Job seekers: now is the time to plan your move using these proven executive job search tips from the 10 best executive resume writers so you can start 2019 where you want to be: continuously accelerating your career.  These 10 best executive resume writers and career coaches are subject matter experts and highly regarded within the resume writing and coaching industry for their trending insights, trustworthy business practices, and record of success helping executives reach next-level results. Here is what they had to say. 

TIP #1- Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes

Evaluate the Executive Resume Writer’s Recommendations & Expertise Beyond Resume Development – Verify the writer’s success in the form of client job changes that are similar to the caliber of position you seek. Your resume writer should help you utilize the marketing documents they created for you and position you to land your dream job.

Look at the quality of their LinkedIn recommendations: Are the recommendations from actual clients? Are these clients who have held similar titles as you? Has the recommender had a successful job change resulting from using the writer?  Landing your dream job depends on so much more than the resume—ensure you are hiring a successful job search strategist who understands the overall recruiting process, of which the resume is one part of that process.

TIP #2 – Marie Zimenoff, Resume Writing Academy

Use Research-Backed Design Elements – You’ve probably heard that recruiters spend about 6 seconds in the initial review of your resume. What you might not know is that you can increase the amount of content they consume in that short time with your formatting choices. Although aesthetics are an important consideration in resume design, there are strategies that research shows increase readability. These include using lines, borders, or shading to move the eye through the document; putting the most important content to the left of the page where readers will skim; and using white space to create chunks of content that make it easy for a reader to locate what they are looking for in your document.

Research also shows that the use of one color will increase a reader’s attraction to your document. Keep your design clean and professional, but don’t be afraid to use elements that improve readability and draw the reader to the critical information while creating a distinct look. Don’t buy into the myths that these formatting features harm your score in an applicant tracking system. Create a visually appealing, highly readable Word document using these elements and it will be fine in ATS, via email, or any other way you want to share it with your network and recruiters.

#3 – Erin Kennedy, Exclusive Executive Resumes

Don’t Ignore Your LinkedIn Profile – It’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile lag when you don’t need it. However, when you are in job search mode, it can be the difference between leading the next organization or not. Most hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn to find their next star. If your profile isn’t current, you’re hurting your chances of being discovered.

Even if you dread the thought of it, update your LinkedIn profile with your current story, or at least the last 10-15 years when you’ve had the most progression in your career. Don’t forget to create an interesting career summary as well. Just a little investment of time and effort on LinkedIn goes a long way.

TIP #4 – Jacqui-Barrett Poindexter, Career Trend

Use a Storytelling Arc to Energize Your Career Narrative – Everyone says that a resume should actually be written as a story, an idea with which I agree. But, what does that really mean? Simply put, your resume achievements should be composed in a way that articulates a beginning, a middle and an end, and includes a story climax, where the rising action starts to fall, requiring a solution or conclusion (pivotal moment).

The story arc should show how you (the candidate) were a crucial character in your company’s rag to riches story, for example. The company and the departments therein, may experience several rise + fall story arcs throughout your tenure, and as such, your resume should present those mini-stories within the larger story.  The point is to draw the reader in, create the drama of the scenario (who, what, where, when, why, how) and ultimately sway the reader that you were influential, using both your hard + soft skills to effectuate a financial climb (or rise) in the story arc, culminating in a better profitability + market share outcome than before you joined the executive team.

TIP #5 Dawn Rasmussen, Pathfinder Careers

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Classes and Include Them on Your Resume – Boards and employers are interested in seeing how executives are willing to keep learning. This is, after all, a test to see how you can innovate and carry this company forward. So actively seek out professional development opportunities that are particularly thought-leadership oriented. Understanding where the industry or economy will potentially take the organization will be critical for the next executive. And you can demonstrate that progressive knowledge acquisition and cutting-edge understanding of opportunities and challenges to not only evolve the organization but also stand out among competitors.

TIP #6 Mary Elizabeth Bradford,

Be Bold – Go Direct – Do you have a favorite list of companies you would like to work with? Why not reach out to them directly?   If you are an executive level – this technique is especially effective and involves simply reaching out to another CEO or top title to see if the timing is right that they may want to speak with you – as you are currently vetting new opportunities.

It’s important to understand the spirit in which you are reaching out is entrepreneurial – rather than sales or marketing driven. It works in part because at the $300K+ level, only about 10% of positions available show up online. So by reaching out directly you do a few things:

• You demonstrate your initiative and strategic leadership.

• You capitalize on the 90% of potential for unadvertised positions or positions that are being filled quietly.

• You potentially save the company not only time, but a hefty recruiter search fee.

Early interest before job parameters are carved in stone and sitting with a board, HR, recruiters or a combination thereof are often much more flexible and you can affect the evolution of the terms.

TIP #7 – Annette Richmond, Career Intelligence Resume Writing

Break Away from Chronological Resume Format and Tell the Story Behind Your Career ProgressionTake time to think about your career trajectory when writing your executive resume. Were you recruited by a competitor or former client? Were you promoted because you landed a big client or developed a process that was adopted company-wide? The story behind your promotion can make a difference. One of the reasons employers prefer reverse-chronological resumes is because they show a candidate’s career progression. But, once you’ve reached the executive level you need to show momentum.

Let’s say you’ve been promoted 3 times since being recruited by your current employer. That’s great. But, being promoted based on your achievements is better. For example, after 2 years with ABC Company the manager of another department recruited you to come and work for her. She picked you to run the product merchandising team because she liked your work on an interdepartmental project. That’s more impressive than being promoted due to seniority.

TIP #8 – Sandra Ingemansen, Resume Strategies

Executive Summaries & Job Descriptions: Long Story Short-There’s a way to engage readers in your career story in half the time and make sure they remember about 34% more content.

Who wouldn’t want to make themselves more memorable to executive hiring decision makers, right? Here are some key takeaways that take human reading behavior into account:

• Write tighter to shorten lines of text.

• Compose compelling, well-written headline statements.

• Frontload your main points first, because readers do the same thing for body text.

• Use sub-headlines to categorize critical points into scannable information.

Basic Design Devices

• Increase white space so that readers aren’t hampered by clutter.

• Create simple navigational structures for both written and visual content.

• Change long paragraphed content to bulleted items.

• Bold important information. (NOTE: be strategic with your “to bold or not to bold” methodology; too much and your reader is faced with even more clutter.)

TIP #9 – Martin Weitzman, Executive Resume Writer

It’s Always About The Impact – In developing your resume, LinkedIn Profile, and other related career documents, it is always about ‘how much and your impact on the company.’  How much did you help them save, how much did you help them make, or what did you do to support your company’s cost or revenue goals? What issues was the company facing and what did you achieve in resolving those issues.  Potential employers want to believe you can help them. 

TIP #10 – Donna Svei, Avid Careerist

Vet Your Writer Carefully – It’s important that you respect the writer’s work. When you look at the writer’s samples, verify that the resume represents a real person. It’s much easier to write a good fictitious resume than a resume for a real person.

Don’t wait. The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to land the job you’ve been dreaming of and these tips should definitely get you on the right track.