Finding Jobs: How to Create a Captivating Executive-Level Resume

Create a Captivating Executive-Level Resume

So you’re ready to move your accounting and finance career to the senior level — toward vice president, controller, chief financial officer or another top executive position. You’ll need a revamped resume to get you started.

In resumes for executive accounting and finance positions, details matter. Even more important, perhaps, is how you present those details. While the overall format of an executive-level resume may appear similar to other staff- or management-level resumes, that’s where the resemblance ends. Hiring managers are looking for entirely different skills in the professionals they choose to fill key leadership positions.

The following pointers can help professionals tailor their resumes to increase their chances of being considered for executive-level accounting and finance jobs.

Show how you make a difference

Employers will want to know if you’re able to see the big picture, think strategically and solve problems. So, rather than offer the typical reverse chronological list of your previous roles with bullet points detailing day-to-day responsibilities, include anecdotes that showcase your leadership skills and provide insight about your work ethic.

For example, explain how you rallied other team members to complete a specific project that came in before deadline, under budget, and exceeded the client’s overall expectations. Or outline specific business challenges previous employers faced, and explain how you used your skills to help the organization overcome these issues.

Share your track record

Even if you’ve never held an executive role, outline specific skill sets and character traits that hint at your readiness to succeed in a position of greater responsibility. Use your resume to show not just your experience and technical knowledge, but also your broader business expertise, ability to tackle complex challenge, previous staff management experience and other compelling qualities.

In addition, focus on highlighting your soft skills, which are in greater demand for accounting and finance jobs across the board and increasingly important as professionals rise up the corporate ranks. Your resume should demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to craft materials that convey information concisely, are compelling, and are well-written and error-free.

Prepare for viewing on any device

With hiring managers having busy schedules and often finding themselves on the go, it’s important to create a resume that’s easy to scan quickly (especially on smaller devices such as tablets and smartphones). Consider placing your strongest points in the top third of the page so the hiring manager gets a clear snapshot of what you have to offer, just in case he or she doesn't have time to scroll through your entire resume.

Think of your resume as your professional biography — but in brief. Use space and choose your content wisely to ensure you’re able to quickly communicate with busy hiring managers who need to understand, in a matter of seconds, why you’re a candidate who can make a difference in the leadership ranks of their organization.

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Additional resources

How to Create a Staffing Management Plan: Staffing management means more than finding the right people to fill each role in your finance organization or to provide support on a special project. In short, you need a well-thought-out staffing management plan. This post provides tips for developing one.

Improving Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Tips for Finance Leaders: View this post to see the top challenges to cross-departmental collaboration, along with several strategies finance leaders can use to help their teams overcome these common barriers.

5 Ways Managers Squash Innovation — and What to Do Instead: Make sure you’re not ending great ideas before they even take flight. See this post for advice on how to promote — and not stifle — innovation from your finance team.

Strategic Solutions for Common Staffing Management Mistakes: Should you take a strategic approach or a traditional approach to staffing management? This post examines the value of embracing the latter.