As a Chief Operating Officer or other executive leader, a well-crafted resume is vital to your career search. As consulting and recruiting professionals, we will tell you that a resume is just one of the many facets recruiters and hiring managers consider. We caution you not to think of your resume as the “golden ticket” to landing a job, but the gateway to being invited for an initial conversation. A resume that captures your greatest accomplishments, is well formatted, and is free of a few common mistakes might just help you get shortlisted
Here at Kaplan Executive Search, we do not review or offer resume writing services. Instead, we curate the contents of our blog to be educational in nature so our candidates and clients alike can get the information that they are seeking.
To address some of the most common mistakes we see in executive resumes, here are seven items you should consider taking action on before submitting your resume to an employer.
7 Quick Resume Tips:
In layman's terms, proofreading means to read through and mark any errors - proofreading is not simply spell checking. Spell checking will not alert you when a word is spelled correctly but used in the wrong context. Did you know that the word ‘led’ is one of the most common misspelled words on a resume? Top executives have even been noted for making the mistake of using the word ‘lead’ in place of ‘led.’
2. Eliminate a Career Objective Statement
Replace your career objective statement with a career summary statement. At the top of your resume, a career summary that highlights your accomplishments tells the employer what you could do for them. A career objective statement is just the opposite, very candidate-focused and of little value to the employer. If you do not like the idea of a career summary statement, here are a few other examples of what to use in place of a resume objective statement.
3. Check Your Online Profile
Have you recently made updates to your resume, but failed to make those same updates to your LinkedIn profile? If a recruiter is interested in your resume, chances are, they'll look at your LinkedIn profile as well to gather more information - and check for discrepancies. One of the most alarming things we see as recruiters is a LinkedIn profile that does not match the candidate’s resume. If your resume and LinkedIn profile are not in sync, you risk being discarded as a candidate since not all hiring managers and recruiters will reach out to learn why the discrepancy exists. Instead, they may simply pass on moving you forward in the process. While you’re at you, you should also perform Google search on yourself as well. You never know what a simple Google search will bring up.
4. Job Titles
You’re the Chief Operations Officer at ABC company, to which you have been employed for 15 years. However, you started off in a sales position, and through a handful of promotions over time, you ended up as the Chief Operations Officer - great job! However, listing ABC Company - Chief Operations Officer, November 2003- July 2018 creates two issues. The first and most important issue as that this is simply not true. Falsifications on your resume can be a representation of a poor character. Secondly. It is important to list out ALL the job titles you held within a given organization as to paint a picture of your promotions over time. As recruiters, we love to see a resume where someone has worked their way up in the company. If you’re able to show a history of promotions at more than one employer, well, then you’re more likely to stand out as an ‘A’ player.
5. Remove the Statement: “Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc...”
As a professional COO or other key leadership team member, your experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint should go without saying. Your resume is prime real estate for showcasing your most notable skills and qualifications. When you include that you are proficient in Microsoft Office on your resume it looks like fluff and is a waste of high-value space. With so little room to address your skills, experience, and accomplishments - don’t add such superfluous information.
6. Combine Documents
If you plan to submit a cover letter along with your resume while applying for an executive level position, there is no reason that these two items should be separate documents. As recruiters, we loathe having to manage two separate documents when there is not a need to do so. You can easily combine two PDFs in Adobe by following these directions or by using programs like PDF Merge, which is a free application.
7. Submit PDF Documents
This brings us to our next point, be sure to submit your resumes in PDF form. There are multiple reasons you should submit a PDF resume when applying for a position. As I previously mentioned, you can combine PDFs to create one seamless document. In addition, when submitting a Word document, you chance to lose your formatting. Too often, we see resumes in our ATS system where the bullet points do not align. Prevent this from happening and keep your resume looking polished by locking your resume in a PDF.
We hope you found these quick tips helpful. If you are a Chief Operating Officer (COO) who is looking for more resources to help you with writing your resume, view our sample COO job description here as a template for keywords and experience to include in your resume. Additionally, if you would like to be considered for one of our job opportunities, you can submit your resume to our database for consideration.
If you like this, then you might also be interested to see these 10 reference check questions we recommend employers ask of references.