Senior level CVs are as much a branding exercise as a description of previous experience and achievements. Therefore your first objective should be to create a proposition for exactly how you can make a difference to your next employer.
Do your skills lie in transforming moribund organisations? Are you a steady hand that can see companies through periods of uncertainty? Or are you a pragmatic executive that can drive through mergers?
Many senior roles share common key competencies, so it is worth structuring your own strengths around these:
- Strategic thinking
- Problem solving
Once you have thought through where your value lies you can begin to create a profile that will present your skills and abilities as effectively as possible.
A description of the value you can bring to an organisation – this is all about the employer rather than about you. A senior vacancy is a key position within a company and the person who comes in can have a significant impact. Organisations want to know how you can solve their problems and help them to move forward. For example:
‘œSenior IT Director, a track record of providing executive leadership to £175m turnover organisations implementing change management programmes, incorporating multi-site operations and multiple systems integration for 200 – 300 users. Drives performance of 14 person IT department to ensure implementation of business critical changes on-time while adhering to all SLAs.
Achievements and Outcomes
Executive and managerial candidates are expected to be leaders in adding value to an organisation. Consequently you must ensure your CV portrays your abilities in line with the personal brand you have identified. You can do this effectively by describing your career achievements and incorporating relevant facts and figures that will lend substance to your examples. It is also important to describe situation outcomes, as this will really highlight your ability. For example:
‘œInstrumental in turning around the financial performance of a failing retail UK SME, from a £10m loss to a £15m profit within three years, through a combination of supplier negotiation, capital reorganisation and strict cash flow management.’
Must have information
As a senior level candidate you must include details that provide context to your role, particularly around your place in the organisational hierarchy. This means describing your budget, value of sales, direct reports and position of those you reported to.
It is also sensible to include relevant keywords in your CV that will be used in searches by executive headhunters. Examples include: crisis management, alliances, P&L responsibility, executive leadership, multi-site operations, benchmarking, change management and performance optimisation.
Often the most effective location in a CV to place keywords is in the executive summary, where they will show up on searches and also be found quickly by search and selection recruiters.
Useful to have
Senior employees are often seen as key ambassadors for the organisation and therefore it can be helpful to include professional memberships, associations and any positions of responsibility with voluntary organisations. It is also well worth including any achievements, such as increasing membership levels or fundraising successes.