Recently, a new client approached me about executive resume writing and why their executive resume was not getting a significant response level to the numerous positions to which they applied.  After asking them to email me a copy of their existing resume for review, the reason was immediately obvious.  The resume they self-produced looked more like an entry level college resume then a professionally written executive resume.  Here is what went wrong with their attempt at executive resume writing.

The first issue was the resume started off with an objective.  An objective is typically reserved for a first time person coming out of school with little or no practical work experience.  As an executive level candidate, you want to start an executive resume off with a strong summary that highlights your overall breadth of experience.  By starting their resume off with an objective, it made the resume look amateurish.

The next issue I noticed was a lack of an Area of Expertise section.  Where a summary section provides a macro level overview of your experience, the Area of Expertise section provides a micro level overview of the specific skills sets you bring to the table that will separate you from other candidates.  Between these two sections, you are providing the reader with a 10 to 15 second snapshot of what makes you unique versus other candidates and it sets the tone for the rest of the resume.  After the objective, this client’s resume went right into their work history.  As such, they did not set a power, positive tone for the resume that would capture someone’s attention and make them want to drive down through the rest of the resume.

In the body of the resume, the client wrote in the first person.  Sentences like “I am responsible for…” and I achieved 110% of my target…..” makes the document read on a very basic level which is certainly not what you would expect from a senior level executive resume.  Resumes, especially executive resumes, need to be written in an active sentence structure with concise and result based wording that defines your successes in a quantifiable manner.  This client’s resume lacked all of those elements.

Finally, the clients resume was formatted in a scattered, hap-hazard manner.  There was no consistency to the layout or structure of the document.  Remember, perception is reality.  In this instance, the client was sending a subtle message to the reader that the candidate may not be able to formulate thoughts, ideas and strategies in a well structured, strategic manner.  Thus, they may not be the type of candidate the employer requires.

Here’s the bottom line.  As an executive, your executive resume must be highly structured, results driven and written in style appropriate to a senior level candidate.  It certainly should not be written like the first resume you wrote out of college.  If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it may be time to seek executive resume writing assistance to support your job search.

Action Resume Service is a 23 year old professional and executive resume writing and career development company serving a nationwide client base.  To learn more about professional and executive resume writing and career development services, visit or call us at 610-613-3907.