Situation and Challenge
After 15+ years as a C-level global operations manager for an industry-leading financial firm, and about 20 years before that as a senior-level manager, “Matt” had spent the past few years developing his own consulting firm, helping other entrepreneurs build business and corporate leaders drive change management. He was 58 years old and wanted back in the corporate world in a C-level position once again managing global operations. He was concerned that hiring decision-makers were red-flagging his resume because he was an entrepreneur.
Matt presented me with his 4-page, densely packed resume that led with a half-page “executive summary” consisting of 2 narrative paragraphs with about 25 lines of boring reading – nothing at all stood out and captured attention. No wonder he was getting little response with it. All the great things he had to offer, and believe me there were many, were not immediately evident. He didn’t understand that his resume only had about 10 seconds to engage attention. His resume was probably completely overlooked and tossed aside.
Fortunately, Matt’s consulting company focused on the same kinds of offerings he had delivered in the past to corporations and would be expected to deliver to his next employer. We had to be sure his entrepreneurial success in helping businesses grow aligned with the imperatives he would deliver once again in the corporate world.
Keeping in mind that the top of the first page of a resume is prime real estate – the make-or-break section of any marketing document – we worked on integrating several formatting and content features in this critical section to make his value stand out:
♦ Together we crafted a differentiating brand statement that gave a feel for the kind of leader he is and, to some extent, made him come alive on the page. We relied on his extensive letters of recommendation from those who worked with him over the years to build an illuminating leadership brand.
♦ I included a highlighted graphic box of keyword phrases of his pivotal areas of expertise.
♦ I brought forward some of his stellar contributions to his most recent companies that would have chronologically landed on the second page, and bundled them into 4 bulleted brand-focused statements of value, showing solid results impacting bottom line.
His entrepreneurial venture led the “Professional Experience” section, which landed about halfway down the first page. To conserve precious space and minimize the possibility he would be red-flagged for still running his company, I wrote a 3-line encapsulation of the services the company offered, loaded with keywords that were relevant to his job search target. I also added one short bulleted point that spotlighted a business building innovation of his that would clearly showed what he could do for a major corporation.
I also wanted to allow enough space on the first page to include his most recent C-level position.
All the essential elements needed to sell him were on the first page, neatly making it a stand-alone document. The second page, continuing with his contributions as a C-level operations manager, provided supporting evidence of his brand and promise of value to his next employer.
Matt’s age was another issue we eliminated from the picture by only including his career history through the past 15 or so years. This also helped keep the content to the necessary 2-page limit for today’s executive resumes.
His new resume was suddenly getting him noticed and called in for interviews for the jobs that interested him the most. One interviewer told Matt that, after reading his resume – and she said she was immediately drawn in to read the entire document – she thought he’d be a good fit for the company and she had to meet him. Matt is now in the second round of interviews for a dream job.