive Summary – also known as the Profile or the Summary of Qualifications.
You need to make it count
Gone are the days of the Objective Statement that reads “Results-oriented professional seeking a middle-management position for a growing company.” That sentence told the reader absolutely nothing about you, what you have to offer, or why you may be a fit for their organization. It’s also entirely self-serving by saying what it is you want, not what you can do for them. The trend now is to open an executive resume with a strong statement that shows how you can help solve an organization’s specific challenges – whether that’s growing sales in a certain market, streamlining operations, implementing a new onboarding process, etc. The more specific you can be, the more
If you think about your executive resume as a piece of marketing collateral, it makes sense to hit the reader with something concise, interesting, and impactful at the very beginning to grab their attention and entice them to want to read further. That is the primary purpose of the Executive Summary. In a matter of a few sentences, you should be able to tell the reader: who you are; where your unique skills and background lies, and how you can leverage that to add immediate value to their organization. Simple, right?
What does a good Executive Summary look like?
Let’s start with nn example of an ineffective Executive Summary:
Over twenty years of experience in the behavioral health care field with a record of success in providing excellent health care in a professional, cost effective method. Expertise in business development, program development, account management, strategic sales, operations and regulatory compliance. Proven ability to analyze and re-align organizations to increase efficiencies. Excellent leadership and strategic skills, fully committed to delivering results.
At first blush, it seems okay. But if you take a closer look, the statement comes off as a bit vague. By listing her expertise in multiple functional areas (business development, program development, operations, etc.) she isn’t telling employers exactly how she can fit into the organization. Nor does she provide detail into specific value she can deliver – increasing sales, profitability, etc.
The following is the same person with a more impactful summary:
Health care executive with 20+ years of experience creating and delivering solutions for clients, leveraging extensive background leading strategy and business development for major health plans. Proven ability to set the direction for clinical, operations, and program management teams to drive efforts that maximize revenue, improve the customer experience, and enhance the value of the brand. Cultivated a record of success delivering innovative health care programs, managing high-level client relationships, and driving corporate change for large, diverse organizations.
The second version does a much better job of detailing the core strengths and skill sets most relevant to her role, past relevant experience with key functions, and notable accomplishments that she intends to repeat in the next role.
Five tips to build a great summary
These tips are from fellow Kansas City resume writer, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter:
1. Create a marketing strategy. Think about the last story you read in a magazine or online. What enticed you to read it? Most likely, it was the use of bold lettering that mentioned a snippet of what the story was about. Use this same method to get your audience on board.
2. Focus on marquee achievements. Zero in on a few of your most outstanding accomplishments that relate to the job for which you’re applying. Then, build your executive summary around these accomplishments.
3. Introduce statements with strong verbs. Avoid using boring language like, “Responsible for,” “Duties included,” and other fillers that have no place on any executive resume.
4. Tailor your words for your audience. Be powerful and set the scene for your targeted position to ensure a potential employer fully understands your value.
5. Chart your story. If your career story allows it, the use of a chart or graph in this area is an excellent way to relay important data in a format that’s quick and interesting to read.
The Executive Summary truly is the linchpin to a great executive resume. If you fail to grab the reader’s attention at the beginning of the resume, chances are they aren’t going to continue reading. Take the time to craft a summary that reflects your unique skills and experience and showcases the specific value you can deliver.