Does Your Executive Résumé Push People Away?

by Wheatman, Debra Friday, April 20, 2012
Contact Us
Charleston, SC
phone: 800-984-3775
Send email
About Us
Some executive résumés push people away. What is the turn-off? Many executives have marketing staff write bio statements for inclusion in corporate portfolios, websites, or proposals. These bios usually begin with something like, “Mr. Reed is the steward of the nation’s premier fiber optic network.” The bio generally continues on with more stodgy language that makes one feels as though Mr. Reed does not dare mix with us mere mortals. So, when Mr. Reed attempts to write his résumé, he copies and pastes this bio material into his résumé. Of course the reaction is, “Who does he think he is?”

Don’t fall into this trap. A résumé is a unique marketing document to compel the reader to invite you to an interview. It is very different from other corporate bios and proposals. Your résumé must show the value you offer, as well as your ability to fit into the environment. Delivering your content in the third person creates distance between you and the reader because it is less personal. Also, because it is not consistent with résumé standards, you will give the impression that either you do know the proper standards or that you are too arrogant to follow them.

If you have one of these résumés written in the third person and you have referred to yourself as “Mr. This” or “Ms. That,” you can transform it into a document that draws interviews. First change your entire document to first person. That is another way of saying to write the resume in your voice as if you are the one speaking. For example, “I manage West Coast operations” rather than “Mr. Reed (He) manages West Coast operations. There is one other thing to remember when constructing your sentences. Résumés are written in a special style in which the pronoun (“I”) is omitted. This is to avoid the repetition of “I” in your résumé and to put the focus on the action verb that starts the sentence. So, the example of “I manage West Coast operations” becomes “Manage West Coast operations.” These simple changes to your document will make you more relatable to your reader. When you write in your voice, your reader connects to you in a more personal way.