An executive-level resume has several important distinctions from other resumes. In just seconds, your resume needs to convey that you are a compelling, competent, and capable candidate for C-Level positions like CFO, CEO, COO, or CMO. Your resume needs to show that you have the basic qualifications to lead a department or a company.
The best executive resumes also showcase your personal traits like a strong work ethic, resilience, ability to find solutions, and how you motivate people to reach goals. Be sure to back your claims up with solid examples that you can elaborate upon in your executive cover letter or in an interview.
3 things every executive resume needs
To come across as the most qualified candidate for a job, you need to pay attention to these factors on your leadership resume:
Qualifications: do you have the required training, experience, and education for the job?
Relevancy: does every skill, job, and bullet point on your resume directly relate to the job?
Efficiency: have you presented yourself so that a reader can quickly identify that you are worth an interview?
Use the right resume format
Your resume needs to draw attention to your leadership skills, not your ability to use a creative resume template.
The examples included in this post were created by Zipjob's team of expert resume writers. Zipjob is a leading resume writing service in the US and Canada, and has helped thousands of people write job-winning resumes. Our resume templates are designed to work seamlessly with a company's ATS (applicant tracking system).
Never use a creative resume! Keep your format simple and focus on what you write. Each resume sample below uses a simple, professional format and includes keyword-rich content that describes accomplishments in context. We also like clear section headings, a splash of color, and these professional fonts.
This post shows seven resume examples for various executive-level and senior leadership positions.
CEO resume sample
The best executive resumes are achievement-based. Use active statements and metrics to display the value you offer, like these statements from the resume above:
Excel at turning under-producing businesses into companies that work efficiently and compete in the broader market.
This statement ends the professional summary with an incredible achievement. Anyone hiring for an under-performing team is going to take a closer look at the rest of your resume!
Revamped management personnel acquiring a new team award-wining managers, with proven records of delivering sustained growth, while challenging staff to exceed corporate expectations.
This achievement-focused statement from the work experience section is an excellent way to emphasize your team-building skills.
Managed a technology and operations budget of $XXM and coordinate the efforts of XX staff members within XX management teams.
This bullet point offers 3 places to input data. Numbers on a resume really stand out from the surrounding text. Use this formula to offer concrete value you have added in your previous leadership positions.
For more advice and a guide on how to write a CEO resume, go to our full post: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Resume Example
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) resume
Executive leadership skills include both soft skills and hard skillsets. Soft skills, or people skills, include many talents that involve leading, directing, motivating, and delegating. Hard skills are the technical skills that help you succeed in your industry. CTO resumes have to effectively balance both types of skills.
Obviously, you need the technical skills to develop, implement, and support an organization's technological requirements. As a leader, though, you also need your resume to provide examples of how well you work with people. CTOs deal with how people use their technology, so it's your job to make sure those technologies are running smoothly so the workforce can remain productive.
Here are a couple of selected examples from the CTO resume above:
Serve as a liaison between operations and IT to identify and drive implementation of solutions and resolve issues surrounding the complex deployment of international platforms.
This is a great example of solving problem between people and technology. While the IT department fixed the issues, you connected that department with the operations team to efficiently reach a solution.
If the executive hiring team reviewing your resume needs someone to step in and act as a go-between for IT and other departments, this statement will reinforce that you're the right person for the job.
Led a team of 5 technical architects to upgrade to an existing imaging system within a document management application.
Like the bullet point above, this one mentions working with people and technology together. It's also an excellent example of using the STAR method on your resume. The STAR method refers to describing a situation, task, action, and result.
In this case, the CTO candidate was able to take a situation (needed to provide an imaging system within a document management application), perform a task (upgrade the existing system), carry out an action (led the team of 5 technical architects) and achieve a result (existing system upgraded!).
Try to incorporate a few of these types of bullet points in your own resume to show that you are a high-achieving, results-focused CTO applicant.
For more tips, head over to Chief Technology Officer Resume Example & Guide (2021)
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) resume
Chief Financial Officer resumes should show off technical competencies with business intelligence software like Salesforce, Quickbooks, and Microsoft Office Suite. These software skills will help you carry out the basic functions of a CFO role. Plus, if you can demonstrate your competence with the same software companies already use, they will save time (and money) on training you.
It's also important for anyone in finance to display metrics and results throughout the resume. Here are some examples of data points from the CFO resume example above:
Manage financial planning and budget (with focus on growth) for company with annual revenue of $1M+
Nothing says "trustworthy" like your skills and experience with budgets! This example uses the revenue as a number. This still implies the scope of the planning and budgets necessary for the job, but doesn't reveal data that might be protected or private.
Established competitive quotas and bonus program for sales department, increasing YoY revenue 10% in most recent fiscal year
This is a perfect instance of using context to put the result in perspective: increased YoY revenue by 10% as a result of establishing quotas and bonus programs. Numbers on a resume are even more compelling when you can describe how you earned them.
Read the full guide from our professional on this related post: Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Resume Example
Chief Development Officer (CDO) resume
This Chief Development Office resume is highly tailored, offering only the most relevant information to be considered for a future CDO position. When writing your own resume, take a look at every line and ask yourself: "does this directly relate to my application?" If the answer is no, you can remove it.
Another factor to take into account here is resume length. In general, a resume should be two pages long. However, as an executive, most career experts agree that three or four pages is acceptable--as long as it remains relevant!
In general, you should focus on the last 10 or 15 years of experience. The majority of your resume should be spent on your most recent job, and your job that most closely matches your job target. For most business development leaders, this is the same position!
These facts hold true whether you are currently a Chief Development Officer or you hold a related position such as Executive Director, VP of Operations, Project Manager, or General Manager.
If you're writing your own CDO resume, read more advice here: Chief Development Officer Resume Example & Guide (2021)
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)resume
Marketing executives spend so much time promoting brands or products, it can be hard to figure out the best way to market yourself! Luckily, the principles remain the same: figure out your unique value, and create the right message to reach your target audience.
Chief Marketing Officer resumes should include several samples of how your marketing skills have benefited your previous companies. Be specific about the kinds of marketing you're familiar with: digital marketing, international marketing, product marketing, brand marketing, public relations, inbound marketing, strategic marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and so on.
Clarify your message so that someone can understand EXACTLY what you're capable of with a brief glance at your resume. Here are five places on your resume to include your specific marketing expertise:
Your resume title
Your professional summary (labeled "profile" on this example)
Your core proficiencies
Your current (and less so, past) job title
Your "additional" sections: honors and awards, certifications, organizations, and volunteer work
The additional information sections are not mandatory, and not everyone is going to include these sections on a resume. That means if you do, in fact, have an industry-recognized award or coveted certification, you are going to leapfrog to the top of the pile. Professional affiliations are a nice touch here as well--especially if your network can help to introduce you to members of the hiring team in your industry.
We have a detailed guide to writing a Chief Marketing Officer resume over here : Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Resume Example
Chief Information Officer (CIO) resume
Chief Information Officers are becoming more common as the world continues to expand digitally. Most CIOs focus on internal technology, compared to CTOs who tend to focus on external technologies and business growth. If an organization has both a CTO and a CIO, the two people will likely work together on multiple initiatives.
It's important for a CIO to stay informed. The resume example above lists several courses and certifications in addition to degrees within the education section. This looks great to hiring managers and recruiters because it shows you are knowledgable and up to date on Information Technology skills.
This resume has an extensive core competencies section as well. Usually, you want to keep the skills section limited to the most relevant skills that you are best at. However, if you are highly skilled (as many CIOs are!) you can write a comprehensive competencies section and tailor it for jobs as needed. This resume reiterates the majority of the items listed in the core competenceis section throughout the resume. This is good for two main reasons:
Solidifies the claim for human readers
Appeals to any ATS (applicant tracking system) in place.
More than 90% of major employers use some kind of ATS system to manage job applicants. Some ATS software will use a ranking system to recommend candidates with resume that are a close match to pre-set job requirements. So, if you mention your skill with risk analysis and mitigation, it will improve your score if you also include two or more instances of mitigating risk in your work experience section.
Self plug: Zipjob offers a free review of your resume. We'll run it through our in-house ATS and email you your results along with a critique from one of our experts!
For additional information and advice on writing a CIO resume, check out this post: Chief Information Officer (CIO) Resume Example & Guide (2021)
Chief Operating Officer (COO) resume
As the executive in charge of business operations, a Chief Operations Officer's resume must display exemplary business acumen. Thus, a COO resume requires many supporting details about running operations effectively. Try to emphasize big wins, specific experience with oversight, and all financial growth and development you had a hand in.
Here are some examples from the COO resume sample above:
Received multiple promotions, spearhead vital people initiatives, including robust and immersive training programs held across 21 global offices, leading to employee productivity increases of up to XX% on average across all metrics.
This bullet point gets right to the point with the candidate's big win: leading a training program that was held in 21 offices around the world and resulting in productivity increases.
If you, like many executive leaders, built your career primarily with one company: make that fact stand out by stating it in your first bullet point. You can also list your job titles chronologically to show a promotion or lateral move within a company.
Exceed all expectations orchestrating a team of 250+ high-performance Creative Strategists across 35 countries while managing a $XXM budget.
This statement communicates excellent skills with a managing budget, as well as displaying a high drive for results with a large team in an international environment.
Revamped methods to oversee a team in managing full agency book totaling $900MM+.
This bullet shows high-dollar book of business management and effective leadership practices.
This resume example was first posted on Zipjob's Chief Operations Officer (COO) Resume Example & Template for 2021.
With these examples, you can write your own high-performing, job-winning executive resume. Remember to focus on your qualifications, relevancy, and efficiency factors on your resume, no matter your target job title.
Don't have the time to write your own executive-level resume? Zipjob now offers an executive resume writing service. Hire our experienced executive resume writers, access our premium resume templates, and enjoy Zipjob's top-tier service options:
Caitlin Proctor, CPRW, Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Caitlin joined the ZipJob team in 2019 as a professional resume writer and career advisor. She specializes in strategic advice for executives, career pivots, and remote workers. Read more resume advice from Caitlin on ZipJob’s blog.