Tips for Identifying Top Executive Resume Skills

Identifying Top Executive Resume Skills

Choosing appropriate skills to include within an executive CV is essential as part of developing an effective resume or marketing document. The idea is to sell core skills to employers and show where a candidate can add value for a company going forward. Some skills are more highly sought after as employers will pay more for talented individuals with specialist skills or expertise. Therefore, it is important to match relevant skills with requirements of the employer, so a more targeted approach to writing executive resumes is needed to help stand out from competing candidates. We always advocate a targeted approach for yielding better results.

Defining Executive Resume Skills

When writing executive resumes, it is necessary to carry out a skills evaluation to identify what candidates are best at and what is relevant to the role in question. Therefore, we have outlined some useful tips to narrow down the choice of CV skills to be included in an executive resume, including:

  • Unique Selling Points
  • Evaluating core skills
  • Creating a Skills Matrix
  • Gaining Important Feedback
  • Job descriptions give clues
  • Other Considerations

Unique Selling Points

By and large, executives intuitively know what they are good at and what they can offer employers. However, it is always worthwhile documenting core skills and having clear examples of how such skills have been applied in a wider  work context. What we recommend is looking at individual skills sets for identifying advanced skills and defining unique selling points or key strengths for employers.

Evaluating Core Skills

On main way to conduct a skills evaluation is to undertake psychometric tests to gain a deeper understanding by profiling core skills and therefore weighting certain skills. This is an established way of objectively analysing core skills against a pre-defined model. There are a number of self-assessment tools online, plus others adopted by employers. The widely-known Belbin Test helps to highlight elements of self-perception, behaviours and effectiveness in a challenging environment to give additional insights.

Creating a Simple Skills Matrix

Another method is to outline a skills matrix by listing core skills and then rating them to give a score out of 5 or 10. This allows executives to critically evaluate core skills and allows key skills to be prioritised over others to give a ranking. Some research is required to make sure the skills list is comprehensive enough to consider the options. This is a quick and simple approach useful for defining skills in the CV.

Receiving Important Feedback

Gaining feedback from trusted / respected individuals is a useful way of identifying core skills. Asking fellow executives, other colleagues (360 degree feedback) and trusted stakeholders usually gives additional insights about people and what they are best at. Listening to feedback about strengths and weaknesses enables executives to capitalise on strengths and work to overcome weaknesses over time, so improving personal effectiveness as the basis for developing advanced skills.

Job Descriptions Give Clues

Job descriptions usually prescribe a list of skills and qualities for roles. An effective CV (marketing document) will target specific roles by emphasising essential skills relevant to the job description. Executives need to convey critical skills and unique selling points using a clear message. Avoid clichés and just listing skills as this will not impress recruiters. A more sophisticated approach is normally required for the CV, where candidates need to give examples on how they have applied top-level skills with clear outcomes, impacts and achievements (i.e. wider influence on the business).

Other Considerations

  • Different sectors have different skills requirements, so research industry sectors
  • Most skills are transferable and advanced skills often show top-level expertise
  • It is important to get the right blend of skills to match job / employer requirements
  • Skills show capabilities for performing in executive roles, so must be included in CVs

Executive Resume Skills Profile: Conclusion

Skills form the backbone of any resume. Choosing relevant skills, identifying unique selling points and creating the right blend of skills that go together in an executive resume is massively important for making an impression and sounding credible. Getting the right blend of skills can help give a ‘better strategic fit’ for roles and thereby standing out from other candidates. Furthermore, skills and qualities are transferable, so can be applied to more than one role or sector, especially if looking to work in a different industry (career change scenario).

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