A Resume Template Doesn’t Cut it for Executives

There are so many premade resume templates out there, you might consider saving time by using one to plug in your relevant skills. However, that is a good way to end up looking just like everyone else.  At the executive level, you must be able to stand out from the crowd. No matter how well you exemplify the perfect person for the position, if your first impression is bad, those hiring will have a tendency to overlook you. You cannot be ordinary to be an executive, and your resume needs to reflect that.

A Good Resume Reflects Your Personal Brand

If you haven’t worked out what your personal brand is, now is a great time to start thinking about it.  Brands aren’t just for corporations anymore. Your brand is the essence of who you want others to perceive you as.  It’s easy to think about this in terms of a corporation. There are a logo and a mission statement, fonts, and entire guides put out to make sure all communications stay on brand.  As an individual, your language, the clothes you wear, the way you speak, and what you present on your resume are all part of your personal brand.  A resume template isn’t going to represent any of that. It can’t.  The whole point of a template is that it’s generic. Templates should work for a wide range of people and career paths.  At this level, you need to be unique.

This is an opportunity to use color, font, and layout to visually express who you are.

Related: What is Personal Branding?

Your Resume Won’t Match the Company Culture

Jobs at the C-Suite level simply don’t come up as often. Each resume should be tailored to the vision and mission of the company you are applying to.  Locking yourself into one template will limit your choices.  Each company has a unique style that you can reflect and tweak your resume to match. Leadership style, hierarchy, and employee relationships all express the values of the company as a whole. When it comes to interviewing, everyone is their own personal marketing team. Look at how your beliefs and values fit with the mission of the company.  You need to sell yourself, and in order to do that, you need to make your resume fit your target market.

Related: How To Research Company Culture

Formatting and Layout are Important, but Strong Language and Accomplishments are Key

No matter how fancy the formatting is on a resume template, it’s no replacement for powerful language. The right words can make or break a resume. Words are the essence of your resume. They are the primary communicator of the skillsets, positions, and actions you’ve taken to build your career.  Template language simply can’t convey your personal journey and development. It’s worth it to take some time to craft your language to resonate with who you are as well.  Those lists of action words are wonderful, but again, it’s all too easy to end up with a resume that looks just like every other resume if you just Google “action words for resumes.”

When you’re just starting out, it’s fine to use a template or two to help you get your footing with writing your resume, but once you’ve moved up the corporate ladder, a generic resume templates won’t make the cut.  It’s worth it to analytically craft a focused resume to apply for that next position.

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