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5 Things You Will See in a Standout Leadership Resume

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 15:42

Whether you have a long standing history in leadership roles or are looking to take your first step into leadership, there are some common elements that you can include in your resume, to ensure that it stands out from the competition.

Leaders often have an abundance of standout achievements, comprehensive histories and strong value offerings but if they don’t shine on paper, they may find it difficult to progress into the interview stage.

I assist many leaders across a wide range of industries and a few of my tops tips for leadership resumes include:

Know who are you writing for and what they want to see

When writing a leadership resume one of the key things to consider before you put pen to paper is who are you writing for and what do they want to see?

Is it for an executive recruiter, HR manager, a board or an executive director? By having a clear understanding of your audience and what they are looking for, you will be in a stronger position to effectively meet, and deliver on their specific requirements. Your resume needs to present the value proposition clearly, quickly and succinctly and in a highly targeted manner.

There are a range of tools that can help with this research and LinkedIn can be a great reference point.

Make it easy for them to see how you add value

When working with leaders, I will follow the “write for the job you want not the job you have” mantra. By the time a client is in a leadership role, they would have often developed a comprehensive skill set. However, this can cause a problem in that so much information can easily dilute the key information that the recruiter is actually looking for or worse still, make it hard to even find.

If you are applying for an advertised role, position mapping can be a good exercise to draw strong alignment between what you are offering, and what they are looking for.

Have strong results to standout

One of the key points of a leadership resume is strong, outcomes focussed statements. At this level, your competitors will have a similar skill set and your standout will come from your behaviours and the results you have achieved.

Make sure you write in an achievements based manner using tangible facts, figures and results. One strategy I often use when writing leadership resumes is CAR – C (Challenge)A (Action) and R (Result). Think about a challenging situation, what actions you undertook and the result was (results are best when they are beneficial to the business or key stakeholders). This will give you some great content to work with and create an achievements loaded statement.

Add strong statements to support standout results

Further elevate your resume by using action verbs. There are some great lists and resources available online, but think about words such as spearheaded, maximised, diversified, accomplished and eliminated to get you started!

Add the finishing touches

Great formatting is also a common feature of a standout leadership resume. The front page is prime resume real estate so make sure it includes your best and brightest information to shine. Use strong resume headlines (that is the line following your name) that quickly align you with the position requirements. Testimonials can also give also give confidence to the reader and further validate your skills.


Kylie Chown is a Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), LinkedIn Profile Writer and Consultant with over 10 years of experience. Her expertise lies in assisting leaders to ignite their career and elevate their on- and offline presence. For more information seewww.kyliechown.com.au.