When you set out to write your executive resume, you probably glanced at examples of other leadership resumes or updated an old copy you’d kept from past years. This seems like a logical step, right?
Chances are good that you’ve pulled in over-used words for your resume at some point in your career. Even if you avoided the classic, tired phrases that pepper too many executive resumes, the resume examples you look at probably contain a few of these words. As a result, they can easily end up in your final document.
To ensure you’re presenting your leadership experience with a fresh perspective and effective content, scan your executive resume for these overused words and phrases – then consider replacing them with stronger language:
1 – Responsible for.
Everything on your resume implies that you’re “responsible for” it, and therefore, this phrase has been well-worn. However, it’s tempting to use it as a preface to each item you control, such as teams, departments, regions, or budgets.
Instead, create a single line under each job title that briefly lists each area of accountability ($16M Budget, 200-Member Team, Americas Operations, and so on).
2 – Dynamic.
Unfortunately, “dynamic” cropped up at some point in resume writing, and has been used as a popular description for many professionals, especially those in sales.
When you consider that most effective sales professionals are energetic, knowledgeable, and personable (and would not otherwise survive the frenetic world of sales), think about using those terms instead.
3 – Successfully.
Yes, this word denotes your effectiveness in your executive career and therefore appears to be a strong contender for your leadership resume.
However, like so many of the other “fluff” words that creep into a resume, “successfully” should be used sparingly, if at all.
It’s obvious that you attained the results you’ve listed on your resume, so this word doesn’t reinforce that fact. Instead, you could use the precious space on your document to show quantifiable facts, such as revenue generated or costs saved.
4 – New.
This one may surprise you, but “new” is often redundant in an executive resume. It goes without saying, for example, that you’ve launched “new” projects or brought in “new” business.
Try removing this word from sentences describing businesses that you’ve started up, teams you’ve built, or projects that you have initiated. You’ll be surprised at how many other high-value words you can fit into your resume instead.
5 – Results-Oriented.
If you’re not a results-driven leader, employers will find out sooner than later. Given that this quality is expected of an executive, this phrase restates the obvious and should therefore be replaced with a stronger, more accurate description of your results and personal milestones.
A powerful executive resume must demonstrate impact to the bottom line in order to capture attention. Therefore, you’ll need to add achievements that show margin improvements, cost controls, or sales increases in order to capture an interview.
The bottom line? Take the time to flesh out your leadership achievements and value as an executive candidate when writing your resume. If you do decide to look at executive resume samples for inspiration, take notes on innovative ways to present yourself.
Better yet, rather than copying words you’ve seen elsewhere, start fresh by asking yourself what distinguishes you as a leader and why employers should hire you. By answering these questions with a listing of your accomplishments, you’ll have the powerful fodder for a revitalized, attention-getting executive resume.