Executive Job Hunting? You'll Need More Than a Resume

by Smith-Proulx, Laura Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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If you’re an executive planning your next career move, it might surprise you to learn that you’ll be judged by more than just your resume during your job search. In other words, a full resume is not necessarily the best fit for each interviewer or contact.

Surprised? You’ll find that recruiters, company owners, Boards of Directors, and other hiring decision-makers often look at your experience through a series of interviews and investigations—which means that your executive resume is just one part of the process.

Here are 4 must-have documents for an executive portfolio designed to capture attention at all the right levels—along with recommendations for the timing of each component:

1 - Executive Biography.

A short, narrative-form document, the Biography often appeals to readers that are not engaged in the technical detail of a full resume.

The best readers for an Executive Biography are usually networking contacts (who are easily overwhelmed by a full resume) or Boards of Directors (who typically interview you in the later stages of the hiring process).



2 - LinkedIn Profile.

While not technically a “document” created just for job hunting, your LinkedIn Profile is a critical—and often underutilized—piece of an executive portfolio.

Most executives set up a Profile very quickly and then abandon it, becoming preoccupied with their work, which is a costly job-hunting mistake.

Your LinkedIn Profile may actually be the first piece of information encountered by a recruiter. Therefore, it must be polished, professional, and keyword-heavy (to aid others in finding you through LinkedIn’s search engine).



3 - Cover Letter.

Despite the myth that hiring authorities rarely read cover letters, some audiences (company owners, CEOs, and Presidents) might not even glance at your resume until they’ve fully digested the contents of your letter.

These groups are usually probing for specific leadership and communications abilities that they feel are more evident within the letter. Investors, in particular, like to read a very short, bottom-line value proposition letter, in lieu of a resume.


In short, don’t write off a cover letter as an important document in the hiring process, as you might find that it was this part of your portfolio that influenced an interviewing decision.



4 - Full Resume.

Not a month goes by when a social media or recruiting expert poses the question, “Is the resume dead?”

Not to worry – the need for a resume won’t go away soon. You’ll absolutely be asked to send your resume to many contacts at different stages of your search.

Of course, since an executive resume is the centerpiece of your presentation, it must therefore convince employers of your brand, value proposition, and leadership standing—no small feat!

Often, the best readers of a full resume will those that thrive on analytical detail (such as operations or technology executives hiring EVP and Director-level candidates).

In summary, an executive portfolio is a must for serious job hunters ready to assume a leadership role. The days of distributing an executive resume without backup in the form of a Executive Biography, LinkedIn Profile, or Cover letter are gone!

Your job search will be smoother, faster, and more effective with a well-rounded and branded portfolio that appeals to the diverse audiences you’ll encounter.