A resume plays an important role in job search. So experts say it should be concise, articulate and tasteful enough to attract the interviewer’s attention. While that goes for fresh and experienced candidates, how does the game change for a CEO? At that level, would a resume even matter?

“It is easy to write a resume for a junior or a mid-level role. But what should you put on the document if you happen to be the CEO?” asks Alok Kumar, Senior Director, ManpowerGroup.

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The requirement

The resume should be crafted keeping in mind the audience that will read it to take the hiring decision. “The CEO’s resume needs to be more impactful than a traditional resume. As someone who has achieved a lot and been a change maker, as an executive-level professional, it is helpful to ensure a resume conveys demonstrated success and confidence for growth to the board of directors,” says Kumar.

A candidate applying for the job of a CEO should make a resume that effectively communicates their leadership abilities, strategic vision and accomplishments.

Anshuman Das, CEO of Longhouse Consulting, suggests candidates focus on making a powerful resume. “It should be concise, compelling, and tailored to the specific role or industry, providing concrete examples of impact and results in each key area.”

The resume of a CEO must have a professional summary, says Kumar. This can give the board of directors a quick introduction to the person’s executive skills. It should highlight the experience gained in the sectors.“A CEO’s resume should not only reflect their achievements but also demonstrate the ability to lead, innovate and drive results. It should paint a clear picture of the executive’s impact on the companies they’ve led and their contributions to overall business success. It should effectively showcase their leadership abilities, strategic thinking and accomplishments,” says Kumar.

The way to navigate the CEO resume

Rahul Shah, Co-Founder and Director, WalkWater Talent Advisors, says, a CEO’s resume should start by talking about a vision statement and go on to display the critical competencies; give a glimpse of the personality; have a clear career summary with achievements, external linkages; and have specifics on the work done with investors, regulators, boards, and the environmental, social and corporate governance framework.

The candidate would have an added advantage if they can strengthen the resume by mentioning their advisory roles or board memberships in other organisations. Memberships in industry associations and executive councils also strengthen the portfolio, says the senior director at ManpowerGroup. “Reference to latest skills acquired or executive programmes attended, demonstrates that you are a keen learner and are constantly upgrading yourself to be up to date with market advancements,” Kumar adds.

Das explains that the resume should highlight certain skills — proven track record in driving innovative solutions, adaptability in navigating complex business landscapes, financial competency, fundraising experience, dynamic leadership, expertise in navigating organisational change, managing transitions, mergers and acquisitions in the fast-paced startup ecosystem, demonstrated experience in decision making, expertise in scaling up and P&L management, talent management, community and industry involvement, stakeholder management, regulatory knowledge and experience in managing IPOs.

The CEO of Longhouse Consulting also says that leaders should talk about their work on various channels such as LinkedIn profiles, personal websites or blogs.

Shah of WalkWater Talent Advisors says, “Before we understand the key elements to be included in the resume of a CEO, it is important to understand the key strengths that successful CEOs bring to an organisation. Given the rapid pace of change, geopolitical alignments, changing consumer preferences and impact of technology, companies are increasingly seeking to hire CEO candidates who bring with them some core competencies and thought processes.”

Shah says his experience of working with companies on CEO mandates show that organisations select candidates who can demonstrate strengths in customer centricity, innovation, fostering a digital mindset, ability to strategise, drive disruptive thought process, provide people leadership and management.

While most experts suggest candidates limit their resumes to 2 pages, Shah says a CEO’s resume can be between 2 and 4 pages.


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