We Get Real AF

Ep 75: Profesh Sesh: C-Suite Resumes

July 08, 2021 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 2 Episode 75
We Get Real AF
Ep 75: Profesh Sesh: C-Suite Resumes
Show Notes Transcript

Talent specialist & career coach Alisa Walters talks about executive level resumes.

 
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Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

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Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean  

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Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite

Artist: Rachel K. Collier

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Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta

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Cover Artwork Photo Credit: Alice Moore 

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Vanessa Alava  

Today we're going to be talking about C suite resumes at the executive level, what's the nitty gritty, what's the differentiator between that typical resume and that next level career step into the executive C suite. So Alisa, what are your thoughts?

 

Alisa Walters 

Yeah, I think that it's, you know, that that professional resume that we're all wanting to make sure that we perfect, it's taken to another level when your next step is to seek out either that executive level position or pivot from one executive position to another. And I think that your resume all across the board has to show why you are the best person for the job. But at an executive level, you're not just showing why you're the best person for the job, you are showing why you are an executive, why you are in this leadership position. And should continuously be moving forward as an executive so you're selling yourself in a completely different way, when it comes to that C suite level. I think when it comes to an executive level resume, that top front and center needs to be your credentials, you want to spell out any of the credentials that you have, if you have Master's, PhD, you have a JD, whatever those credentials are, that needs to be front and center at the top of your resume. This is a time where you need to brag, you need that to stand out. And I know some people might be like, I don't want to sound pretentious. at the executive level, you need to have the competence to own what brought you to this place. And then I think following your name, your credentials, obviously, your contact information, then it comes into that paragraph about yourself that that you know, almost 32nd commercial of yourself and why you are this leading executive for any organization. Beyond that, then I think it's really great to have a bulleted list of your core competency skills that you bring to the table. What makes you a, you know, a leader in your industry. And, you know, we've talked a lot about core competencies, skills, everything from somebody who is great at project management, somebody who is really an engaging leader, all of those things, I think should be spelled out closer to the top of a resume as well. And then after that, any achievements that you made, this is really a chance to spell out achievements that you've made in your executive professional career, that any organization who is looking to hire somebody at that level, is going to want to see and be like this is this is the type of candidate we need in this role. This is the person who is going to take us to the next level at a senior level. Then after that, I think you want to really dive into your most recent experience. So where you currently are at, followed by where you were previously, and and really highlight within that. I'm a big fan of those three to six bullet points, depending on you know, the, if it's your most recent job, versus the job before that, but I think that first, most recent jobs should have three to six bullet points where you're showing what you've done in that in that role, spelling out the data, any KPIs that you've either implemented as a leader, or that you've had to follow from, you know, from the from the top. And then I think, you know, it goes after that, I think going into your education experience, your education, references, if you were, I think that there's also a whole section that you can have, as a manager, how many teams you've managed, what you've implemented as a manager, kind of spelling out from a core competency standpoint, the type of leader that you were. So I think that that's a that's a good section to have. Some people like to also have a little bit of a personal touch on their executive resume. Things that they're involved with, from a personal standpoint, hobbies, sports, hiking activities, whatever that might be. And I think that's a personal preference. I don't think that that's a hindrance to somebody at that level. I think it shows a human element to an executive level person. That is how I would advise somebody to put together their executive level resume.

 

Sue Robinson  

How far back should you go, if you're applying for an executive level position, presumably, you've had a pretty long career, and at some point, that can be used against you, right, if it pushes you up in age. And also from a relevancy standpoint, how far back should you go on any type of resume, but in particular, a senior level resume?

 

Alisa Walters 

I don't think you need three, four pages in a resume. Obviously, there's that idea that everything should be done on one page. Well, at that level, that is not realistic. I think a two page resume that can reflect all of the things that are most relevant to what you want, the current company that you're seeking out, to be interested in. So I think, roles from 10-15 years ago, if that's relevant should be included. So really look at the roles that you've had in your career. And ask yourself the question, are they something that would be of interest to this current employer? 

 

Sue Robinson  

I have a related question Is it better to have a continuous evidence or track of employment throughout the past 15-20 years? Even if some of the positions on there don't relate to what you're going for? Or is it better to leave those things off? Even if that means there's a gap in your employment record?

 

Alisa Walters 

That's going to come up regardless, if you have a conversation, if there's a gap in an employment? One of the first questions that I ask somebody is, I do see from a to z that you weren't currently employed, there's this this gap here. Could you tell me a little bit what about what you were doing? And that's a perfect opportunity for somebody to say, Oh, you know, I had some personal stuff going on, or I was trying my hand and consulting or something like that. I don't think that that gap, however you choose to reflect that should be a hindrance you're also hopeful that the company that you're looking for, can see past that and see the most relevant experience, and what you have been able to do. And those are the things that are going to attract an employer who wants to continue those conversations. And those are conversations that can be had with a you know, with a recruiter. And I think at that level, you're not just going directly to talk to your, you know, your potential new boss, there are going to be a couple of steps before your resume may be put in front of that person, where the first person you may be speaking with is having a 45 minute phone screen with a recruiter who's going to break that down. Never once have I had a conversation with somebody who I think was spectacular for the job who said, Hey, you know, in full transparency, there's, you know, a three year gap in my resume because I needed a break, or I had some family stuff going on, or I had I had kids and at the end of the day, it's that person has the core competencies to do the job and they can do it well. And that that again, that's the human side of life. People have things going on, so no, I don't think I think you can go either way. If you're just putting in roles to fill in gaps that have nothing to do with the role you're targeting, I'd probably leave them off. That's my personal preference.

 

Vanessa Alava 

So Alisa, there's always the first time for everything. When do you know it's time you might have like this inkling, this feeling of, I want that next level of my career, but how do you know you're truly ready to apply for that first C-suite position within an organization,

 

Alisa Walters 

when you've hit the ceiling, in the most senior role you've been doing, and every company's leveling is different when you are when you have become a leader. And I think when you know that you're ready for for your executive level boss's position. I think that that's, that's a time to really examine where you are at where you're looking to target next. And I am a big believer that you always want to be looking at the next job, right. And I think that, you know, in a lot of organizations, you have a very traditional, hey, manager, Senior Manager, director, senior director. And I think that once you start to get that to that senior manager, Director level position, you should start aiming and you should start figuring out how you're going to make that leap. I also have seen people who are in senior manager positions, Director level positions apply for a role. And companies be blown away by the candidates see that they, they take a chance and they bait, that person leaps into this role, they're ready for it. So I think that you know, when you've hit the ceiling, and you can do your boss's job.

 

Vanessa Alava  

So what we're hearing here, which is really interesting to me, a C-suite resume, looks vastly different from typical resume, hearing that, Hey, leave a few things off, if they don't apply versus having a consecutive, you know, list of things that you've done over the last several years. So people see what you've been up to see that you've been in the workforce, see the different experience that you have, you literally have to articulate it in a different way. And I love the way you spoke to the formatting of the resume and what it should look like - it almost reminded me a lot of LinkedIn, the way it's formatted.

 

Alisa Walters 

Absolutely. Yeah. I and I think that, you know, we're seeing now from a recruiting standpoint, when you're having a conversation with somebody who is at that level, and you're going line by line, you know it's not as cut and dry as going line by line through somebody's love resume at an executive level? Because you also need to gauge what kind of strategies have you put in place? How many people have you managed, what, what's your leadership style, what's your, you know, your, your point of view from being in in the weeds with your team versus being the big picture person, these are all things that you're pulling from that person. So what's most important is, you want to spell out those achievements that you've had, I want to see that somebody has come in, and if it's a sales role, that they've hit these, you know, these, these numbers from a sales perspective, and that they're able to come into an organization and not just continue to do that as an individual contributor, but to lead a team who can can also bring in those kind of things that they're at that point. So you're really assessing so much more than looking at somebody, oh, I see that you were here from this time to this time. Talk to me about what you're doing. You have to really dive deeper and poke holes in what an executive candidate is, is is talking to you about so that's why if it's not relevant, leave it off and focus on your achievements. Focus on your most relevant experience, your education, your qualifications, and any kind of affiliations you might be affiliated with that are that are that would be an attractive to a potential employer who would be bringing you in at that C suite level.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Do you have any other advice as to the way in which you search for a job going into the C suite? Is it the same trajectory that we've kind of explained before using the different resources LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc? Or should you go through a headhunter?

 

Alisa Walters 

That's a great question, Vanessa, I think that this one is a little bit. Again, not cut and dry. Because if you're the job seeker, LinkedIn, perfect place to go network with the the HR representatives, that TA, you know, recruiters, and build those relationships, have those conversations, but you want to make sure that your LinkedIn is something that is, is accessible if you're somebody who is actively wanting to be found, because also at a C suite level, there's also a confidentiality for those candidates, where what I mean by that is, somebody who is an IE VP of a company may not be on LinkedIn may have a hidden profile on LinkedIn. And that's because there there are more public figure within the organization. So for confidentiality reasons, they may not be easily searchable. So I think that if you are at a point where you want to be found, you need to figure out a way to make yourself out. And I think that enlisting the help of a headhunter is an excellent idea at that, at that level. Because a lot of, you know, I talked to to, to my colleagues about this at a at a C suite level is that you're courting potential executives, right. So you have executives who may be in contracts that you want to bring into the organization from the recruitment standpoint, but you have to wait till their contract finishes out. So you're consistently building that relationship, keeping that relationship going. But from a recruiting standpoint, finding somebody at the executive level really requires finesse, and is sourcing, you know, that these, these candidates aren't going to necessarily apply for roles, they're not going to take, you know, fall into the recruiters lap, from, you know, the applicant tracking pool. So I think you need to make sure that you can be found if you're looking for a role and enlist the help of a headhunter.

 

Alisa Walters 

So in talking about a executive level, resume, I think the most important things to highlight is on the resume itself. You want to highlight your achievements. Highlight your most relevant experience. Highlight your financials and really be proactive in showcasing what you're bringing to the table at an executive level that's going to make you successful in your in your next role and why a company wants you as a executive part of their of their organization

 

Sue Robinson  

and really focus on results, right, like measure measurable results that you delivered. 

 

Alisa Walters

Yes.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Thank you, Lisa. Thank you.